How would you answer these job interview questions?
Job interviews can be very stressful. It’s not easy to answer questions about yourself, especially when they are open-ended questions that address your personality, work habits, ability to do teamwork and so on. Good answers are the key to a successful interview, and hopefully a job offer. The questions asked at job interviews are fairly standard. You greatly increase the chance you will give a good interview by preparing answers ahead of time. See the facing page for the questions you can expect in an interview for a position at a law firm.
- Tell me a little about yourself. What made you decide on law school?
- What do you hope to get out of a legal career?
- What do you know about [our firm]?
- How do you think [our firm] can help you achieve your career goals?
- If you took out an ad in the newspaper and had to describe yourself in only three words, what would those words be?
Independence/sense of self/judgment:
- Describe what success means to you.
- Do you think of yourself as a risk-taker, or someone who plays it safe?
- How would you describe your standards of performance?
- Describe a (recent) situation in which you had to quickly establish your credibility and gain the confidence of others. What did you do?
- What do you think has contributed most to your success so far?
- What are some of the things (weaknesses) you are still working on in yourself?
- Describe a time when you had to take on something very new or different and you had little or no guidance and support in doing so. How did you handle it?
- A senior partner left an assignment for you before leaving on vacation. Now, you can’t reach him/her and don’t understand the assignment. What do you do?
- Describe a situation in which you had to work under pressure. How did you handle it?
- Do you anticipate problems effectively or just react to them?
- Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty or delivered results beyond what was expected. Why did you do that?
- How would you clarify an unclear assignment?
- What kind of work environment are you most comfortable in (structured/unstructured)?
- Tell me about a time when you were assigned an unwelcome task. What did you do?
- Have you ever made an error in judgment that you had to address with your employer? How did you handle it?
- What part of your current workload do you
- Would you describe yourself as a self-starter? If so, why?
- Would people describe you as a competitive person?
- Describe two things that motivate you at work.
- Give me an example of something you’ve done that demonstrates initiative and willingness to work.
- What kinds of responsibilities are important to you in your work?
- What work or personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What accomplishments gave you the most satisfaction?
- Have you ever accomplished something you did not think you could? How did you do it?
- Give me an example of how you have shown initiative.
- What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?
- What would you consider to be a stimulating work environment?
- Describe a significant risk you took to accomplish a task.
- Describe a (recent) experience when you worked in a team environment. What was your role?
- Describe a situation where you had to give constructive criticism to another person. How did you go about this?
- Can you describe a situation where you worked for a difficult boss? What happened and how did you handle it?
- Have you ever had to resolve a conflict with a co-worker? How did you resolve it?
- Describe your study habits.
- How do you manage your time/organize your workload?
- Describe a situation in which you’ve faced competing priorities. How did you handle it?
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- Tell me about a time when you organized a project/completed a job where the directions were vague.
- When you are under a lot of stress, what is your typical reaction?