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Job Interview Tips For Legal Candidates

You’ve received the phone call and have secured an interview, so the next step is to land the executive job at the law firm of your dreams. We’ve put together a guide to help you prepare for your next job interview.

Preparing For The Job Interview

A lawyer would never go into trial unprepared, so the job application process is exactly the same. The list of law firm questions and answers is endless, so here is what you need to know before heading into your job interview.

Match Your Skills To The Job Advertised

The perfect prep is to read over the role advertised and corroborate the skills you have to the ones the job needs. In this way, you’ll know which of your talents to highlight on the day.  

Know The Organisation

Who are the partners? When was the firm founded? What field of law do they specialise in? You can never be too prepared, so it’s best to know the organisation by heart and prepare some questions to ask at the interview to truly impress at your job interview at a law firm.

Call To Confirm Time And Location

Show that you’re organised by calling ahead and confirming the time, place, and the name of your interviewer. Being late is never a good sign, so it is always good practice to check the traffic and leave extra time for travel when heading to the job interview.

Dress For Success

The preparation extends to the wardrobe as well so be sure to organise what you’re wearing ahead of time.  Your interview attire should be a professional reflection of yourself and will be one of the first impressions you make on the day. 

At The Interview

While a meeting with a legal firm is always nerve-wracking, remember these tips to make the most of your first impression.

Keep Calm

The first thing to do is relax. We recommend to keep your focus on the interviewer and avoid any negative thoughts. Feeling prepared will help with nerves so remember to bring important documents such as your CV, academic records, references, etc.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Don’t forget your manners! A firm handshake and polite thank you to those you talk to will all contribute to making a good first impression. Remember to leave any bad habits such as smoking or coffee cups outside the door. It’s also a good idea to put your phone on silent.

Be Responsive

Last, but not least, be sure you’re attentive to the interviewer. It’s important to smile and provide eye contact while you respond to the interviewer to help position you as a confident, yet respectful future law firm employee.

Questions To Answer During Your Job Interview

You can expect to answer some of the following questions at your legal job interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you decide to study law?
  • Are your academic achievements an accurate reflection of your abilities? Why or why not?
  • What do you know about our firm?
  • What can you bring to the form?
  • What area/s of law most interests you?
  • Tell me about a major accomplishment.
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What interests you most about our legal system?
  • How has your education and experience prepared you for the practice of law?
  • Describe a professional failure and how you handled it.
  • Why should we hire you over other candidates?
  • What were your accountabilities/responsibilities in your prior work experiences?
  • What did you particularly enjoy/dislike about that role?
  • Describe a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a problem.
  • What are the cases that our firm worked on that you find particularly interesting?
  • Why did you leave your prior employment?
  • During legal studies, what extracurricular activities did you participate in?
  • What questions do you have?

 

Finishing The Interview

While you might feel relief that your interview is coming to a close, make sure you remain professional until the very end.

Ask Questions

It may seem counterintuitive, but when the interviewer ends with a query such as “Do you have any questions for me?” the worst thing you can say is “no”.

Answering this question with more questions is your opportunity to flaunt your knowledge of the company or otherwise show your interest in working at the legal firm.

Questions To Ask During Your Job Interview

It’s best to prepare your questions ahead of time to ensure you’re ready. Try some of the following questions at your next job interview:

  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What is the induction process for new starters?
  • What is the immediate need in your law firm that you are hoping to address with this legal position?
  • What would a typical day on this legal team look like for me?

Get Your Free CV Review Today

Now that you have all the job interview tips, all that’s left is to clean up your resume! Click this link to get your free CV review today.

What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

Let’s face it, job interviews can be daunting. Usually however, we find that the anxiety we create in our minds around an upcoming interview, is a lot worse than the interview itself.   In fact, amongst most of the lawyers that I work with, those that are most apprehensive pre- interview, are equally as surprised post interview, with how well the interview proceeded. Conversely, some of the most confident lawyers are actually underprepared for interview and perform badly.

Interviews, like a lot of other things in life, are as scary as we make them. The more prepared you are going in, the better the result. For most of us, we need to look at the interview process in a new way. We need to reframe the way we perceive the interview as a chance to demonstrate or sell our unique and high level skills and experience. That’s where it can get exciting.

It’s a chance to paint of a picture of the type of person we are, discus what motivates and drives us, what we enjoy in our work, what we are passionate about and where we want to take our careers. Once we reconsider the process within this paradigm, most of that tension and anxiety dissipates and we can concentrate on the positive aspects of the process.

