How to Stand Out
Behavioural interviews (sometimes called competency interviews) have become increasingly popular in the legal industry as a way to assess a Lawyer’s skills, abilities, and personal qualities. These interviews focus on past experiences to gauge how a candidate might handle future situations. As a Lawyer, it is crucial to prepare effectively for behavioural questions to showcase your capabilities and demonstrate your potential value to prospective employers.
Legal professionals must possess the ability to navigate legal complexities and provide smart recommendations and strategies, regardless of their specific role. Strong negotiation skills are crucial for resolving disputes and reaching agreements, whether it’s in contract negotiations, plea bargains, administrative actions, or settlements. A successful Lawyer should be able to share a significant career achievement that demonstrates their negotiation prowess. Employers seek candidates who are a good fit in terms of both working well with colleagues and presenting themselves confidently to clients.
This article provides guidance on how Tyler Wren can best prepare you for a behavioural interview and helps you craft compelling responses.
Preparing for a Behavioural Interview:
To excel in a behavioural interview, it is essential to recall recent situations that highlight your favourable behaviours. Identify specific scenarios that cover the situation, the task or challenge at hand, your action as a Lawyer, and the outcome. Ensure that each example reflects positively on you. Emphasise the lessons learned or growth achieved, even if the outcome itself was not entirely favourable. Honesty and specifics are key, so avoid embellishing or excluding any part of your experiences. Go prepared with examples that will not breach client confidentiality.
Client networking and business development are critical skills for Lawyers. The ability to build and maintain relationships, identify opportunities, and effectively market yourself is a key skill to showcase within these interviews. Ensure you go prepared to describe a situation where you successfully secured new clients or expand existing business relationships. Another key skill Partners look for is the ability to mentor. Consider how you provided guidance and support, offered feedback, and fostered professional growth in a junior colleague.
Crafting Effective Responses:
When responding to questions, structure your answers to start by describing the situation or context. Next, explain the specific task or challenge you faced and the action you took as a Lawyer to address it. Finally, share the outcome or result, emphasising how your actions contributed to a positive outcome or the lessons learned from the experience.
Sample Behavioural Questions:
To help you prepare, here are some examples of behavioural interview questions commonly asked in legal job interviews:
- Showing Initiative and Leadership: Provide an example of taking the lead on a legal file and inspiring others.
- Split-Second Decision Making: Give an example of a quick legal decision you made under time constraints.
- Effective Prioritisation: Describe a situation where you efficiently prioritised tasks amidst competing demands from clients.
- Persuasive Communication: Share a legal situation where you successfully influenced others through persuasive communication.
- Anticipating Problems: Discuss successfully anticipating and preventing potential issues on files.
- Difficult Decision Making: Describe a challenging legal decision you made, highlighting critical thinking and analysis.
- Effective Conflict Resolution: Share a recent incident of resolving conflict tactfully.
- Goal Achievement: Provide an example of a legal goal you accomplished.
- Motivating Others: Give an example of inspiring and encouraging other Lawyers to achieve success.
Why Mastering Behavioural Interviews Matters:
Mastering behavioural questions in interviews requires thorough preparation and the ability to craft compelling responses, so that you can showcase to Lawyers and Partners that you are competent and the best fit for their team. By recalling and analysing past legal experiences, structuring your answers effectively, and being specific and honest, you can showcase your skills, abilities, and personal qualities. On the flip side, make sure you go prepared for questions for your interviewer so they can showcase their companies key selling points.
With solid preparation and a confident demeanour, you will be well-equipped to impress interviewers and increase your chances of securing a legal position as a Lawyer in a top firm that you are interested in.
As always, we are here to help. Please reach out to us if you have any further questions or need support with your preparation. Find out more about Tyler Wren’s Legal Recruitment here and our latest Salary guide released in June 2023 here.