10 things to never say in an interview!

Your goal in an interview is to get across to the interviewer that you can do the job, have the skills that they are after, have the right personality traits for the team and that you have drive and ambition.Things-to-never-say-in-an-interview

To help prepare for an interview, here are a list of things you should never say in an interview. No matter how perfect your experience is for the role, the following faux pas ought to be carefully avoided. The market is a very tight and competitive one and you want to avoid raising red flags.

1. “Arghhhh, my last employer…”

No matter how awful your last company was, you never bad mouth a former employer in an interview. If you cannot be positive, be neutral. Focus on what you learnt from the role.

2. “I didn’t get along with my boss.”

Equally, you must never speak negatively about anyone you have worked with in the past. Saying that you did not get on with your superior (or any-one you have worked with) even if warranted, will make the interviewer wonder whether you are the one that is difficult to work with.

 3. “I’m really nervous.”

Even if you are, no employer wants to hire someone who lacks confidence. Do not admit that you are nervous even if you are. Appear confident even if you are not. Before any interview, take a few deep breaths and try to relax.

4. “I’ll do whatever.

All employers want to hire someone who is passionate about what they do. To say that you will do whatever, gives the impression that you are just desperate for a pay cheque and not committed to working for the company.

 5. “I know I do not have the experience.

When you start by apologising for lack of experience in an interview, you are implying that you should not be hired. In an interview, always focus on your strengths, your transferable skills, your drive and enthusiasm for the role and the company.

6. “I think outside the box.

Avoid clichés and buzzwords. Remember to always describe your skills and abilities by using actual examples of what you have done in previous roles.

7. “No, no questions.

Saying that you do not have any questions gives the impression that you are not that interested to learn more about the role and/or the company. Before an interview always have questions prepared. It is always better to have lots of questions than none.

8. “Sorry I’m late.

Never be late for an interview.

9. “Sorry I’m early.

Never arrive to an interview more than 10 minutes early. Be punctual but not too punctual. Being too early will put pressure on the interviewer to drop what they are doing and commence the interview earlier than scheduled. Remember that the time was set for a reason and interviewers have busy schedules.

10. “I’ll have a glass of the Pol Roger.

If your interview is to take place over a meal, make sure you take the interviewer’s lead. Wait and see what they order. Ask if they have been to the restaurant before and ask what dish they would recommend. Always choose something around the same price range that the interviewer orders. Avoid ordering any alcohol, even if the interviewer insists. Simply because the interview is taking place in a restaurant, it is still an interview. You must be on your best behaviour.

Best of luck!

GRADUATES – Your Time Is Now

It is that time of year when law graduates who are finishing their graduate year are being admitted as solicitors.  It is a huge achievement and an exciting time – studying your degree, working and now finishing that process with admission to practice.

So what’s next?Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon

In one sense you are starting again – just as you left school and then started Uni, you left Uni and then started work, now you are a junior lawyer starting on the bottom of the career ladder, or as Sheryl Sandberg calls it, the career jungle gym.

There is a great deal of responsibility that comes with a practising certificate – make sure you know and understand all the rules relating to professional conduct.  You are part of a proud profession and your ethical standards are of utmost importance.

In your new role, make sure you understand the performance expectations for your role.  If there are things that you know are a development need, don’t avoid this but treat it as a priority.  For example if public speaking causes you anxiety but you are expected to deliver presentations to clients then avoiding this is only going to hold you back. Master it as an art and practice this important skill.

Make sure you understand any charge out rate changes that come with a new salary, should you be in the happy position to have received one. Ask yourself if you would pay your charge out rate if you needed legal advice?  That is a good test of your worth to clients and help you put your hours at work into context. Clients expect value for money – you need to make sure they get it.

If you are working in an area in which you wish to specialise, now is the time for you to start thinking about professional development and how to develop that expertise.  Take advantage of every opportunity you are given to develop your expertise and to work with clients – every such opportunity is a learning opportunity.

Finding a mentor will help with your career development – mentoring relationships often work best when not forced, but rather happen organically. Mentors can not only help with career advice but can also provide you with opportunities to meet the right people and get more work.  Opportunity brings more opportunity so don’t miss out.

Make a career plan – and make it flexible to change with you as you develop as a lawyer.

Six ways to get good supervision

In an ideal world, all supervisors will know how to be the perfect supervisor and give good clear instructions, alert you to any ‘red flags’ that you need to know about, and advise of deadlines.DELIVERY PARADE

However life isn’t ideal and supervisors are often busy leading to rushed instructions.

Here are the six best ways to make sure you get good supervision:

Reframe the instructions

You might think it will make you look foolish but you won’t.  Use reframing words like ‘So I understand that you want me to…’ or ‘let me repeat back my understanding’.  This will avoid costly mistakes by ensuring that what the supervisor has said is what you actually heard, and if not, it will help sort that out straight away.

