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Preparing for Interviews Well in Advance (Ashurst)

28 September 2015 |

Know yourself

  • Review what the firm is looking for (their competencies). Do you have good examples to talk about for each one?
  • Review your application form. Especially if you made lot of applications and/or it was a while ago. At Ashurst, the content of your application forms the basis of your interview.

Know the firm

  • What is their position in the market? Who are their clients, core practice areas and competitors?
  • SWAT away the stress: have you thought about the firm"s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
  • Checkout recent news. Any rumblings of game-changing mergers, big client wins or partner hires?

Know why you want to work for the firm

  • Do you know why you are applying to that firm? If you do not, you will come unstuck. Remind yourself why they meet your career criteria.
  • Think about the commonalities between the firms you have applied to. Can you identify from them the sort of firms you"re attracted to? If you are struggling to find similarities, then you might need to re-think.

Think about your presentation and how you come across

  • Dress professionally and be well-groomed; your interviewer will want to be able to picture taking you to a client meeting a few years down the line.
  • You will be nervous, that is to be expected, but think about your body language. Tone down the ear-scratching, arm-waving, hand-rubbing, as this will distract your interviewer.
  • Maintain eye contact and smile; this will help you to remain calm and composed.

Know what you want to get out of the process and what questions to ask at the end

  • Questions at the end are for you but can impress too. Ask about the future of the firm, the strategy, and hot topics at the partner conference.
  • You will probably get to meet a trainee so use them to get under the skin of the firm"s culture. Ask them about their last really great day, their worst and the support they receive.

Some things you cannot prepare for

  • Most firms will be looking to see how you perform under pressure and will test you on topics you likely won"t have been able to prepare for. Do not panic; take your time, do not be afraid to be wrong, try to think around the issue and remember that sometimes the obvious answer is the right one.
  • You might be asked your opinion on an issue. Can you defend your position and will you accept that you may be wrong? Don"t be afraid to hold your ground if you can back up your argument.