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Are You Including the Right Details in Your Interview?

June 27, 2019

Have you ever left an interview feeling like the conversation was great, but you didn’t get to really sell yourself? You talked about the weather, current events, how your children play in the same sports league.  The rapport was fantastic! But you still felt unsure about whether or not you left the interviewer with the impression that you could do the job?

While rapport is important, giving the interview substance and highlighting what you can do is important.  When we conduct interview preparations with our candidates, one of the aspects we stress is the importance of being detailed when describing the duties and responsibilities in your current role. 

Many interviews, especially when meeting directly with the prospective lawyer you will be working with, tend to be very conversational.  Because of this, you may not be asked specific questions about your role. And while the conversation might be fluid and great, it is still your responsibility to highlight your skills and experience. 

You need to highlight what you do, the actions you take on a file, your duties and responsibilities to assist your lawyer, and client interactions, if any.  Lead with and emphasize your responsibilities that match with the position you are interviewing for.  

For example, let’s say you are a Legal Administrative Assistant working in a small law firm.  In addition to your LAA responsibilities, your role includes handling office management, reception and accounting responsibilities. 

You are searching for a strict LAA role as you want to grow your LAA career and are not keen to continue doing the other functions which you presently do (reception, accounting, office management). 

Now, if you are interviewing for a LAA position at a mid-sized or larger law firm, where the accounting, reception and office management roles are currently handled by other people, you would not want to lead with and weight most of your discussion towards your Office Manager functions.    

While it is an important skills and great experience, you will do one of two things by speaking mainly about your office management experience.  One, you will not devote enough speaking time to your LAA work and therefore, the lawyer may not know your capabilities around running a file.  Two, the interviewer may get the impression that what you really want is an Office Manager role.  

You lead with your LAA work and while discussing your role, you highlight everything you do that is specific to your LAA role – specific to how you support and manage a file.  This can be opening and closing files, client intake, scheduling meetings and trials, searches, dictation, etc. 

On this, we also work with people, who are of the school of thought that because their responsibilities are listed on their resume, then that is enough.  This is not enough. Assume the person you are meeting with hasn’t read your resume (they will have, but assume they haven’t).  Assume they know nothing about what it is you do or how you do it.  Plus, you talking about your role will strengthen what they have already read, more likely to engrain it in their mind. 

Be detailed, be descriptive, keep it relevant, but do keep it concise. 

After you describe your role, then you insert the examples, which we addressed in a previous article, “Are You Using Examples?”

So the next time you go into an interview, be detailed about what it is you currently do and align it to what is expected in the  role that you are interviewing for.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions on this, feel free to contact our office and discuss with one of our consultants.  

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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