The number one, hands down best advice I can give as a recruiter is to BE PREPARED for the interview.  Hell, be over prepared, it will be a lot of easier pick and choose what you want to share in interview,  than to have to struggle and stammer through what may feel like an interrogation.

Research the firm, partners and team

I encourage the lawyers I work with to use me as a resource. My job is to provide as much relevant info as I can on my client. This info has been gained over some 15 years and is invaluable. Lawyers should do their own research as well, scour the internet / LinkedIn and know your audience well ahead of time. You will need to know exactly why you want to work with this firm/ team.

Know your CV inside out and be able to sell your skills, abilities and experiences.

You need to know very convincingly how you could contribute to the firm. You need to be armed with examples of matters you have worked on and highlight of your career to date.

Be armed and ready to ask relevant questions.

It’s just as important to remember that the interview is also an opportunity for you to find out about the firm.

Don’t stress if it doesn’t work out.

If things don’t go to plan, learn from the experience and move on. Focus on doing better next time round.

Written by Libby Mizrahi– Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional) Melbourne VIC

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5 Hiring Tips To Help You Find The Perfect Candidate

Gone are the days when the hiring process involved sitting in a cold room opposite a potential employee, asking the same questions only to receive the same subpar answers. With a little fine-tuning here and a few tips there, knowing how to hire the right candidate just became a whole lot easier!

Our Guide To Hiring The Perfect Candidate

Here are a few essential job hiring tips for employers to ensure you find the right person the first time round in the interviewing process.

1. Outline Expectations & Deliverables During The Interview

Otherwise known as quantifying deliverables, one of the best hiring tips for employers is to outline what you expect of a potential future employee by the 30, 60, and 90-day marks while in an interview. This helps clarify to the candidate how they can make their skills an asset to the job, while also assisting you in assessing whether the person in front of you meets the company’s most basic needs

2. Take The Time To Find The Right Fit

With one employee moving companies, another on maternity leave, and a third leaving next week… trust us, we completely understand the sense of urgency surrounding the need to find someone, anyone, to fill the gap in the company straight away. However, this is the wrong way to approach the hiring process, as it could result in hiring an applicant who looks good on paper but is a terrible match for the company. Slow the process down to ensure you hire the right candidate.

3. Listen To The Candidate’s Questions

You can tell a lot about a candidate from the way they pose their questions. Are they confident in their queries? Do their questions reflect an in-depth knowledge and brand awareness around your company? Here’s another job hiring tip: if what they’re asking reflects the company’s culture and a true passion for the role, they might just be the perfect fit.

4. Assess The Candidate’s Cultural Fit With The Company

Speaking of company culture, this is an important element to take into consideration when looking at how to hire the right employee. While digital tools such as LinkedIn and ATS systems are great at ensuring only the best make it to the interview stage, data can only tell you so much. Personality is important and assessed best by asking behavioural questions that test how they would react to common situations within the workplace.

5. Make The Candidate Feel Comfortable To Be Themselves

The biggest hiring tip for employers? Make the candidate feel comfortable in an interview. Nerves aside, the traditional interview process of lining applicants out the door and speeding them through the hiring process is an outdated one, as it limits how much you can truly learn about a candidate’s personality and values.

Therefore, making your interviewees comfortable is crucial to comprehend whether or not they are the right candidate.

Speak To An Expert Recruitment Consultant Now

Looking for a more comprehensive overview containing all the best job hiring tips for your industry? Speak to an expert recruitment consultant today

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7 Advantages Of Hiring Through A Recruitment Agency

If you’ve ever been through the process of hiring staff, then you understand that great talent is hard to find.

With so many jobs being advertised across a broad range of channels, it may be overwhelming to consider the best approach, to attract candidates with the right qualifications.

Whether you’re looking to hire an experienced Manager, a junior employee, or bolster up an entire team, specialist recruitment agencies offer a range of benefits, including an effective and streamlined process.

A well-connected agent will know your industry inside out, and is positioned to deliver you the best outcome. Engage a recruitment agency to ensure results and grow your business.

Why Should You Use A Recruitment Agency?

There are many reasons that a recruitment agency can assist with finding and securing the right talent. The reasons outlined below, highlight the benefits of hiring an external recruitment agency, in selecting the best candidate to join your team.

