Have you ever been in an interview and asked by the interviewer, “How do you handle stress?”.  If you have, how did you answer it?  Did you stumble? Were you happy with your answer?  If not, not to worry!  Today we’ll be talking about the best way to answer the “How do you handle stress?” interview question!

First, understand why you are being asked the question.  When asking this question, the interviewer wants to know a few things.  One, they want to see what you consider to be stressful. Two, they want to see how you react in stressful situations.  Three, if the role you are interviewing for has a higher than normal level of stress, they want to know if you will be able to succeed in the role. 

So, let’s look at the best way to answer the question.  When answering the question, you will want to provide an example that shows you handling and succeeding in a stressful situation. Keep this example work related. Focus on how you managed the stressful situation.   Don’t focus on the emotions you were feeling in the situation.  Rather, address what the situation was and what steps you took to overcome it.  Be sure to highlight the successful result.   For example, you can talk about juggling competing priorities within a specific deadline.  How did you decide what you did first, second, third?  What was the result?

A few additional tips.  When talking about how you handle stressful situations, be sure not to provide an example where you were the one that created the stressful situation.  For example, if you forgot to mail something out or follow up with a client on an important matter. Don’t say you never experience stress – it sounds fake. And, don’t emphasize the level of stress you felt – acknowledge that you felt stressed and then focus on how you addressed it.

So, these are our tips on how to best answer the stress question during an interview.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching topics, be sure to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Over the past week, we have had a couple of law firms tell us about their frustrations of having someone accept a position at their firm, only to rescind their acceptance a week prior to starting. 

I can understand the firm’s frustration.  There is a lot of preparation that happens before a new hire joins a firm. Computers are set up, training is coordinated, internal conversations take place, schedules are re-arranged, etc.  Not to mention, after you have accepted your offer, your new firm has stopped considering other applicants.  That means that if you then rescind your offer, the firm has lost out on not only time and money, but also all the other candidates they were considering as those ones have most likely moved on and are off the market. 

But, at the same time, I can understand things from the Candidate’s perspective.  Life happens, people change their minds, and new opportunities arise and ultimately you the candidate, needs to make the best long-term decision for yourself. 

However, the legal community is small, people change firms and you do not want to burn a bridge and have it follow you.  So, how you rescind your offer is important!  If the situation arises, you should:

  1. Let the firm know as soon as you have made up your mind. Don’t wait until the last minute. 
  2. Give the firm the courtesy of knowing why you are rescinding the offer.  Now, you don’t need to get into the specifics of your “Why”, but you should give a reason.  They have just invested time and money preparing for your start.  The firm’s initial reaction will be to see if there is anything they can do to change your mind.  Further, the firm will wonder if it was something about them that caused the change of mind.  Is there anything they need to change moving forward, so this doesn’t happen again? They just need some closure. 

While we are on this topic, we also have candidates sometimes ask us why their new employer wants to know if they have handed in their resignation yet.  They tell us, that they have signed the offer letter, indicating they are coming on board, why does it matter when they resign. 

The firm wants to know you are fully committed to making the move.  Yes, you have signed the offer, but you still need to successfully resign. When you are leaving one job for another, a two-step process is involved.  The firm will want to know this for a) peace of mind, but b) they will also want to know that you are fully committed before investing the time and money in preparing for your start.   

So, if you do need to rescind your acceptance, make sure that at the very least you take these 2 steps. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about this or any other job or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

We often hear about the importance of fit when companies are hiring.  Firms want to hire people that will best fit with their culture and environment.  But, do you the job seeker, ever stop and ask yourself what is the right fit for you?  What firm culture and environment do you want to be a part of?  What firm culture and environment do you think you will succeed best in?

When interviewing with prospective employers, what you’re looking for with regards to fit needs to be top of mind.  Culture fit matters and you will most likely be happier and more successful if there’s a good match.

So, what are some things you can do to best asses your prospective new firm’s culture?  You can:

Further, during your interview, you can ask questions such as:

The answers to this will help give you a better sense of what the firm values and how they treat their people. 

When determining whether or not a firm is the right fit for you, it’s important that you gather as much information as you can. Don’t necessarily make your judgement based on what one person you knew several years back said in passing on the firm.  Everyone is different.  Things change.  And you need to figure out what works best for you.    

Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions around this or any other topics, be sure to contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you been there before?  Or maybe you are experiencing the situation now.  You have one person in the office who is a challenge to work with.  Maybe they are controlling, maybe they are a bully, or maybe they are always negative.  What do you do?  How do you handle it?

First, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What kind of interactions do you have with this person?  Is there a way that you can limit your interaction with them?  If you can’t, and you unfortunately must deal with them daily (for example if they work in your group), you need to address the issue.  If not addressed, the situation and the effect it has on you, may spiral out of control.  Therefore, the key is addressing the situation early. 

