What To Do When Your Interview Is Like a Bad First Date

My manager recently asked me to write a blog – sigh – I’m not one for blogging, Instagram is about it for me.  I rapidly realised that finding a topic is insanely hard and there were no light bulb moments happening on a Monday afternoon. I pretty quickly ended up on a far more interesting article ‘How To Get Out Of The Date From Hell’. As the author rightly states everyone needs an “undeniably kick-ass exit strategy” for that date when the person is a completely less photo shopped version of themselves in real life… I realise I am well off on a tangent here as I am sure you are asking what the relevance of this is to securing a career progressing job in the legal industry?

Well what do you do if you find yourself in a job interview and for whatever reason, this is NOT the job you signed up for. You completely give up and start thinking where to get a skinny latte at 4pm. How do you then exit that interview whilst maintaining your reputation. This is where the alignment to the disastrous date ends, unfortunately you can’t have your recruiter on speed dial for the “someone needs me” strategy. However, making a professional escape and protecting your reputation in a small market is still possible. Here’s how…

  • Maintain a respectful attitude and keep positive – Often there is more than one position on offer and chances are they might be considering you for more than one position that you aren’t across – Options are your best friend!
  • Treat the interview as an opportunity to network and build relationships – you never know who knows who.
  • Don’t make a snap judgement – You might be pleasantly surprised about the opportunities within the position for your career
  • Never ever walk out – Being uninterested or cutting an interview short can be just as detrimental.

Interviewing really can be like dating: you can’t control the outcome, some turn out great, while some don’t, the best thing to do is to make the most of the opportunity. If the job on offer isn’t a great fit for you, then keep looking for one that does!

Emma Weeber LLB.
Phone:     (03) 8602 7400



Once you find out that your next-to-perfect CV has gained you an interview (or perhaps more than one), it is time to prepare for the interview. The emphasis is on the word ‘prepare’. In a law firm, you would not go to a client meeting without being prepared for it, so approach a job interview in the same way. Follow these simple rules and you can’t go wrong – or at least you will have given it your best shot:


  • Research the people who will be interviewing you. Look them up on LinkedIn. Read their profiles on the firm website, and prepare some questions to ask of them yourself.
  • Read the most recent news or media releases about the firm – knowing the latest matter they have worked on, or how they have appeared in the press may just give you a competitive advantage by showing that you take an interest in current affairs or the firm itself.
  • If the firm has a LinkedIn page follow them and read their most recent posts
  • Read your CV – yes, that’s right – read it again and make sure you know every last detail on it so you can be prepared to answer a question on it
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare – imagine being asked 100 different questions and be prepared to answer them. There are dozens of articles on the internet with sample behaviour based interview questions
  • Dress the part – be professional, smart and not too fussy.
  • Be on time. Allow extra time just in case buses or trains runs late
  • Remember that everyone at the firm may have an opinion of you. If you are rude to the receptionist on arrival
  • Put your phone on silent, or better still turn it off
  • Make eye contact, use the interviewer’s name, and stand up straight as you walk into the room
  • Look confident even if you don’t feel it. Watch your body language. Crossing your arms or shrinking into yourself is a sure sign of nerves. Keep your back straight and your body language open and this will send a message to your brain that you are feeling confident.
  • Know your own nervous signs – whether it be cracking knuckles, jiggling your leg or twirling hair – if you have a particular thing you do when you are nervous, do something to make sure it stops – holding your hands in front of you will stop the knuckle cracking and hair twirling. Holding you hands on your knees should also stop the leg jiggling.
  • Smile – just smiling can reduce tension levels and also helps develop rapport
  • If you are asked a tricky question and you’re stumped, ask if you can come back to it when you have had a chance to think about it
  • Finally – have plenty of questions prepared to ask of your interviewers, and make sure these questions do not become about what is in it for you, e.g. salary, learning and development. These are relevant questions, but must be balanced with questions about the firm, its strategy, culture and challenges.


What are your best tips for those about to be interviewed?