1. Industry Knowledge

When it comes to finding talent, businesses have specific requirements across each industry. An experienced recruitment consultant who specialises in an industry such as the legal or medical industries will have access to candidates who have the right set of qualifications. Specialist recruiters will provide a shortlist of candidates who are appropriate for the role, whereas internal teams may have to sift through countless resumes of unqualified applicants.

The recruitment agency should understand the relevant requirements and legalities surrounding the industry they’re in. Recruitment agencies who specialise in the medical, financial and legal industries will be able to issue expert advice about employee legislation that applies to these niches.

2. Access To An Extended Talent Pool

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and specialist agencies are more likely to attract qualified candidates than other recruitment channels.

Agencies with knowledge in the recruitment sector have access to promotional tools that will ensure their job advertisements reach extended audiences. People who are actively seeking employment are more likely to see these placements and submit their application.

Empoyer Branding

3. Understanding & Improving Your Employer Brand

Employer brand is key to finding great talent and recruitment agencies understand its importance. A fully briefed recruitment consultant can provide candidates with a feel for the company culture and insights behind what its like to work in your business.

4. Understanding Hiring Needs

Whether your hiring needs are infrequent or ongoing, recruitment agencies can improve the employment process and provide relief for internal teams.

Infrequent Recruitment

For businesses who hire staff infrequently, maybe once or twice a year, having a dedicated recruiter on staff may not be feasible. Recruitment agencies can help to find the right candidate and have them profiled and guaranteed, with minimal involvement required from the company’s internal team.

Regular Recruitment

Companies who recruit regularly may need additional support for their internal teams. Recruitment agencies will help speed up the process of finding qualified candidates and reduce time spent filtering unqualified applicants.

Cover Letter Writing Tips

5. Trust & Validation Of Candidate’s Qualities

It is within the recruitment agency’s interest to verify candidate’s qualities and ensure they are suitable for the role. Recruitment agencies have the resources and tools to validate an applicants credentials, seek references and perform the appropriate checks.

These processes often take time to execute and may not be completed by smaller businesses or internal HR teams who are inundated with new staff.

6. Assistance With Negotiation

Recruitment agencies who understand the needs of their clients have a better ability to negotiate with applicants than internal HR teams.

Experienced recruitment consultants with a strong understanding of niche industries are positioned to provide advice on market rates for salaries and conditions across specific industries.

7. Efficiency & Speed

A recruitment agency can save huge amounts of time sifting through applications, so that you only have to spend time looking at people who are worth considering.

Recruitment consultants will take care of the administration that goes into finding great people. These tasks include communicating with applicants, notifying unsuccessful candidates, providing feedback, and verifying candidate information.

Your consultant will collate all of the candidates’ queries so that you can deal with them in one go. This often helps businesses to save significant amounts of time during the hiring process.

Contract and temporary roles can be filled quickly with short notice since the agency will have access to a pool of applicants who are already verified.

Find the right talent for your business

Are you ready to empower your business with great people? Speak to one of our specialist recruitment consultants about how we can help you find the right talent for your business.

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How to Prepare to Take Leave

how to take leave

Taking leave from work is always exciting and we all deserve a break from work and the opportunity to tune out. However, this is often harder in practice and depending on your chosen profession, can require careful planning and preparation.

Below we have listed some tips on how to ensure your time off work is as seamless as possible and your return to work, not so chaotic!

Prepare yourself!

Try to ensure you have all urgent/pressing work finished up prior to taking your leave, not only for your own sake, but also for that of your colleagues and clients/customers. Try to plan ahead and complete any work you can in advance, the more prepared you are in the weeks leading up to your leave, the more seamless your break from work will be. Don’t forget to also set up an automatic reply on your email inbox prior to going away.

Prepare your colleagues!

When preparing to take leave, it is also essential to prepare your colleagues. Remind your colleagues in the weeks leading up to your leave when you will be going and ensure to send them calendar invites so they are aware of the exact dates. You should also select a colleague that you work most closely with to specifically help cover you. For this colleague, you should provide detailed instructions on everything that needs to be done to cover your desk and anything you require them to do. Your colleagues will only be all too happy to help you out while you are away from your desk and will know that in return, you will do the same. We suggest having a comprehensive written brief and instructions left for your colleagues as well as verbally explaining the list and ensuring your colleague or colleagues have a full understanding.

Prepare your manager!

Your manager should be aware of your time off work well in advance as you would have had to request Annual Leave. However, in the weeks leading up to your leave, it would also be useful to have another in-depth discussion with your manager to ensure they are aware of any significant deadlines or duties that need to be performed/met in your absence. This can ensure that if for whatever reason your colleagues run into problems, your manager is across the situation and can step in if needed.

