11 Mistakes To Avoid When Interviewing For A Legal Job
Posted on Jul 13 2011 at 04:30:59 AM in Law
We’ve all been through it- flubbed a term in an interview, sent the wrong cover letter to the wrong person, accidentally asked the person interviewing you if she was pregnant (she isn’t) … It happens. You can’t prevent every mistake when searching for a job, but you can prepare yourself as much as possible.
Lawmatch has some great tips for once you get to the interviewing process. Not there yet? Take a look at the many attorney, paralegal and legal clerk positions available on Lawmatch. Then make sure you come back to check out these tips to ace your next job interview! We’ve done some research, and here’s the top 11 biggest mistakes job interviewees make:
Not calling your references to tell them they’re a reference.
Make sure you call your references to let them know they’re a reference! This happens more than you know. You want to make sure your references are prepared and know about the position you’re seeking.
Forgetting to take down that Facebook picture of yourself at last year’s Halloween party.
Make sure you go through all your social networking sites. Lock them down, delete pictures, and clean them up. You’d be surprised what a potential employer can find online when they take the time to look.
Not Googling Yourself
Before you even apply for a job, you should know what’s out there about you. Google yourself, click through to the news and blogs search section on Google and check out every listing. If there’s something defamatory, make sure you can either get it taken down or be prepared to explain.
Exaggerating on your resume
We know, we know- everyone does it. That doesn’t mean you should too. Your resume is a direct reflection of who you are. Don’t let it reflect that you stretch the truth. Be honest, and emphasize your accomplishments, but don’t include false information- potential employers can and will find out the truth.
Not researching the firm or company you’re applying to
Nothing is less impressive than someone who hasn’t done their research. In the legal field, research is a key part of what is required on the job. If you start off your interactions with a company without having done your research, that says a lot about you.
Having a weak handshake
Body language says a lot about a person. When you walk in for an interview, your handshake and your smile are often the first physical impressions a potential employer has. A weak handshake shows you have little confidence and are insecure, not exactly the qualities an employer is looking for. A strong handshake shows you are capable, determined, and interested in who you’re meeting and what you’re doing.
Being rude to or ignoring support staff
Many employers are extremely close with their support staff- secretaries, assistants, etc. who are likely the first people you’ll see when you go in for an interview. Be polite to them, shake their hands, and make them see who you really are. You’d be surprised how many employers turn to their support staff to help them make a final decision.
Talking negatively about former employers
When you’re asked about past experiences or employers, keep your opinion of the company and it’s employees to yourself. Talk about the work you did and focus on the positives.
Not having a good answer to the dreaded “What are your negatives” question
It’s a hard question, that’s why employers ask it. You need to carefully integrate something you might need to work on, and then how you’ve planned on improving on that. Don’t respond with answers like “I work too hard” or “I put too much effort into things”. And definitely don’t say “I don’t have any negatives” because everyone does. Your employer is not expecting you to be perfect- they’re looking for you to be honest and able to solve a problem. Think this through before you go into the interview and have a good answer ready to go.
Disclosing your salary requirements too soon
It’s probably the most difficult part of an interview- the negotiations. It’s a game you must play- disclose your requirements too soon, and you can take yourself out of the running. Waiting too long to state your salary requirements can result in a much lower salary than you were counting on. Have two numbers in your head- the number you want, and the number you’ll settle for. After you’ve been made aware that you’re in fact the candidate of choice for the employer, then you should go somewhere in between the two numbers.
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