What is the big picture?

If you have a discrete task assigned, ask for some detail about where this task fits in to the broader matter – context is important.  And on this, ask about the client and the relationship – are there any ‘red flags’ with that client that you need to know about or particular ways the client likes work delivered.

What are the deliverables?

Find out if your supervisor wants a draft that can go to the client, or a short dot point summary.  Ask how much time the supervisor expects you might spend on it.  There is no point spending ten hours researching a topic and drafting a lengthy document if you were expected to spend two hours and give a verbal report on your findings.

What are the timeframes?

Find out up front when the work is expected to be finished.  Busy people assume others know what is going on, but you don’t.  Is the work due tomorrow, by the end of the week, or is there no real rush?

Are there any resources you can use?

Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time.  When discussing what needs to be done ask if there are any precedents that might be useful, or people who have done something similar before.

Ask for feedback

When the work is finished, ask for feedback.  If your work was used in a client matter, ask what was changed and what you could have done better. True mastery comes with feedback and acting on it.

7 Ways to make the most of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is becoming one of the most useful personal branding platforms around. While it is a form of social media, it is also a way to build and maintain your professional profile – it is your professional brand.linkedin-blunders1

Why be on it?

  • There are more than 300 million users worldwide – your connections will connect you with others in your area of expertise or industry
  • Organisations also have company profiles enabling you to follow updates and activities in organisations you hold an interest
  • LinkedIn can help you find new career opportunities – by connecting with others and by monitoring job opportunities posted by LinkedIn
  • Recruiters and large organisations use a premium LinkedIn service enabling them to search directly on LinkedIn for potential recruits
  • You can network with other professionals in specialist groups
  • You can keep in touch with industry changes
  • You can follow thought leaders who regularly publish articles on LinkedIn

It is rare that anyone recruiting doesn’t look at LinkedIn first. If you are recommended either as a service provider or potential employee, the chances are your LinkedIn profile will be viewed. If your name is given to someone they will Google your name. Because LinkedIn is one of the most used websites in the world, if you have a LinkedIn profile it will come up high on the search list. Follow these tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile is as complete as possible (profiles that are 100% complete will come up higher in search results):

  • Use your full name
  • Use a professional photograph, not a cropped photo taken by a friend at a social function
  • Make sure your headline is what you do, not where you work
  • Have a succinct summary, making sure that keywords relevant to your expertise appear
  • Outline all your experience and skills in the relevant areas
  • Include projects without disclosing confidential information
  • Personalise any invitations you send – don’t send the standard invitation
  • Share information you find interesting that is consistent with your personal brand and expertise

Getting the best out of your recruiter – For Job Seekers

RecruiterIf you are reading this, it is because you are already working with us or want to work with us.

We set the highest standards for ourselves and want that for our candidates as well.  Here are some tips for getting the best out of a relationship with us.

Honesty is the best policy

Tell us if you have sent your CV to employers directly or if you are seeing other recruiters. We won’t be offended – but it could save embarrassment for both of us down the track.  If you decide to go to a number of different recruitment agencies, limit the number – it will be hard keeping up with all the emails and telephone calls if you have your CV with ten different recruiters!

Think about what you want

We will help you with this – but if there is a particular type of organisation or a particular type of role you are looking for make sure you let us know.  We don’t want to put you forward for a role that is not right for you.

Be prepared to take on feedback

Whether it is about the format or layout of your CV, or your interviewing skills, please understand that any feedback we give you is intended to help you find the role that is right for you.  Remember, when you meet your consultant for the first time, dress as is you are having an interview for a job.

Agree on communication

Sometimes finding the right job takes no time at all – sometimes it takes a while.  So we will agree on a communication timeframe with you.

We are in this together!

TOP TIPS FOR INTERVIEW PREPARATION – Part 2 – At the Interview

Relax

That is easy to say and not so easy to do, but you can do it. Your brain is recognising this experience as stressful situation and activating the stress response, which means that your heart rate increases and your breathing rate increases.  It is vital to take long slow deep breaths to slow both your breathing and heart rate, and you will relax.

What to Bring With You

Bring originals of any documents attached to your CV- academic record, references, etc.  Also bring a positive attitude and your best manners.  Greet the receptionist.  Stand up when people come out to greet you. Shake hands (firm but not bone crushing).  Use people’s names.  Say thank you at the end of the interview.  And bring a notebook and pen.

What not to bring with you

Do not chew gum, smoke, have your mobile phone turned on, or bring a cup of coffee in with you.  See the reference to manners above!

Smile

Back to point one – relax.  Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, will relax you and will help you engage with the interviewers.

Listen carefully and make eye contact

Concentrate on the questions being asked, so you can give your best answer. If there are two or more people in the room, don’t just answer the question to the person who asked it.  Make eye contact each time you answer a question, with everyone in the room.

