Career in Law-Blog

How To Prepare For A Paralegal Interview

Updated 9 March 2019

Interviews are the pivotal stage of a job application and it determines whether or not you get the paralegal job. The outcome of the interview is very much dependent on interview preparation that you carry out. To help you with the preparation, today we will be sharing our top interview tips for paralegals.

1. Research the firm thoroughly 
As with any other paralegal job interview, you must research the firm in detail as this topic area will come up. Whilst is difficult to predict the interview questions you are likely to get, preparing for the following would help:

  1. Why you have chosen this specific firm
  2. Firm's history and values
  3. Clients and Industries
  4. Firm's competitors
  5. Firm's unique selling point

When you are answering these questions, it is important that you do not just copy what it says on their site but rather put something in own words and be specific what attracted you to the firm. For instance, if you are interested in a specific area of law and the firm is particularly well known for that area, pick a major case/deal that they have been involved and if is possible link it with previous experience and how this is attractive to you. If you need further assistance with researching a law firm make sure you read the article on how to research a law firm before an interview.

2. Know your application 
The firm will inevitably want to discuss one or more points from your application in more details. Before the interview it is important you are fully familiar with your application, so you are prepared to answers any questions and expand on any points. The questions could range from your part-time job to traveling, so the rule of thumb know your entire applications, as you never know what may come up.

3. Study the requirements for the job
An excellent way to prepare to discuss your skills set in an interview is to put together a list of skills that the firm requires for the role and prepare an answer for each skill. A good starting point here would be check over the paralegal job description to see which skills set are set out as a requirement. You will need to have an overall understanding of what does a paralegal do. Make sure you also demonstrate the following core skills that are usually expected of paralegals:

  1. Communication 
  2. Planning
  3. Meticulous
  4. Research 
  5. Time management

4. Research the prospective department
If you have applied to work as a paralegal position in a specific department at the firm you may be asked questions about topical issues in that area of law. For example, you could be asked to discuss the recent enactment of GDPR and its impact on businesses. Be sure to find one or two recent topical issues in the area of law and research it well enough to be able to discuss it.

5. Anticipate the questions
As noted, it is very difficult to anticipate exactly questions that may come up but we strongly recommend you prepare for common interview questions related to the following areas:

  1. Competency 
  2. Strengths & Weakness
  3. Personal & Character
  4. Interests
  5. Achievements
  6. Skills

You cannot prepare for every possible question but preparing for one or two possible questions from each category will certainly help. Make sure you research online for examples of questions for the above categories. Take a look at paralegal interview questions put together by Manchester Metropolitan University. 

6. Get up to speed with business news
Testing applicants commercial awareness almost always comes up in the interview process, so be prepared for it is a must. If you have applied for a specific area of law it would be advisable that you prepare a recent topical issue for that particular field. We would also advise that you prepare another topical issue to discuss generally related to the legal field, as the firm may want to test you generic commercial awareness as opposed to field specific. To prepare you for such questions make sure you read some good quality newspapers and study one or two topical issues that are relevant. LinkedIn is also a good source as firms often post about recent developments in the industry.

7. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask
It is imperative that you end the interview on a positive note by asking questions. Leaving the interview without asking questions, could be fatal as it will show to the firm lack of interest and effort. Remember the interview is also an opportunity for you to find out more about the firm, so make it count by preparing a list of questions prior to the interview.

If you are searching for entry-level paralegal jobs, this article on how to draft a paralegal cover letter with no experience will give you a great head start.

As always feel free to comment and or share this with anyone who you believe may find it useful.

By:

Joe Simmons

Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs

Js@purelegaljobs.com

Related Articles: 

Paralegal interview tips

How to research a law firm for an interview?

Paralegal before training contract