The Interviewing Process: 9 “Intangibles” That Can Help You Stand Out

Posted on 11-16-2015 by
Tags: interviewer , interviewing , LIT , Upgrading Your Skills , job search , career , job seeking , interviewee , interview , interview questions

The interviewing process can be challenging for everyone involved.  Advice about interviews can take on many forms, but much of it places the focus on the conduct of interviewee and how they can distinguish themselves from other candidates, including what they should say and how they should conduct themselves. With the average interview time at 40 minutes, the interviewee is challenged to eloquently frame his or her experience into manageable sound bites in an effort to stand apart from the competition.

However, when dissecting the interview process less attention is paid to the interviewer who (in my opinion) has an equally difficult time when trying to select the right candidate for advancement. In fact, with the amount of jobs transitioning from less-routine to more-skilled, the hiring process has become more complicated than ever. Obviously this statistic provides some great news for educated professionals who are hoping to land a new job. In fact, one LexTalk contributor commented about his interviewing experience.

I have interviewed hundreds of applicants, and to really stand out, the candidate needs to distinguish themselves from other applicants. Most think their resumes will distinguish them, but in all honesty the often blend together. You hear the same questions over and over, someone who can come up with a unique question that really shows she has thought about the position, the firm, and his/her aspirations at that firm/organization really makes them stand apart.  

But with almost 5.4 million job openings currently in the U.S. (the most since the year 2000), the interview process may resemble a “revolving door” with an increased amount of qualified applicants who are trying to advance in the process. For those conducting the interview, he or she may have scant minutes to  select the right candidate for the next step in the process having to make quick judgment calls or rely on their “gut” instinct. Another contributor mentioned that the interview often times “seals the deal” for the candidate. 

By the time a candidate comes in for an interview we have already made a determination that the candidate has the right credentials for the job. At that point we are really looking to determine if the person is a good fit for the position and the firm.  

When thinking about the interview process from the interviewer’s standpoint, it may be helpful to know what  “intangibles” are sought after by the interviewer. We asked a group of legal professionals who regularly conduct interviews to identify the things they look for in an applicant during an interview. For those of you who are struggling in interviews, most of these professionals said these intangibles have helped candidates move on to the next stage in the interviewing process.  

1. Answering Questions

Answer questions honestly, even if it means admitting you don't know how to do something – but you are willing to learn. Honesty and integrity go a long way in the interview process.

2. Appearance & Basic Social Skills

Be aware of your appearance, body language and social skills. Shake hands, look people in the eye when you speak to them, and dress professionally. While this sounds very basic, these small things demonstrate your commitment.

3. Asking Questions

Asking questions is important, but not just generic questions. Position-specific questions for the interviewer about the position specifically. This proves that you have done your homework and looked into the exact job for which you are applying.

4. Attention to Detail

Detail, detail, detail. All attorneys need to be detail-oriented professionals. Find an anecdote you can share that reflects how detail-oriented you are to prove you are right for the job.

5. Communication Tactics

Verbal communication skills are key. At the interview, I am looking to answer two questions: (1) Can this person carry on a basic conversation without stammering; and, (2) If the person can’t make a clear point, or answer a question directly, then how can I trust your ability to make your point clear in the field

6. Confidence

Properly placed self-confidence, but not arrogance. Anyone can look good on paper, but it is critical to make it clear you know what you’re doing, you can get the job done and you can fit in with the team on day one.

7. Personality

Someone who knows how to interact with other people, not just those who are conducting the interview. I want to hear their story, why they want to work here and why now.  

8. Preparation

I am always surprised when someone shows up for a job interview without any preparation. If they show thorough preparation for the interview, it is a good sign that they will be diligent on the job if they are hired.

9. The Genuine “You”  

If you can show the interviewer your true self and be genuine about your interests, as well as your strengths and limitations that really can make all the difference, and show your true colors.  

To the rest of the community, feel free to share your thoughts by including your comment in the ‘Join the Conversation’ text box at the bottom of this string. Register to LexTalk and join the conversation.

If you are interested to hear about interview horror stories, take a look at the LexTalk post – Tales from the Crypt: “Tell me a little bit about yourself…” 


Posted on : 21 Mar 2016 11:19 AM

While going for an interview, one must always be honest and true to what he/she speaks. Although making an impression is necessary, providing false information is not a way around it. Being genuine is most important in an interview.

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