How To Fail Miserably at Impressing Your Legal Recruiter
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How To Fail Miserably at Impressing Your Legal Recruiter

how to fail at your legal interviewAs the Director of Recruitment at R.JOHNSON, I’ve seen it all when it comes to the best and worst of candidate interviews.  To be honest, certain candidates make my job a joy while others make me groan and roll my eyes inwardly.  Part of my position encompasses the successful completion of every recruit that walks in the door. In other words, it’s my job to find our clients the best possible person for the job. This includes matching skillsets, attitudes and personality types between employer and employee. There’s a lot of competition when it comes to jobs in the legal profession and how you act during your interview can either land you the position or screw up the opportunity completely. Here’s how some people fail during legal interviews and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls:

1. Acting Too Casual During Your Interview

This one is so common I decided to put it at the top of the list. Although I love getting to know my candidates, I’m not becoming your best friend. Acting too casual or flippant during our interview might make me think you’ll be that way when I send you on a client interview. Take it from me, it’s important to treat every interview like it’s your only chance to sell yourself, your experience and your skills. Always be professional and enthusiastic. This includes showing up on time, having a positive interview and bringing a hard copy of your resume and references.

2. Acting Like You Aren’t Interested in Other Positions Your Recruiter Brings Up

I’ve worked in the legal industry for over a decade and I have a solid understanding of the legal industry. That being said, it’s my specialty to pair candidates with employers. Many times, candidates contact us about specific opportunities, and even though other job openings might be a better fit, they don’t want to hear about it.  They might have their heart set on a particular position that causes them to have blinders on about everything else. You should always be open to other jobs. This doesn’t mean you need to take them, but you should be open to hearing the details.

3. Not Dressing Professionally

I’ve seen it all when it comes to dressing (and accessorizing) poorly during interviews:

  • Slinky dresses that reveal too much cleavage
  • Inappropriate hemlines
  • Keeping headphones and/or Bluetooth on
  • Tennis shoes or other inappropriate footwear
  • Loading on the makeup and excess jewelry
  • Chipped nail polish

If you aren’t sure about how to dress during a job interview, it’s better to err on the side of being too professional rather than the opposite. Whether we like it or not, appearance counts and first impressions are very important.  According to Forbes, we make eleven major decisions about people we meet within seven seconds of meeting them. This includes status, authority, trustworthiness, competency and more. You should always dress professionally and this doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. There are many options when it comes to finding great office clothes including Winners, H&M, Reitmans, Joe Fresh and more.

Bottom Line: How you act, including your level of professionalism, can make or break your job interview. It’s important to always mind your manners, be open to comments from your legal recruiter and to dress the part. Remember, first impressions matter! Do you have any other tips or fails to share? Please share them in the comments below!

By Kimberly MacMillan

Kimberly MacMillan

About Kimberly MacMillan

As Partner, Kimberly is responsible for leading the full-cycle recruitment process and managing the day-to-day operations of the office. She also develops and executes creative sourcing strategies that ensure effective talent acquisition of top-tier candidates. Serving as the main point of contact for clients, she, along with her team, endeavor to facilitate a successful completion for every recruit.

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