Prepare your clients/external stakeholders!

If you work with customers, clients or any other external stakeholders, it is important that you inform them of your leave in advance. It may also be necessary (depending on your area of work and length of leave) to introduce the colleague who will covering for you. This can ensure a smooth transition and that customers and clients are put at ease whilst you are away.

Having followed the above tips before you prepare to take leave, you should be able to leave your desk stress free and enjoy your holiday!

Bon Voyage!

Written by Caitlin Chapman – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Support) Sydney NSW

5 Cover Letter Writing Tips For Success

Cover Letter Writing Tips
In this highly competitive candidate market a well-written cover letter can be your greatest tool in getting noticed. 
Applying for jobs can sometimes seem like an arduous and administrative heavy process, but spending the extra time on a cover letter shows potential employers and recruiters that you value the opportunity and are serious about their job.

Be Concise

A cover letter should be concise with no more than 2-3 paragraphs. Keep in mind this is your opportunity to let the employer know why they should hire you. It should be professional yet conversational and to the point.

Personalise Your Cover Letter

It is critical to personalise your cover letter to the role rather than sending out a generic cover letter. If possible, you should address it personally to the recruiter or hiring manager.

Address any criteria mentioned in the job ad and discuss the qualifications and experience that make you suitable for the role. Without being over-the-top or boastful, explain why you want the role so much. Explain what interests you about their industry and their organisation in particular.

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Keep it professional!

Do not mention any personal challenges or family commitments that have taken you away from your career. This can open you up to discrimination and unless they will affect your ability to carry out your role, they are not relevant.

Request An Interview

Finish with a closing paragraph expressing your desire to meet them for an interview. Ensure this sounds genuine and polite, never pushy. It’s a nice idea to include your phone number.

Check Your Spelling And Grammar

Last but not least – check all spelling and grammar! Print it out, read and re-read it and get a second opinion if necessary. Poor written communication skills can be a major red flag for employers.

Get A Free CV Review

Take your career to new heights with a free CV review from one of our experienced consultants. Click here to get started.

Written by Jo Williams: Corporate Support Consultant – empire group

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Why you need a recruiter to get it right

Written by Libby Mizrahi (LLB) (Hons) – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional) Melbourne, VIC

Often we are asked about the benefit of using a recruitment agency. There are loads of recruitment agencies in Australia, which in itself can be confusing. It can be a bit like shopping in that you need to try a few before you find the one (or two) that really ‘get’ you.

With so many jobs being advertised and the horrible feeling of not being considered for the roles you apply directly for; a well-connected agent can be exactly what you need. So, how can your recruiter help you?

  • It’s what we do! We have the active positions across practice areas and industry knowledge about what’s happening in the market and potential opportunities.
  • We have long established market contacts throughout Australia and also further abroad!
  • We can support you with finding a position that is going to be the best fit for you, both career wise and personally.
  • We can help you with tailoring your resume so it has the impact you need it to.
  • We also assist with interview preparation to help you impress in an interview.
  • If you have questions that you don’t feel comfortable to ask directly we can help!
  • We can describe the culture of a firm to you to ensure that you make a fully informed decision.
  • We support you right through the initial days, weeks and months of your new role, you will always have a sounding board with us!

When people put their trust in us to help them with such an important decision in their career, it’s not something that we take lightly. Using an agent shouldn’t feel like an annoying middle person, it should instead feel like a new support network and be an excellent way of understanding the market you are tackling and increasing your chances of success.

 

Risky business: taking calculated career moves

Written by Sally Hill – Recruitment Consultant (Medical & Corporate Support), Brisbane QLD

The career path of the contemporary worker can be quite varied as business needs change, jobs evolve and industries are hit with tough economic conditions.  If you find yourself on your evening commute home from another day on the job wondering what it’s all for, whether you’re in the right job, that you’re stuck in the wrong job, or you should have finished that degree – you’re not alone.

A great feature of the modern workplace is that most direct managers will be extremely supportive of any desire for change, and will appreciate the honesty from a team member admitting that they’re not engaged with their current position.  The key is having the self-awareness to initiate change before your performance starts to slip from loss of motivation or purpose.

Your organisation may offer the flexibility or the path to be able to change departments, expertise or start all over again – you will never know unless you open the conversation.  Don’t lead yourself into a rut, follow your instincts and make something happen if you have doubts about your existing role.

