You have completed your studies. Now you have your first job interview. Are you ready? The art of interviewing is not as complicated as one would think. With just a few tips, you will walk into your interview prepared and collected and may just walk away with that dream job.
Prepare your resume first and foremost. Have a base resume, listing your education, past employment history and certifications and skills. From that base, you should customize your resume for different job prospects. Make sure to highlight skills listed on the job description so that the employer will see you have the skill set they desire in a paralegal.
Before applying, research the organization. Companies can normally see when an applicant is using a form cover letter sent to every company they apply to so be sure to include information about the company that intrigues you. If their mission statement or vision statement is listed on the website, find some way to incorporate that in the cover letter. If you do score an interview, research the company even more. Knowing all you can about the firm or office will help you stand out amongst other candidates and show your interest in the business.
Prepare some answers to what you know are the typical interview questions. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Have an idea as to how you will answer each of these so you sound poised and collected when answering them. Also, bring in a list of questions to ask the interviewer. At the end of most interviews, the interviewer will ask “Do you have any questions?” Keep the interview dialogues going by having questions listed. Ask them about challenging cases, interesting ones, and office pro bono work. It will show even more interest in their company and what they have to offer.
Be sure to write down directions to the location and have a clear idea of where you are going. Plan your arrival so either test out the drive first or do a brief MapQuest or Google Maps search to see what the average travel time takes. Always arrive early to the interview by around 15 minutes. Arriving early shows you will arrive on time to work and will a punctual employee. In the event of traffic or an emergency, bring the office phone number in case for some reason you are running late.
Be rested and ready to go. Eat a good breakfast or lunch, and walk in with energy and ready to go. Also, dress appropriately. In the legal field this normally entails a business suit in a dark and unassuming color such as black, gray or navy. For men, shaving and trimming your hair beforehand is a good idea, and for women keep the makeup and jewelry to a minimum
- Aside from knowing what questions to ask and how to answer their questions, be aware of what your nervous habits are. Many people fiddle with their hands during interviews so be sure to keep them on your lap or rested on the table. Do not fidget or jiggle your foot, bite your nails or twirl your hair. If you use the words “Um” or “like” a lot, try to be aware of that and say them at a minimum. It goes without saying, but it is never acceptable to curse during an interview.
Keep in mind that this may be just one of many interviews for the office. Many law firms prefer to narrow candidates down from a large pool, asking the best candidates to come in for a second interview. Always follow up with a thank you letter either typed or handwritten within one day of the interview. If you interview with more than one person, be sure to send a letter to each. Ask for business cards at the end of the interview so that you know you are spelling each individual’s name correctly.
Interviewing is nerve-wracking, but it does not necessarily have to be that way. Prepare and do your homework and you will without a doubt walk away from your interview knowing you did your best and hopefully will get the job.
Everest College Online: http://paralegal.everestcollege.edu/articles/how-to-prepare-for-your-paralegal-job-interview