Blog By Technology Booster
Why is getting a job on your own so tricky?
The National Association for Law Placement reported that only 87.6% of 2010 graduates were employed after graduation. Being employed does not necessarily mean being well-paid. Although this is an American survey, however, the condition in India is no better.
As mentioned in this article, “If we dig deeper, there can be two major problems responsible for this trend. First, the unchecked opening of mushrooming universities in every nook and corner of the country without qualified faculty, facilities, and a decaying curriculum. Second, law schools not giving two cents about providing practical knowledge to the law students. This creates a perennial problem of good quality future lawyers.”
There are no secure solutions to either of these problems. The only solution is by coping up with it yourself. Reading as much as possible, publishing as many articles, interning at the right places and taking online courses which can help you grow your skills and knowledge and set yourself apart from the crowd.
Interviews are like the perfect embodiment of the essence of “the first impression is the last impression.” Right from the minute you walk in to the way you dress and hold yourself during a conversation, you are assessed in every possible way. How do you then make an impact that can make you their first pick? Certain necessary steps can really help you with the interviews.
1. Research To The Point
Law firms expect the candidate applying to them to know about them. You must also be eager to work with them and make sure the same is conveyed to them. 9 out of 10 firms ask this question, “Why do you want to join this firm?”
Let us say that you are the interviewer. Now, there are two candidates in front of you. The one candidate answers, “because I think this is the perfect place to use my skills and knowledge to the best of my ability.” (trust me, there are a lot of people who give this answer.) vs. “because the ABC team that I have applied for has emerged victorious in so and so cases, and the partner of the team Mr. XYZ is an inspiration, which I am sure will give me a huge scope to learn and grow!”
What will be your pick?
An easy way to gain insights is by browsing through portals like SuperLawyer, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Lawctopus Internship Reviews, LiveLaw, etc.
2. Get Your Hands On The Job Description!
What if I told you that there is a way in which you can find out what exactly to prepare right before the interview? What if I told you that there is a way in which you can find out what exactly you need to know for cracking an interview?
The best way to know it is by going through the job description. It does not matter whether you are applying for an associate position or an internship. You need to ensure that you are taking sufficient steps to understand the firm’s expectations and prepare accordingly. You need to dissect the job description and understand what the role really requires you to do.
For example, I applied for a role at an MNC’s compliance team. I started reading about compliances, etc. However, the minute I got the job description, all it required me to know was about derivatives agreements. Needless to say, I had to prepare for something I had never heard before, and once I managed to do that the interview was a cakewalk.
3. Make Your Curriculum Vitae Your Bible!
Your resume just doesn’t get you the interview alone, but it is the majority of what your interview is going to be about. An interviewer’s primary job to check whether whatever is mentioned on your CV is correct or not. You need to ensure that you look like someone who knows what they are talking about and you have your basics strong.
Trust me when I say this, there is nothing they are going to ask you apart from your curriculum vitae. However, it is going to be in much more detail. It works like the General Awareness section in Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). You need to not just know about the current affairs but also its history and future. For example, if you have mentioned that you have worked on arbitration, you also need to know about the amendment act and the bill that has been recently passed by the Union Cabinet. It is that descriptive and elaborate. Prepare for interviews religiously. Take online courses if needed, but ensure that there is nothing about that area that you don’t know.
The questions can move from technical to interpersonal, and that will also depend on the co-curricular activities and skills that you mention in your resume.
Just ensure, that while answering you re-emphasize on your expertise and give well articulated and cohesive answers.
4. Be Ready With Some Funny, True And Fascinating Stories!
Interviewers are funny people. They want to ask you some questions which don’t make sense to you at all. They might make you uncomfortable too, but it reflects poorly if you are not able to answer them. For example, in one of the interviews, I was asked how do you not look like a lawyer? I had no idea what to answer to such a question.
Before an interview, make sure that you are ready with answers for some of the common and uncommon questions. It is undeniable that every interview will be distinct from the other. However, if your answer is articulate and well thought, it is easy to dodge the questions. As per this article, here are some of the sample questions which are most commonly asked. You can use them for starters:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you decide to go to law school?
- Why did you choose your law school?
- Is your GPA an accurate reflection of your abilities? Why or why not?
- What makes you think you are a good lawyer?
- What do you know about our firm?
- What area of law most interests you?
- Tell me about a major accomplishment.
- What are your long-term career goals?
- What interests you most about the legal system?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How has your education and experience prepared you for the practice of law?
- Describe a professional failure and how you handled it.
- Why should we hire you over other candidates?
- What questions do you have?
5. Do Not Shy Away From Asking Questions!
It is utmost important that you ask questions at the end of the interview. It is reflective of the fact that you are not just well prepared, but you are also a keen observer to listen to everything the interviewer had to say. It shows that you are serious and interested in the firm.
Here are a few questions that you can ask:
- What are your expectations from an associate?
- What does an average day look like for an associate at your law firm?
- Where is the firm headed in the next five years?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Do you have any more questions?
I can tell you that no two interviews can be the same. While some might boost your confidence, some might demotivate you. You cannot have a full proof plan to change it, but you can have this course which can significantly boost your chances to crack that law firm interview. It arms you with practical knowledge. Wouldn’t you want to have that as an edge over your competitors?
Be confident, look smart and know what you’re talking about. Rest assured, you will make the cut!