Register your CV

Perfect presentation at Interview

Key pointers on how to present yourself at an interview.

You may think that some of the following tips are matters of common sense, but think back to some of the interviews you have had before and ask yourself if you presented yourself perfectly every time? The reality is that interviews make most people nervous and when the nerves kick in, common sense can go out the window!

The basics

  • Dress appropriately for the job you are being interviewed for. You may be a poor student with a limited budget for interview clothes but frankly that isn’t the concern of the interviewer. If you arrive scruffy and too casually dressed, your interviewer will wonder how they would be able to let you come into contact with their clients. In legal firms work dress may have become slightly more casual in recent years but for an interview situation you will be expected to arrive smartly dressed and that means a suit!
  • Arrive on time or you may blow your chances before you get through the door! Allow yourself plenty of time for the journey and research your route in advance. If you arrive early and have time to spare to have a coffee in a local café before your interview, then you will arrive for your interview more relaxed than if you burst through the door with a minute to spare. If you are unavoidably detained, keep calm, make a courtesy phone call and apologise profusely!

Interview nerves

It’s normal to feel nervous. In fact an over confident and cocky manner will be off putting to many employers. But sweating, stammering and freezing up are not going to make you an attractive prospect. The following may help:

  • Remember that based on your CV, your interviewer thinks you may be the right person for the job. Hold that thought and let it give you confidence.
  • Do your research so that you know everything about the firm and the position that may be useful to you.
  • Try to act naturally. Your interviewer is not expecting a super human! If your nerves get the better of you and you don’t understand a question, then ask for it to be repeated (but not too often!) rather than plough into an irrelevant answer.
  • Practice your interview technique with family or friends. Ask for their honest feedback on how you might improve.
  • If your nerves really get the better of you at interviews, you might want to seek some professional help, either in presentation skills or relaxation techniques.

Sell yourself

  • Make a good first impression with a confident and friendly smile and a firm handshake on meeting your interviewer.
  • Watch your body language – don’t slump or slouch in your chair, or fold your arms defensively when asked a tricky question. The old adage that 93% of communication is non-verbal may or may not be true, but it certainly can’t be disregarded.
  • Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t be too abrupt in your answers or too verbose. If you feel you may be talking for too long, it’s fine to simply say that you could expand on the answer if necessary and let your interviewer take the lead.
  • Lawyers may not naturally see themselves as sales people, but in a competitive legal market bringing in new clients does require a confident manner. If you can’t sell yourself at interview, your interviewer may wonder how you can sell yourself to a client?

For a lawyer good communication skills are essential, and an interview is your opportunity to show how good a communicator you are. The nature of legal work means that a poor communicator will struggle both in relation to the day to day work and at interview.

Content Menu

Quick Job Search