Ask your own questions

In your preparation for the interview, you will have prepared some questions about the organisation or the role.  Ask questions.  This will show that you have done your research and taken an interest in the organisation.

TOP TIPS FOR INTERVIEW PREPARATION – Part 1 – Before the Interview

So you’ve had the call and you have an interview for the job you’ve applied for.  Here are our top tips for preparing for the interview and giving it your absolute best:

Read the job ad and match your skills

Read the advertisement again and be prepared to answer questions about the particulars of the job and how your skills might match up.  Think about the skills you have or things you have learned along the way that will work for this job so that you can highlight them in the interview.

Know the organisation

Have you done your research on the organisation and the person you might be working for?  Look up the organisation and find out as much as you can.  Look up the people you might be working for (if you know the names) on LinkedIn.  Prepare some questions to ask at the interview.

Call to confirm

Call to confirm the details of the time and place, and find out the names of the people interviewing so you can use their names during the interview.

Make sure you know where you are going

Work out where the interview is and how long it will take to get there. Allow extra time just in case.  Being late is not a good sign.  Make sure you have the phone number with you in case of unforeseen circumstances so you can call and explain.

Decide what to wear

Don’t leave it to the last minute to find out that  your shirt needs ironing or your best skirt  or trousers need dry cleaning.  Work out what to wear ahead of time to give the best impression.  And that goes for shoes too – make sure they are clean.

Dealing with disappointment

When you are looking for a new job it is inevitable that you will face disappointment along the way.  Even in your working life disappointments will challenge you – perhaps you didn’t get the pay rise or the promotion you were hoping for.

Facing and dealing with disappointments, both big and small, determine how quickly you recover from them.  And you can make a choice about how you respond to disappointments.

Many people choose to complain about their problems. While it is certainly important to acknowledge your disappointment and not just ignore it you can choose to respond positively.  The answer lies in learning constructive ways to acknowledge disappointments.

Recognise that your old coping strategies are perhaps not working and create a new one.

  • Choose to define what is happening to you as a temporary thing, not a permanent failure.
  • Practice acceptance for things you can’t control – sometimes what has happened has nothing to do with what you have done or have not done, and you have no control over it – it is probably not personal.
  • Don’t disparage other people to make yourself feel better – you can  honestly express the emotions that you are experiencing. This is about how you feel about the situation, not about other people.
  • What are the positives? – Find opportunity in adversity- there will always be one.
  • Put things into perspective – even the tiniest of disappointments can seem huge at the time.  Once you have felt or expressed the disappointment take a moment to step back and look at the larger picture – how much is this going to have an effect on you in the future?  Will it matter in 10 minutes?  In 10 weeks?  In 10 months? In 10 years?
  • What can you learn – did you have unrealistic expectations?  Is there something you can do differently or better next time?

Most importantly, reflect on what happened and set goals for the future so that you can capitalise on opportunities as they present themselves.

Should I apply directly?

These tight market conditions have seen our clients recruit directly which becomes frustrating for our lawyers.   We are frequently asked by our lawyers what the benefits are of using our services, outside of dealing directly with the law firms who are advertising directly.    They want to know whether it is to their disadvantage to utilise the services of a recruiter.    You may be surprised to learn that our clients engage us at the same time as they are recruiting directly themselves, which makes it even more confusing.

We care about our lawyers and clients with whom we work, and try and make the recruitment process as seamless and transparent as possible.  As such, in these tight market conditions where a job is paramount for some, we will always let our lawyers know if they would have a better chance of obtaining the role by submitting their cv directly, and have seen many happy marriages between our clients and candidates as a result of same.

Here is a reminder of what we offer to you, and the benefits of utilising our services.  Of utmost importance, is the way that the recruitment process is handled as it informs and determines the ongoing relationship between employer and employee.

  • We make sure that we work with a whole range of clients so that you have every opportunity in the market.  We provide a holistic approach.
  • We are able to provide you with National opportunities, not just those in New South Wales.
  • We take time to understand your motivations for looking outside of your current role.
  • We meet you in order to get to know you.
  • Our market knowledge and experience enables us to match your experience to a client where there is no role available – and have a role created for you.
  • We do not just send your CV.  We provide advice on your CV, and how best to market same.
  • We represent your experience and fit (both culturally and technically) to our clients and tailor your CV for the specific role.
  • We assist you in negotiating your salary in accordance with the market, and the firm’s particular bandings.
  • Our intellectual property enables you to be fully aware of the partner personalities, and mix of work available in a particular team.
  • We provide interview coaching and provide advice on the interview process which is paramount to making sure you are happy with same, and will accept an offer once made.
  • We provide career advice, which is in your career interests, not ours.
  • We like to have long-standing relationships with you so that you can call us at any time to seek advice.
  • We problem solve for you, taking into account your career goals.