Every time I help a lawyer prepare for a job interview or I talk with attorneys about interviewing, they confess the questions they hate. The questions that make them most uncomfortable. The hardest questions.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your salary expectations? (Anecdotally this seems to be asked more often in smaller work places, by corporate recruiters, and through online applications at all size employers.)
- What is your greatest weakness? (Anecdotally I don’t think lawyers get asked this much. Let me know what you think.)
Lawyers dread these questions and avoid practicing responses even though the questions are about them and they know the questions will be asked. A little chit chat about traffic – now Zoom – or weather, and then boom, there it is: So, Tell Me About Yourself.
Attorneys stress over these particular questions because they don’t know what or how much to say. They tell me they don’t have any idea what the interviewer wants to hear.
I know that preparing for the Tell Me About Yourself and Why Do You Want to Work Here questions is difficult. Practicing is hard. Really hard. You try it a few times and still doubt your answers.
You convince yourself that you are better in the moment. You decide to wing it. Yet when you wing it in an interview, if you’re like most people, you stumble. You trail off. It’s not a good answer. You’ve missed an opportunity to make a great first impression. Perhaps worse!
Being prepared for an interview means being ready to go into a meeting. Preparing means applying yourself to the task so that you are ready for what will almost certainly happen in that meeting. That preparation may take two hours, three hours, or more. Lawyers who want to be considered serious candidates for the position will put in that kind of work.
If you were hired as a lawyer at that law firm or company, you’d never go into a client meeting planning to wing it. You wouldn’t go in without being fully prepared. You don’t want that firm or company to think of you as an interviewee who thinks winging it is fine.
Do you recall the earliest critical juncture in your legal career? If you had known what the first essay question on the Bar Exam was going to be, you would have had that essay answer down cold!
So why not structure and really practice your answers to Tell Me About Yourself and Why Do You Want to Work Here? Be the confident, prepared interviewee you would want to hire!
I love helping lawyers prepare for interviews. Please contact me if you are interested in working together.