We have a lot of people interviewing at all levels and for a wide variety of positions — so I spend a lot of time coaching candidates before each round of interviews. There are 3 questions each candidate must be prepared to answer, often-times for multiple interviewers over multiple rounds. I want to take this opportunity to share these questions with you and to also provide insights into what it is that the Firm is looking for in your answer.
1. Why are you interviewing with our Firm? The purpose of this question is to see if you are the type of candidate who does their homework and has researched the Firm; do you know about their practice and place in the market?
Good answer: I noticed on your website that you brought in laterals in X area; I have worked extensively with that practice and helped them….
Bad answer: I am looking for a Firm that can provide me with growth opportunities and where there is room for advancement. (A Firm is not going to hire you because of what they can do for YOU!)
2. Why are you thinking of leaving your current job? They want to hear that you have legitimate reasons for seeking new opportunities, that these reasons are realistic and that the Firm can meet them.
Good answer: I have had a great experience at my current Firm and have learned a great deal about recruiting; but now I am excited to bring my skills and help contribute to your PD function as well.
Bad answer: My boss is incompetent and I can teach her a thing or two! (I know this is a little exaggerated, but you would be shocked to hear how often the feedback after the interview is that the candidate said negative things about their Firm and/or boss. Keep it positive, no matter how legitimate your complaints are!)
3. What are you excited to bring to our opportunity? They are looking to see if you have identified and are clear about the skills and experiences you can contribute them–are you a “giver,” or is it all about what you can get from a job?
Good answer: I noticed on your job description that this role has a significant amount of writing required. I don’t get to write as much as I would like to in my current position, and would really like to bring my strong writing skills to your role. Here are writing samples from my previous positions…
Bad answer: I am a people person and get along with a wide variety of personalities. (Yes, it’s important to know how to work with lots of different styles in law firms, but the “people person” theme is overplayed; go for something more substantive, where they can see you “doing” something valuable and delivering results.)
While these may seem pretty basic, they are questions that come up in almost every interview and you would be amazed at how many people don’t have an appropriate answer. We’ve had some fantastic candidates not make it to the next round because the Firms felt the person could not articulate answers to these initial questions. Now that you know, we’re confident that you will move past these with flying colors!