Reflect upon your situation, your values and what you want to be spending over 40 hours a week doing.  If you’re leaning towards changing industries or career altogether, you’re probably going to have to take a step or two back both in title and salary, inevitably shake up your comfort zone and take a risk – all daunting concepts, but all so rewarding if you make the right move.

Research the job market; what entry-level vacancies are advertised, do you have any transferable skills or experience?  Do you have a strong and interesting working background that could give you an edge over someone who has been doing the same roles for ten years?

Contact a recruiter working within your ideal or existing industry, they likely see candidates from each and may be able to provide you with the best angle to get into your desired role.  Ask yourself these questions, talk to the right people and get to where you want to be.

Do you hire for cultural fit over skills and experience?

Written by Marianna Tuccia – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional), Sydney NSW

With this war on talent that seems to be never-ending, the question becomes should you hire for cultural fit over skills & knowledge? Ideally, you want to get both exactly right. But more often than not you will interview a candidate that is the perfect cultural fit but doesn’t have quite the amount of experience that you were looking for.

Cultural fit is just as important as skills and knowledge, if not more important. Education, experience and skills comprise only a part of what makes a candidate successful. Values, style and behaviour are equally important in making a candidate successful within an organization.

If there is time and resources to train and upskill a candidate, in the long term it is probably better to hire on cultural fit above skills and knowledge. Hiring the wrong candidate on cultural fit can also impact adversely existing employees and their engagement levels.

The question then becomes, how do you ensure candidates are a good cultural fit? The answer is as easy as being thorough and strategic in the recruitment and selection process. It goes without saying that there should be multiple interviews and the entire team should be involved in the interview process. You need time to grasp who the candidate really is. But before embarking on the interview process, you really need to understand what your culture means and ask interview questions that relate to this. Behavioral based questions will also assist you in giving you an insight into a candidate’s cultural fit.

Questions you might like to ask include:

  • From the list of our company’s values which one resonated with you most? Which one resonated with you least? Why?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to the company’s values?
  • Describe to me, from previous positions you have held, the values of a company where you have thrived in?
  • Leaving aside the role and the nature of the role, why do you want to work for our company?

Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a questionnaire which indicates psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions) can also be helpful in assessing a candidate’s cultural fit.

Candidates will be well prepared for interviews and some candidates even rehearse their answers. Try not to stick to the “usual” interview questions. Discuss unexpected topics e.g. news headlines, or ask questions like “how honest are you?”, “what is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?”, “who is your favorite movie character?” This will give you a better grip of the candidate’s personality and cultural fit. Additionally, allow the candidate to lead for most of the interview. If they have trouble leading in the interview and they have difficulty with communication, the candidate may not be a good cultural fit.

Hiring for cultural fit over skills and knowledge can be a great idea as you never know how much a candidate will develop and grow into the role. In 12 months’ time, you might be surprised as to where the candidate’s skill levels and knowledge base have developed.

Effective Workplace Communication

Written by Tarnya Mangano – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Support) Brisbane, QLD

Simple, but sometimes we all forget the art of effective communication, especially in our workplaces.  Of course, we all think we have great communication skills, and every job requires them – but what does it really mean?  And what does it mean to have these skills when it comes to your job?

Communication is about more than just exchanging information.  It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.  Effective communication is also a two-way street.  It’s not only how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it’s also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said, to make the other person feel heard and understood.  Communication, whether verbal, written or visual can be expressed in positive (assertive) or negative (aggressive, passive) ways.  People need to take feedback from how others interpret or perceive how they are communicating.  Sometimes we can be perceived as aggressive even though it is not intended.  It is all about how the other person has “heard” your communication.

Communication is the key to all successful projects and a lack of adequate communication can prove to be the downfall of many, which would otherwise be successful.  Effective communication can certainly help you develop your connections with others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving.  It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.  Effective communication in the workplace can also increase work productivity and output which leads to the success of the business.

Good communication skills are some of the simplest, most essential and most useful tools for success you can possess.  In fact, they are probably the number one ability sought by employers. 

Some key skills we all need to be reminded of to improve our communication;

  • Become an engaged listener,
  • Pay attention to nonverbal signals,
  • Keep stress in check,
  • Empathise and encourage,
  • Assert yourself.

Regardless of what field you’re in and despite the apparent hollowness of the term, honing your ‘communication skills’ will pay you back many times over.  If you get it right, you’re guaranteed to have a much smoother path through life and your career.