Typical Interview Questions and Responses

Typical Interview Questions and Responses

You should be giving complete but brief and relaxed answers to questions.

Where possible, use questions as an opportunity for presenting information which will sell yourself in a positive way. We have provided a list of questions below and some suggested responses as a guide.


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“Tell me about yourself”

  • Answer this question in terms of qualifications required of the position. Start with your education and discuss your employment experiences.
  • Gear the response towards the duties and responsibilities of the position you are interviewing for.


“What are your greatest strengths?”

  • Discuss job tasks or skills that you know to be an asset.
  • Don’t just answer with one word replies such as “drafting skills, communication skills etc. Back up your strength with a short and concise example.
  • Don’t end a sentence regarding your strengths with “but”…… You always need to remain positive and confident.
  • Your strengths should be a mix of your technical skills as well as your softer skills which reveal your personality.


“How does your experience and education qualify you for the position in our group?”

  • Focus on the aspects of your experience that apply to this position. Include any experience, knowledge or training you have had which is relevant to the role.
  • Emphasise your current and previous responsibilities and ability to do the job.


“Describe a challenging work issue you had to face and how you dealt with it.”

  • Provide examples here of working to meet tough deadlines and how you managed yourself and other lawyers if appropriate, dealing with a difficult client, if you are a Manager, a situation in which you had a to deal with an underperforming employee.
  • These questions often look at how you would react in a similar situation so avoid using language such as stressful, anxious, tension etc. Focus on team work, client service and meeting expectations of clients, colleagues and superiors.


“What are your weaknesses? What are some of the things you find difficult to do?”

  • This is where you turn your negatives or weaknesses into potential strengths and positive attributes. For example, I am generally detail minded and this is very useful when conducting a due diligence but I have successfully learnt to…


Describe two major achievements in your career.”

The word “career” should be your focus. Keep your answer relevant to your legal experience and perhaps indicate a time where you were a key contributor to a team or where you lead a project to successful completion.

These questions should be answered enthusiastically. Show the interviewer you are interested in the position and relate the answers to the duties and responsibilities of the job. Ensure you indicate that you are looking for career and professional development and strive to be the best you can be.

“What can you contribute to this company/firm?”

“Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?”

“What interests you most about this position?”

“What do you do in your spare time?”

  • Present yourself as a well-rounded person as your answers give you dimension.
  • Name some hobbies and interests you have outside of law.
  • This is a good opportunity to talk about any voluntary or charity work, sporting or other achievements which relate to the last 5 or so years.


“What motivates you?”

  • Think about the sorts of things which drive you to succeed, what get you excited when you are working on a matter, the sort of culture or team environment which you thrive in.


“How would you describe yourself in the work environment?”

  • Focus on your personality (40%) e.g. enthusiastic, personable, approachable.
  • Focus on your attitude (40%) e.g. willing to learn, be challenged, strive to be the best you can.
  • Focus on your skills (20%) e.g. specialist in adverse possession claims.


“How would others describe you – your colleagues and/or your supervising Partner?

Follow the guide from the previous question.

“Why did you leave your previous employer? What did you like most/least about your previous job/jobs?”

  • Never speak poorly about former employers. Be positive and answer the question based on the work provided, your involvement in matters or transactions, your need for career and professional development etc.

Remember when you are answering these questions you are providing clues about the environment you now seek.

“What salary are you seeking in a new role?”

  • Do not state a starting figure. A suitable reply is “I am looking for the right opportunity which is the most important issue for me. As a starting point however, I would be seeking a salary commensurate with my experience and its relevance to the role.

What salary are you currently receiving?”

  • Be truthful and honest. If you are due for a review or increase in the short term then state when you anticipate the increase and the amount that you expect to receive.
  • You must be sure to explain any bonuses, commissions, and overtime or salary sacrifices.
  • What is the biggest mistake you have made in your legal career and what did you learn from that mistake?
  • If you have supervised teams before, what steps do you take to ensure that the team works effectively and efficiently?
  • What do you think are the attributes of a good manager or supervisor?
  • How do you deal with underperforming employees?
  • What does “customer service” mean to you?
  • How do you handle conflict?