13 January 2020 | Comment | Article by Craig Bertie

8 top tips to a successful interview at Hugh James

The New Year often brings a new perspective and a renewed drive to find a new job. At Hugh James, our experts have interviewed hundreds of candidates over the years so to give you the best possible chance of success, we’ve pulled together our top tips for nailing that interview.

  1. Be prepared for an initial phone interview
    Once you’ve submitted your application, the recruiter may call you to find out some more information about your application or arrange a date for interview. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your telephone manner and explain why you are interested in the role.

  2. Research, research, research
    There’s nothing worse for a recruiter when someone is clearly bluffing their way through interview questions because they haven’t done enough research - preparation is key.
    1. Research the firm, this doesn’t mean skimming the homepage. Search social media channels, check out the latest news articles we’ve been featured in and delve into the website for information about the specific department you’ve applied for.
    2. Research the role, make sure you read all aspects the job advert to understand exactly what the interview panel are looking for.
    3. Find out who is on the interview panel. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile. What are their areas of expertise? Are they ranked by Chambers or Legal 500? Are they a leader in their field?

  3. Consider common interview questions and prepare responses
    Interviewers will always want to know about the experience you can bring, specifically linked to the role. The job advert tells you what the role entails.
    1. Consider what skills and experience you have that would relate or any new transferable skills you can bring to the role.
    2. Think about why you are leaving your current and or previous roles and consider your answer.
    3. A common question we ask is why is this role of interest to you? What it is about this department or role that interests you. Is there a specific aspect of the role that you wouldn’t find in other departments.

  4. Dress for the job you want
    Interview attire is often key to making a good first impression, so select what you’re wearing carefully. It’s always better to over-dress than underdress for an interview. Make sure your clothes are ironed before the interview and your shoes are clean. You may not be applying to be the next partner of the firm, but you never know who could turn up at the interview so dress appropriately.

  5. Arrive for the interview in plenty of time
    We will often hold a number of interviews on one day so make sure you arrive in plenty of time, 10 minutes should be fine. To ensure this is realistic, plan your route beforehand. Consider how you’re going to get to the office. If you’re driving where will you park? How long will it take to walk from the car park to the office? If you’re getting the train, how long will it take to get from the station to the office? If you’re getting a coffee before the interview, make sure to dispose of any drinks or snacks before you arrive.

  6. Show enthusiasm
    A firm (but not injury inducing!) handshake, smile and eye contact are great ways to engage with your interviewers. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Of course, an interview should be professional but we like to get to know people to make sure they’re a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for them

  7. Listen to the questions
    Questions will often be layered with a few different parts. Make sure you are hitting all the points that are being asked.

  8. Ask questions
    Prepare two or three questions before the interview that you would like more information about. The answers may come up naturally but questions from candidates go a long way to showing enthusiasm and interest in the role.

Make sure you keep an eye on our website for upcoming roles. Feel free to speculatively send us an email or alternatively submit your C.V through our website.
And remember, if you’re unsuccessful the first time then don’t feel disheartened. We’re a big firm with over 30 departments. You may not be right for one role but you could be well suited to another so keep applying.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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