The next step is to objectively assess the situation.  Are you sure that the other person is really the problem and that you're not overreacting? Have you always experienced difficulty with the same type of person or actions?  Are there others in the office who feel like this about that person as well? 

Once you know that the other person is the problem, you need to speak with the individual directly.  When you confront them, do so in private.  Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with them and let them know of how their actions are affecting you. They may not be aware of the impact that their words or actions have on you. They may be learning about their impact on you for the first time.

During the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward.

If the issue persists, you will need to escalate the situation.

When you speak with your boss, take notes and address the issue itself – let your boss know how this other person and their behaviour is affecting your productivity and work. Tell your boss exactly what the difficult person does. You need to prepare to talk to your boss. Make a plan to address the issues.  A good boss and supervisor should be able to mediate the situation. 

If all else fails, don’t fret. There is always a chance you may be able to switch groups or departments, to find a more suitable working relationship with others.   

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helped!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or career topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever gone to an interview, answered all of the interviewer’s questions, felt good about how things went, were offered the position, but had no idea what the job was about? 

Yes, you may have read the job description and yes, the interviewer may have told you more about the firm and culture, but you didn’t learn about all the specific details you had hoped to during the interview.   

While you hope that the interviewer will tell you as much as they can about the job, it's important to remember that the onus is on you to get as much information as you can about the position.  You need to ask questions. 

In this market, job offers can come fast.  Interviews tend to be brief.  Often, you are being assessed on your work experience and technical skills.  Many firms may only conduct one interview and if they feel like you can do the job, they will make their hiring decision. 

The last thing you want to do is be in a position of making a career-altering decision, without knowing the details of what you will be doing.  Why does this happen?

Some of the candidates who find themselves in these positions tell us that they felt embarrassed asking the interviewer about the specifics of a role.  They did not want to seem as if they didn’t do their homework.  You need to remember that most job descriptions are quite generic.  You should not feel embarrassed about asking for more information about the role.

Others tell us that they got caught up in the moment, were overcome with excitement and simply forgot to ask.  You need to be self-aware during your interview.  You need to ask yourself, what information do I have about the position and what information do I still need to obtain.  The onus is on you to learn as much as you can about the role in that interview. 

Next time you are in an interview and unsure about the specifics of the position you are interviewing for, ask the interviewer to tell you more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. 

When you work with us, not only will we tell you as much as we know about the role, we will also prep you to ask as many questions as you can about the position.  We can also gather more information after your interview and follow up on any questions you may have forgotten to ask. 

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helps.  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching tips, contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Time-management interview questions may seem simple to answer. However, it’s important when giving your answer, you give the interviewer enough of a response that hits on the things they want to hear! With this, today let’s look at the best way to approach this question.

First, why are you being asked the question?

Some of the reasons an interviewer would ask you a time-management question would be because they want to see how well you can meet deadlines, manage your workload and adapt to stressful situations with multiple demanding tasks.
If they are asking the question, it would indicate that the skill will be required for the role you are interviewing for.

Second, how will the question be asked?

When asked this question, you may simply be asked to “tell me about your time-management skills” or “how do you handle competing priorities and tasks?”. Or the question may be disguised like this: “Have you ever missed a deadline? If so, what happened? If not, how do you make sure you’re not falling behind?” or “Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? What did you do?” In the end, all of these questions want to gauge your time management skills.

Finally, how do we best answer the question?

Your answer will need to be specific and detailed when discussing how you manage your workload. Talk about your normal process for completing tasks and moving from one priority to the next. You will then want to address what you do when an unexpected change occurs – i.e. something urgent and last minute was dropped on your desk – what do you do? How do you adapt?

You will also want to discuss what process you have for working ahead. Or how you break down larger tasks into smaller tasks and how you impose personal deadlines for these smaller tasks.

It will also be important to address work-life balance. Focus your answer on how you give your full effort at work and are completely present while you are on the clock, and that your efficiency allows you to disconnect when you are at home.

Finally, you will also want to use an example that highlights you doing this in practice.

Overall, points you will want to touch upon will include making a to-do list, taking action or separating the important from the urgent and estimating the time and resources needed to complete each task. You will want to avoid anything which suggests that you procrastinate, inability to complete the tasks by their deadline, suggesting you had a meltdown or a poor attitude while completing the tasks.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other interview questions, be sure to contact us.

Happy job hunting and good luck!

Our aim, when speaking with prospective candidates is to get a better understanding of what makes them tick.  Their motivations for job searching, motivations for exploring new opportunities and ultimately what it is that will truly attract them to a new job.  For us, understanding this is what will help us best match them to one of the job opportunities we are working on.

However, it is very common for us to hear vague answers, which usually leads me to believe that the person is more motivated by finding something different to their current place of employment, as opposed to something specific which will address the next step in their career and ultimately help lead them to achieve a specific career goal.

