Preparing for the Interview


Premier Legal Staffing, Inc. can assist you in preparing for even the most difficult interviews. Preparation and research are what make the difference between the candidate who gets the job offer and the candidates who do not. This is why you should take advantage of our services. Our firm’s research links will make your preparation easier and more efficient. The information you should gather through your research should include:

  • Size of the company/firm and other locations
  • Size of the legal department
  • Recent headlines pertaining to the company
  • Company history
  • Stock activity and analyst perspectives
  • Technology and legal focus of the job and the organization itself
  • Clients of the firm
  • Members of the interview team, their titles, background and, if possible, the capacity in which you will be working with them

This information will improve the quality of your interview. You should also have as much information about the responsibilities of the job as possible. Be prepared to explain how your qualifications match the needs of your potential employer. It is also advantageous and may make the difference as to which candidate our client hires when one of our experienced recruiters briefs you on the position. Our experience should give you the edge. We can advise you on how to respond to the most common, tricky, or potentially sensitive questions. Please review our Briefing Material and Interviewing Strategies, which will advise you on what you should do and what you can expect from the beginning of the interview process to the end.

Briefing Material and Interviewing Strategies

Always know exactly where the interview will be and how long it will take you to get there. Give yourself extra travel time. When you arrive, you should know the name of the person who will be leading the interview. Try to find out in advance the name of the interviewer or interviewers, and their titles and backgrounds. This preparation will increase your confidence. You will also appear more knowledgeable about the company and all interviewers should be impressed with your diligence. Let Premier Legal Staffing, Inc. know what you need, and we will do our best to aid you in the information gathering process.

Here is some additional information that will assist you in securing a more successful interview:

  • Be on time.

  • If you are running late, immediately call the contact at the firm/company and give them an estimated time of arrival. If the contact is not available, let the phone receptionist know your situation.

  • Use the first interview to learn about the company, not to ask about salary and benefits. In addition, be careful not to bring up concerns. Concerns may be discussed at a later date in the event the process moves forward.

  • Convey an interest in the position and the company.

  • Show that you are excited by the prospect of working for the company.

  • Always refer to professionals with "Mr." or "Ms." unless they give you permission to address them by their first name.

  • Treat the support staff, especially the recruitment coordinator or office manager, with respect.

  • Make sure that you have a firm handshake.

  • Communicate what you can do for the employer. There is always time to find out what the firm/company can do for you in follow-up interviews or phone conversations.

  • Use the interview to sell yourself. Come prepared to speak to your past and present experience.

  • Be flexible with regard to job responsibilities. Try to elicit information on the entire scope of the position’s responsibilities.

  • If you speak with more than one interviewer, be consistent with all your answers. Most interviewers compare notes at the end of the day.

  • Do not appear evasive. All our clients look for an employee that is forthcoming and can engage in substantive conversation.

  • If you do not understand a question, make sure to ask for clarification and do your best to provide the information the employer desires.

  • Be yourself. Always be respectful and gracious.

  • Never criticize your present employer, another firm or professional in the industry.

  • Visit our Interviewing Questions link to familiarize yourself with questions that you should expect. Our experienced recruiters can assist you in answering any of these questions if you do not know how to respond.

  • If you need to say something "off the cuff," interview the interviewers. Ask them what they like about the company or where they worked before. This could get the conversation going.

  • Do not get nervous if an interviewer is difficult to read. Sometimes people have a difficult day, have had some unexpected bad news, or that is just their personality. Some quiet people can be the nicest.

  • Eye contact is important. Once again, remember that most employers are looking for a candidate who can communicate well with other professionals and possible clients and/or scientists.

  • Show that you are a team player.

  • Emphasize your problem-solving skills.

  • Do not monopolize the conversation.

  • Have good solid questions that pertain to the job responsibilities and firm or company.

  • Avoid questions that reflect a lack of basic knowledge about the company.

  • Never drink alcohol on an interview

  • Only discuss compensation if the interviewer brings it up. If you are asked about compensation, be prepared to give them an answer in addition to a general idea of your salary requirements. If you really want the job, show that the salary is not your main concern.

  • Have solid reasons for past job changes.

  • If asked when you can start, have an answer that shows respect for your present employer. Two weeks to a month from the acceptance date is not unreasonable. The best answer is "I would like to be fair to my current employer but hope to start as soon as possible."

  • If this position requires relocation, be sure to explain why you are interested in that geographical area. Upon leaving, thank the interviewers for their time and let everyone know you enjoyed meeting with them. At a later time, send a thank you note. Emails are fine.

  • Always return the calls from the employer even if you are not interested.

Materials to Bring on an Interview

We highly recommend you bring the following to the interview:

  • Researched material and interview schedule
  • Extra copies of your resume
  • Transcripts
  • *Writing sample
  • Writing tablet and a possible list of questions
  • References (optional)

*You should be prepared to provide a good writing sample. The interviewer might ask you to send one, so having one on hand could save you some work. This also gives you the chance to show your foresight and ability to plan ahead. A writing sample will sometimes determine whether or not a firm/corporation wants to recruit you. We suggest selecting a writing sample that best demonstrates your writing capabilities and your capacity for analyzing legal issues. Proofread it and make sure that it is public information. Elicit feedback from someone with a strong knowledge of legal writing. A writing sample may also generate an interesting discussion during the interview. Your goal is to be prepared and organized.

Interview Attire

When it comes to an interview, there are no "Casual Fridays." Some of our clients suggest business casual. We recommend a suit with no jacket. It is better to be overdressed than too casual. A fresh haircut or neatly combed hair is required. Hands and fingernails should appear to be manicured. Shoes should be shined and socks or pantyhose should match your attire well. Shirts should be pressed. If you are traveling, bring an extra shirt or blouse. Take clothes directly from the cleaners with you. Don’t forget to check your breath. Never wear too much cologne/perfume, and if you are a smoker, be careful that your clothes do not smell like tobacco.

Men: Men should wear a conservative dark suit. A blue or white shirt with a tie is best. Avoid bright colors. We recommend black or brown shoes.

Women: Women should wear suits, preferably with a skirt, or a simple dress with a jacket. Blouses should blend well with your attire and be conservative. Pantyhose should be a neutral color or match to the suit and shoes. Pearls or diamonds are fine. We recommend light, neutral makeup and nail polish. If unsure, be conservative.

 Contact Premier Legal Staffing, Inc. for the latest information on competitive salaries within the intellectual property field of law.