Updating Results

Clayton Utz

  • #4 in Law
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Tips to Upgrade a Good Interview to An Outstanding Interview

Clayton Utz

Preparation is key to making the best impression during your clerkship interview.

Research the firm

Make sure you've done your research on the firm with which you're interviewing. Find out which areas of practice they specialise in, the locations in which they operate and who their major clients are. You first port-of-call is the firm's website, and it's also worth checking out their social media posts as well as media articles. 

You should also think about practical examples of how your experience reflects the firm's client service ethos and culture. Say the firm is looking for people who are commercial savvy and practical: reflect on an experience where you have demonstrated these qualities.

Be aware of your body language and speaking volume in the room

Sit up straight in your chair at all times as this shows engagement in the conversation.

Be aware of your hands, especially if you're prone to fidgeting. Try to place them in your lap, in a position that is comfortable for you.

Continue to smile throughout the interview and maintain regular eye contact with your interviewers.

Sometimes the interview room may be small, so be conscious when you're talking to adjust your voice projection to an appropriate level.

Take your time to collect your thoughts before answering a question

There is no expectation to immediately answer a question once the interviewer has finished asking it. 

Take some time to consider what the question is asking, think through which example best demonstrates this, and then provide your answer - taking a 10-15 second pause is appropriate. If a glass of water is available take a sip while you are thinking.

You may consider repeating the question back to help you gather your thoughts.

If need be, you can always ask for the question to be repeated to ensure you're clear that you're answering the question accurately.

Use real life examples and articulate in a clear and concise manner

You'll be asked to share examples of how you've demonstrated certain behaviours/abilities that the role requires - so think about the best examples that highlight this.

Don't be afraid to talk about experiences where the outcome wasn't quite what you expected or achieved the desired result. In these instances, reflect on the lessons you learned, and what you would do differently next time!

The STAR technique is a common technique that helps you to explain your example in a clear and concise manner. It stands for:

  • S - Situation: tell the interviewers about the situation you were in
  • T - Task: tell the interviewers what the specific task was that you were required to complete
  • A - Action: tell the interviewers what the specific action was that you took
  • R - Result: share the result/outcome 

Often students talk about group-based activities in which they participated. That's fine, but remember to highlight the specific role that you played in the activity, and how your actions ultimately contributed to the final result.

Consider drawing on different experiences from various aspects of your life, be it work or personal (an extra-curricular activity, for example). This helps to demonstrate your well roundedness and adaptability too.

Ask your interviewers two questions

Towards the end of the interview, you'll have the opportunity to ask your own questions. To show that you are genuinely interested in the role (and have good listening skills), be prepared in advance with a least three or four but ask two (some prepared questions may be answered throughout!). Be conscious of your time and that your interviewers may need to conduct further interviews after you. 

Consider asking questions that will help you determine whether the role is the right fit for you. Remember that the interview is an opportunity for both you and the firm to work out whether you're the right fit.

Identify which aspects of the role and the firm's culture are important to you and frame your questions in a way that elicits the information to help you make an informed decision.

Have a positive attitude and be yourself!

While it may seem obvious, you'd be surprised to hear that there are stories of candidates in interviews being negative or disinterested! This is not the impression you want to leave.

Candidates who approach each question with a new example, articulate answers clearly and concisely while providing insights into themself on a personal leave a positive impression on the team.

Good luck and remember to stay true to whichever path you choose!

Danielle Sandys, Graduate Resourcing Consultant