Preparing for an interview can be a daunting task, but it is also the most important part of getting the job. Whether you are looking for a lawyer job in Toronto or in another field or city, the steps you need to take are the same.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
So, you’ve finally gotten that interview invitation. After all the work you’ve put into your resume, speaking with recruiters, and narrowing down your choices, you’ve found a few frontrunners and one of them is interested.
The absolute first step you need to take is research the firm or company. Learn their history, their location, who works there, and how big the company or firm is. Look up the names and biographies of interviewers via LinkedIn or just input them into a search engine. You are trying to find a few very specific things.
First, you want to get a general idea of who the firm is and what it is all about. The size of the company or firm and their expertise and success will influence how you should approach questions in an interview.
Second, you want to find some commonalities between yourself and your interviewers. Perhaps you went to the same school or studied the same language. Anything that you have in common not only helps break the ice, but also humanizes you and makes you more likable to the interviewer. If you are part of the same network, professional association or club, you may know the same people. That’s something you should definitely mention during the interview, if it comes up naturally of course.
Third, you want to be certain that the position is right for you. When going into the interview, you want to be certain you know where you stand in terms of how much you want the job. This knowledge will help you determine the next steps if you are asked about billing targets or salary expectations. You should be weighing pros and cons throughout the interview process.
As much as we don’t want to believe it at times, how we first appear to our potential employer is paramount. Whether you’ve gotten an interview for a lawyer job in Toronto or a business analyst position you need to dress for success. Even if you’ve invited an interview for an entry-level position with a law firm, don’t think for a second that dressing casually would be more fitting. Always dress ‘above’ the role.
Even if it’s a casual Friday, you should dress in professional business attire. Details like these are especially important when applying to lawyer jobs in Toronto.
Pay attention to your appearance, because first impressions are important.
Many studies show that we make decisions about people based on the first five minutes of meeting them. While the jury is still out on how consistent those study results are, everyone can agree that the first few minutes are very important to the interview process and can make or break a candidate.
In order to make a pleasant first impression be certain, make eye contact with your interviewer. You want to introduce yourself and call your employers by name. This technique will also help you remember their names. But don’t force it. If something seems very unnatural and you haven’t had a chance to practice with a friend, it is best to leave it out during the actual interview.
Speak with energy, but don’t interrupt. Allow the interviewer to lead the conversation, while making sure that the dialogue is continuous and flows well. Try to relate to your interviewers right off the bat by finding common ground.
Stay away from negativity. If you are asked, for example, whether you had trouble getting here and you did, don’t go on at length about unreliable public transportation or gridlock. It’s fine to say something like, “Oh you know the…,” and leave it at that. A better answer would be to underline a good quality of yours by saying that you left your home early anticipating a delay. So rather than placing blame on the bus system or a traffic jam, you make yourself look great in front of the employer.
We have all heard the common questions: “What do you know about the position/our company/firm?” Why should we hire you?” “What is your biggest weakness?” Or other versions of those questions: “What will you bring to the team?” “Why do you want to work here?” And the infamous, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
These questions will likely come up at every interview and it is very important that you think about your responses prior to the meeting. Being caught off guard during an interview is only beneficial to those who are good at thinking on their feet.
You should respond honestly, while keeping an air of professionalism. But don’t talk about the amount of money you hope to make or anything that may make you appear greedy, or unreliable.
If you like earning a big paycheck, for example, you should say that you foresee possibilities for growth in the company. If you found your previous job too stressful and are looking for something a little more low-key, you can say that the company’s work culture is important to you. If someone asks you what your biggest weakness is, don’t say that you work too hard or anything that may come off as dishonest. It is best to find a real quality that you consider a weakness and talk about the steps you have taken to overcome it.
You can then showcase your ability to problem-solve by breaking down exactly how you have been dealing with an issue.
Staying mostly neutral and underlining your positive qualities whenever the chance presents itself, is the best way to navigate through some of the toughest interview questions for lawyer jobs in Toronto.
SEAL THE DEAL
Remember that if you have been invited for an interview, it is likely that you have all the qualifications – such as education, work experience, and technical skills required – to do a good job. But you are only halfway there. All you have to do now is showcase your best qualities and your confidence. Have your elevator pitch ready. Have a few anecdotes prepared. Remember to stay down to earth and relatable. An overly smug attitude will rub your interviewers the wrong way, just as much as a timid demeanour. Balance is the key.