How to Stand Out in a Job Interview – Tips from a Legal Career Coach

By Jennifer Evans written for the Orange County Paralegal Association Compendium

With the HOT job market, many are confidentially considering a career move. If that is you, here are 5 questions that I coach my candidates to consider when preparing for an interview:

1. Why are you interested in the firm and the opportunity? Hiring Managers are trained to listen to the “why”. Take time to research the firm’s career page, newsfeed, and LinkedIn posts. Ask yourself – Why is their firm & opportunity a good fit for you at this time in your career? Be prepared to share your interest level and the “Why”.

2. What are the top two to three things you want them to remember about you? By setting this intention, Interviewees find they can tap into better responses during the interview process. Think about what you uniquely bring to the table: your strengths, your working style, and your career accomplishments.

3.What specific STAR examples can you share that will describe your experience? A STAR response describes a situation/task (similar to what is being requested in the job description), the action you took, and the results. STAR responses help you provide impactful answers and insight into your experience that can really help you stand out from your competition.

4. What questions can you ask that will help you to understand expectations, management style, firm culture, and next steps? You should always go into an interview prepared with 3-5 questions. Many times, the type of questions you ask is what impresses the Interviewer the most.

Here are a few recommendations:

•  What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first 30-60 days?

• What characteristics made a past person in this role successful?

•  What do people enjoy about working at your firm?

• Do you have any additional questions about my background as it relates to this position?

• Do you have any hesitancies moving me forward to the next step in the interview process?

5. Why should they hire you? Reflecting on this before the interview helps you bring a level of confidence and energy to the conversation.

Investing 30-45 minutes in preparing for an Interview is the key to a successful meeting. I also recommend this LinkedIn post – It provides excellent insight into specific legal questions you might be asked and the type of responses the Interviewer is seeking.

Lastly, conducting a Mock Interview/Practice Interview can be a game changer. Athletes practice for top performance – so should you!  I offer Career Coaching services and am happy to help OCPA members prepare for a successful interview. If you are interested, reach out to me at

Jennifer Evans, CSP, has 30 years of experience in the legal recruiting industry. She enjoys the opportunity to speak with intelligent & dynamic law professionals and partnering with them in their career management and growth initiatives. She is a regular presenter on topics that help individuals enhance their careers and professional social media presence. Jennifer is co-founder of Talent Access Solutions, a CA legal search firm she established in 2012.