How to deliver a perfect job interview as a freelance legal consultant
By Tina De Maere – September 14, 2023
To haul in your dream job as a freelance legal consultant, you need two things: an impressive CV and a splashing job interview. Ultimately, the main goal is always to show that you, and no one else, is the perfect fit for the job or assignment you’re applying for.
For tips on writing a convincing resume, click here. For tips on leaving a sensational impression during an interview, read on!
The worst thing you can do at a job interview is not show up. The second worst thing you can do, is arrive unprepared. This immediately gives the impression that you’re not that interested or motivated for the assignment you’re applying for. Therefore, you should try to collect at least a minimum amount of information about the company or the client you want to work for.
Some questions you could ask yourself:
In which sector are they active?
Who are their main competitors?
What is their history and their mission statement?
What are their main goals for the future?
What were the last business results? Annual turnover, change of CEO?
How can I prove that the company needs me for this specific assignment?
Additionally, you can gather some financial information about the company on the website of the CBE. Go the extra mile and look up the recent exposure in the press. Maybe there’s an interesting article published in De Tijd/L’Echo or Trends/Tendances?
Being prepared, yes, but don’t overprepare yourself either. If you’ve studied all possible questions and answers by heart, this might impede the smooth flow of the conversation. Give yourself the opportunity to showcase your sharpness and clarity of mind as well; in any case, these are essential qualities for a legal interim manager!
Your resume is not self-explanatory
Don’t forget that most employers and clients value a good job interview just as much as a compelling resume. Even if you have a world class CV, a poor interview can ruin your chances of being picked for a job. Therefore, remain honest and open while answering questions about your professional history. Again: it’s all about showing that you are the perfect fit. A good match on a more personal level will certainly put you higher on the ranking – especially for longer assignments.
At the same time, it’s always a good idea to prepare some questions yourself (or make them up during the conversation). This proves legitimate interest and motivation in the company and helps in building the trust of your interlocutor.
Focus on relevant information
When talking about your past experiences as a legal consultant, it remains important to focus on the information that is relevant to the assignment you’re applying for. Try to highlight specific qualities or skills you gained in previous jobs that you can transfer to your potential new client or employer.
This does not only include your expertise in certain legal practice areas. Equally important are your soft skills. For instance, when applying for a short term assignment, indicate that you’re a fast thinker, a quick learner and don’t need much time to be operational. When applying for longer assignments, it might be a good idea to focus on your reputation as a trustworthy companion. Obviously, clients don’t like consultants who quit after a month or two!
In general, when talking about legal interim assignments, clients like to hear about your communication skills, your ability to deliver strategic advice and your ability to translate complex legal information into clear and understandable opinions.
Last but not least: suit up!
It seems obvious, but it’s impossible not to mention this last tip: dress nicely! The first impression is always the most important one, and you only get a single chance to make one. Research has proven that this impression is mostly based on your physical appearance. Therefore, there’s only one thing left to do: suit up!
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