Do you have an interview coming up for a potential job as a paralegal? You’ll want to be confident and poised during your interview, so take some time to prepare and consider the potential paralegal interview questions you may be asked. Read on for potential questions and tips.
What the Interviewer Wants to Know
Your interviewer—often an attorney at the firm—will be interested your training, experience, and whether you would be a good fit on their current team.
You may also be asked questions designed to gauge your grace under pressure, your ability to multi-task, and your availability to work overtime or on weekends should your caseload require this.
Be Prepared to Share Your Skills
Before you go to your interview, take some time to review the job description, taking note of the specific “minimum” and “preferred” requirements it lists as desirable in its position candidates. These will be the skills that you should be prepared to demonstrate during your interview.
The qualifications will vary depending upon the size of the law firm and the scope of its practice.
Some paralegal jobs will require that you work mostly at a desk, organizing case files, preparing exhibits, or summarizing data. Others may require you to work directly with clients or witnesses.
Skills frequently desired in paralegals or legal secretaries include: proper phone etiquette, oral and written communications, emotional intelligence, attention to detail, and file management.
Research the firm so that you will have a good idea, going in, of what will be required of you as their paralegal or legal secretary.
Prepare for Your Paralegal Interview
When preparing for an interview for a paralegal position, anticipate questions regarding your organizational, research, writing, decision-making and analytical skills. In addition, equip yourself with examples of your experience handling confidential and sensitive information, time management techniques, and work ethic.
Paralegal Interview Questions
Below is a list of commonly asked interview questions for paralegals. Take the time to prepare for your job interview by rehearsing possible answers for each question so you can provide clear and concise responses.
- What experience do you have in the paralegal field?
- Why do you want to be a paralegal?
- Are you planning to apply to law school?
- Tell me about a time you had to organize and analyze a large volume of data in order to prepare a report by a tight deadline.
- How do you ensure the accuracy of your work?
- Tell me about your experience dealing with confidential and sensitive information.
- Describe your ideal work environment.
- Why do you want to specialize in this area of law?
- Tell me about a difficult boss you had. How did you deal with him/her?
- How do you organize your workload in order to manage multiple tasks and tight deadlines?
- Provide an example of a complex legal issue that you had to analyze and solve. How did you conduct your research?
- How has your education prepared you to work as a paralegal?
- What is the most stressful job you've ever held?
- What areas of law are you most interested in?
- How comfortable are you working for the defense of suspected criminals?
- Do you prefer working on your own or as part of a team?
- Tell me about a conflict you had with a coworker. How did you handle the situation?
- What would you have done differently?
- What methods do you use to organize and review legal documents?
- What do you do to ensure accuracy in your daily work?
- What are your plans for the future?
General Job Interview Questions
In addition to job-specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans. Be ready with appropriate responses.
Your interviewer may also ask why you are leaving your current job (if you have one) and your paralegal salary expectations. Here's a list of the most common interview questions with examples of answers.
Paralegal Interview Tips
By going over the above questions and skills you’ll be well prepared, but here are a few more interview tips that may help:
- Dress properly for your interview with business attire.
- Don’t overdo your makeup or wear too much perfume or cologne.
- Avoid interview mistakes such as bringing coffee or soda into the interview and turn off your cell phone.
- Once you’re in your interview, be friendly and open and be sure to listen carefully to your interviewer.
- Take a moment to think about the question so you can offer a complete and competent answer.
- After your interview is completed, it’s a good idea to get your interviewer’s contact information and send him or her a thank you for the interview letter as soon as possible.