Job Interviews

Once a paralegal applicant is lucky enough to receive an interview request, he or she needs to have superb job interview skills to surpass the competition. A paralegal preparing for an interview should do research to become knowledgeable about each company with which he or she interviews. The paralegal also needs to develop questions and responses in preparation. The paralegal should be able to market him or herself as much in person as in the cover letter and resume. Once there, connecting with the interviewer, exemplifying professionalism, and being able to close the deal are key strategies.

As a paralegal, research skills should be a forte. An applicant should be able to impress the interviewer with his or her extensive knowledge of the firm or corporation. Tips for this are to use your resources when applying or at least as soon as you are notified of the interview. Finding little-known positive facts is always a beneficial strategy. The paralegal should not force this information on the interviewer once sitting down but rather should find effective ways to steer the conversation toward this.

Another asset is being able to predict some questions that will be asked. There are usually some standby interview questions and you should be prepared for these. Have examples of previous work experiences or tough situations ready to discuss. You should not sound rehearsed, but mulling over these options prior to your interview will help you avoid long nervous pauses. Consider how you will answer the question of salary expectations and other benefit questions.

Similarly, many potential employers expect interviewees to interact and ask questions as well. Have some general questions in your mind to ask, such as typical workdays or workweeks. Preparing open-ended questions can also help to highlight your communication and interactive skills. Failure to ask questions may come off as uninterested or unprepared.

Once at the interview, although nervousness is sometimes unavoidable, try not to appear stiff. Remember that the interviewer may be a co-worker one day. You should be able to communicate well and connect with the interviewer. The key to interviewing well is making a great lasting impression on your interviewer. They should be able to remember you in a positive light out of multiple candidates after you leave. Try ice-breaking questions or establishing report techniques.

Communicating is a daily task for most paralegals. Showing the interviewer you are able to communicate well even in stressful situations is imperative. Make the right choice by dressing appropriately. In the legal world, an interview should always be done in a formal clean, pressed suit. By dressing appropriately, the interviewer will be able to focus on what you are saying, not your appearance.

Paralegals should be able to end the interview with a memorable closing. This closing should enumerate your skills, summarize what was discussed in the interview, and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job. You can prepare this closing ahead of time, but it should still remain interactive and exemplify your abilities by hitting the high points of the interview.

Sending a thank you note after an interview is also extremely important in the legal field. Paralegals should send a written thank you to the interviewer; this demonstrates the professionalism and appreciation of the candidate. The thank you can also serve as a reminder to the interviewer.


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