box on p43, which lists some of the most commonly asked questions, is a good place to start). Prepare your answers accordingly and think about one or two clever questions that you can ask your interviewers. Remember also that there is not necessarily always going to be a ‘correct’ answer - some of the questions will be asked in order to gauge how well you express yourself. Puneet Tahim of Rare Recruitment says: “Candidates should try to pre-empt what an interviewer might ask them and prepare for these questions. In doing this they will be able to engage in a meaningful discussion/debate which demonstrates their communication and influencing skills.”
characters in the office – it might have been funny if the candidate hadn’t been performing so badly”. • Be aware of your body language. Look the interviewer in the eye when speaking to him or her, but without staring psychotically. • In a panel interview, make eye contact with everyone, not just one person throughout. And do try to get people’s names right – one interviewer recalls “making such an impression on the candidate that she called me David; my name is Robert!” • Try to be relaxed and enthusiastic, without being too laid-back. One partner at a City firm recalls the candidate who swore during the interview, but had no recollection of doing so: “It just goes to demonstrate that people are often oblivious to how they come across.” • Be yourself, urges Danielle White, graduate recruitment and development manager at Mayer Brown International LLP: “It’s always nice to see someone who is passionate and motivated, and who is able to show his/ her personality as well as capability during the interview.” Eye contact is important. Talking to graduate recruiters, it’s an issue for some candidates. Eye contact projects confidence and self- assurance. One recruitment manager says: “Try to sit still – being nervous often causes fidgeting which you may not be aware of. This can be off-putting to interviewers, so be self-aware.” Another London recruiter, giving an example of how not to do an interview, recalled in horror “the candidate who spent 40 minutes staring at a speck on the wall because she just could not make eye contact with us”. Equally unfortunate was the interviewee who “listed effective communication as one of his main strengths, but did not once make eye contact”. Although there is no way to find out the interview questions in advance, you can make an educated guess about some of them (the
Trytositstill –beingnervous oftencausesfidgetingwhichyou maynotbeawareof
You’re likely to get asked at least one question designed to assess your business understanding, advises Danielle: “Commercial awareness is very important and will almost certainly be tested at some point during the process. It is of fundamental importance that candidates understand what is happening in the business world and how this will potentially impact on the legal industry.” We know it’s hard, but do try to speak intelligently while thinking on your feet during the interview. Examples of how not to do it include declaring that you don’t know who Robert Buckland is or whether Rishi Sunak is a Conservative or Labour politician; and mentioning the importance of presenting a professional appearance while sporting a creased jacket and scuffed shoes. On the question of attire, matching neon green tights and nail varnish do not go down well with the rather staid legal profession.
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