Not having a strong understanding of where you want to take your career and lacking career goals, can be a dangerous position to be in. When we don't have a bigger picture of where our career is headed, we often become complacent and directionless. 

Being in such a position can lead us to fall into a career rut.  You may think your job is good, but not great.  You may end up feeling bored, less engaged and you may find that your work begins to suffer. This is something I personally experienced in the past and can tell you that it is not fun.  You feel as if you are simply going through the motions.  When this happened, I knew I needed to make a change and while it was difficult to break out of something that felt so comfortable, I knew it needed to be done. 

If you don’t have a career plan in place, you need to take a step back, gain a broader view of your skills, talents and what is meaningful to you so that you can develop a clear career strategy.

You need to think of your career as a roadmap.  What does your final career destination look like and how are you going to get there? What does the next opportunity, the one that will get you closer to your goal look like, what responsibilities will it give you and what new skills will you acquire in that role? Setting specific timelines for accomplishing these things will help you achieve this.   

Aside from achieving career satisfaction, navigating down a path that will allow you to take on new responsibilities and acquire new skills, will in turn increase the value you bring to your firm, increasing your salary and financial compensation. 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other job searching topic, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Are you a new grad or someone with little to no experience looking to break into a new career? Finding it to be very challenging? Watch this week's video to learn more about some of our LinkedIn job searching tips.

Have you recently started a new role and are unsure how to deal with some of the growing pains during your probation period? 

Your probation period is an interesting time.  You are meeting new people, learning new processes and ultimately seeing how you fit into your new firm.  Being patient and adaptive is critical during this time. 

Growing pains will be inevitable.  As the initial shine and lustre of your new job wears off you will start to realize that there are things you like and don’t like about your new role and firm.  This is very normal!  Some of these issues will be small and easy to work through.  However, some will be bigger – i.e. personality challenges, workflow challenges, or organizational challenges. 

If things do become extremely frustrating, to the point that you feel on the verge of quitting, you need to step back, breathe and assess the best course of action.  Remember the things you initially liked about this job.  Why were you attracted to it?  Will the current issues you are facing have a negative impact on your long-term career plans with this firm? 

If you cannot see a way around it, we suggest that you sit down with your superior (either your lawyer, office manager, or HR) and let them know how you are feeling.  Be sure to schedule a meeting with them. Do not spring this conversation upon them and do not have it in public.  In the meeting let them know the challenges you are experiencing. Remember, they may have no clue how things are going for you and may have even assumed things have been going well. 

Keep your meeting professional.  Do not cast blame or play a victim.  Ask them if there is anything that either you or they can do to alleviate the issue.  Most people we speak with feel that there is nothing that can be done to solve the issue.  However, sometimes the firm will be able to make the necessary changes to help you with the areas you are struggling with.  Other times, they won’t be, and you will need to adapt to the situation.  However, by having a conversation with your employer on the issue, you are at the very least allowing for the opportunity for issues to be rectified.

Also, be sure to establish an action plan.  Ask for regular meetings so the two of you can discuss how the issue is progressing.  Remember to be patient and see what can be done.  Also, ask yourself how much you can adapt to alleviate the issue. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions regarding this topic or would like to discuss some of the challenges you are facing during your probation period and how to overcome them, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

It can be the elephant in the room.  Talking about the reason why you were fired.  You know the interviewer is going to ask what happened.  They will want to know why it didn’t work out.  They will want to know what the problem was, and will it happen again?    

The reality is, during an interview, you will also be asked your reasons for changing jobs.  Therefore, if you were fired from one of your previous positions, expect it to come out and expect it be discussed further.  With this, lets look at the best way to talk about getting fired from a previous job when in an interview. 

  1. It’s important to be honest.  You ideally will want to bring up the firing to the interviewer without them having to dig for it.  Being transparent will help build trust between you and the interviewer.  However, while you should absolutely be honest when you explain being fired, you do not to give every specific detail.  Rather, you will want to explain the situation briefly and then move on. It will be important not to overemphasize your firing or bring any unnecessary attention to it.
  2. Don’t portray yourself as the victim and blame others.  Further, it is important to resist the urge to speak poorly about your previous employer. Even if you feel that you were not at fault for being fired, remaining objective and not placing blame is vital. If you do, it will only make you look defensive and trying to hide something. Stay positive during your explanation.
  3. Take responsibility for your part of the situation. You should take a mature and professional stance on the situation by showing how you grew personally and professionally through this experience.
  4. Flip it on its head and talk about what you are looking for in your next role to make it work.  Highlight your motivations, address what you think will be the best fit for you moving forward and ultimately tie what it is you are looking for into what this new opportunity can offer.

Hope this helps.  Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about this or any other job searching topic, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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