What are your recruiters looking for?
Some key qualities that recruiters look for include the following:
Ability to think on the feet
Basic legal knowledge
Determination and dedication
General knowledge about the happenings in the world
Humble and positive attitude
Good communication skills
Overall personality and attitude are the two most important factors being considered in any interview.
How to write your CV
CV should be short and crisp. It should not exceed more than two pages
It should include our top internships/work experience, research papers and other content writing experience, diploma, moot courts, client counseling competitions, debates and other activities which highlight our skills
There are many assignments that we work on during our internships. We must only mention those assignments that we feel confident about. It is not mandatory to mention everything that we’ve worked on during our internships. One can mention top 5-6 assignments, which may include research, drafting, due diligence or any other interesting work
However we must be specific. Do not write general statements like “worked on Contract Act”or “worked on some aspects of the Contract Act”; make it more specific by including the sections or other aspects of the Act that you have worked on. For example “Conducted research on enforceability of a non-compete clause in Employment Contracts.” This will narrow down the scope of questions thrown at us during the interview
It is advisable to put everything in bullet points to make it reader friendly
Please do not lie in your CVs. We must only mention those things that we have actually worked on
Understanding the rounds of interview
Rounds of interviews generally vary for each company. You can expect one to three rounds of interview. These rounds consist of HR questions and Technical questions.
HR questions – We can expect hypothetical questions such as ‘how will you meet deadlines when you have multiple assignments?’ or questions revolving around your personality such as ‘tell us something about yourself’?, ‘what are your hobbies?’, ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’, ‘why do you want to work with our firm?’; ‘what new will you bring to the table?’, etc. If we have previously interned with the firm then they may even ask about our internship experience and some key learnings.
We can even expect questions related to the latest news; both legal as well as non-legal and latest developments in the country.
Technical questions – We can expect a lot of questions based on our CV, questions related to the concerned practice area and basic legal knowledge. If it’s a corporate interview, we want to be thorough with the basics of Companies Act and Contract Act.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we are not expected to know everything or answer all questions correctly. What they want to see if we have a basic understanding, application of mind and logical reasoning.
What to wear
We must dress neatly in formal clothing for our important day. Clothes should be properly ironed, hair neatly done and shoes polished. Do not leave the buttons of your shirt open as it leaves a bad impression. Blazer can be worn for a polished look.
Sharing my experience and some tips
The most important point to keep in mind for the interview is to ‘be in the present.’ Most of us worry too much. We are constantly worrying about getting the job, worrying about whether we are prepared or not, thinking about the kind of questions that will be thrown at us and every other possibility. Worrying too much or being bogged down by such thoughts can make us nervous and stressed.
I went through two rounds of interview before I got my dream job. I had prepared a lot for the first round; I spoke to friends who recently sat for interviews and got the job to understand their approach and the kind of questions to expect. I had thought of all possible questions I could be asked and I even prepared answers for it. I had thought too much about how I would approach the interview and how I would answer questions. But the interview turned out to be very different from what I had expected.
The approach of the recruiter was very different from what I had thought and questions were being asked in a different manner. I felt stuck with a few questions because I was trying to go about it the way I had prepared in my mind. What I realized later was that you just have to be present in the moment and go with the flow. It is as simple as that.
So I decided to do that for the next round. I decided to be myself and go with the flow and that gave me a lot of comfort/confidence. I was able to think with an open mind and answer to the best of my understanding. I was even told that we are not expected to answer all questions correctly. If we don’t know something, we must be honest. It is okay to tell our recruiter that we are not aware but willing to go back and learn. What our recruiter is looking for is our understanding of the topic/situation by application of mind and logical reasoning.
It was a long interview but I was calm and at ease. This helped me gather my thoughts and establish good communication. Also please be honest with your recruiters, it is much appreciated and leaves a good impression. Our recruiters are experienced professionals and can see when we are lying. We must remember that no one wants to hire a dishonest person. Another tip is to take a moment before you respond. It helps you gather your thoughts and articulate well.
Interview is not a one-way street. It is thoughtful communication between both parties. You are not going to be in a situation where you are bombarded with questions. It is going to be an enriching conversation and exchange of ideas where both parties are trying to understand each other. You must remember that recruitment is a process from which both parties benefit. Therefore you must not shy away from asking questions or clarifying your doubts. In fact it is encouraged and much appreciated. Many recruiters at the end of the interview ask if we have any questions for them. This is a good time to seek clarity and will show your interest. You can ask about the policy of the firm, philosophy of the firm, your role at the firm, expectations as a fresher, etc. It is not advisable to ask for feedback on the interview, if they have any feedback for you, they will tell you.
Despite our best efforts if we don’t make it through for some reason, we must not feel disappointed. Remember that we have just started and this is a learning process for us and we will definitely do better next time.
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