The recruitment process for in-house roles can vary greatly, however there are general differences between the private practice and in-house processes.
All CVs should be direct and succinct. Advice given to the business as an in-house lawyer will generally be to the point, so use your CV to demonstrate that you can impart your experience in a concise and well-structured manner.
You should also include aspects about your life outside your career. As an in-house lawyer, you will be expected to liaise with people from all aspects of the business, so show that you have had contact with people from differing backgrounds. Think surf lifesaving, book clubs and charity involvement – all of these things will be viewed positively.
In-house interviews tend to vary significantly from private practice interviews.
As with the private practice, the interviewer will ask questions regarding your technical skills, but this usually forms a smaller portion of the interview. These technical questions will tend to focus on your ability to apply the law in a commercial and also pragmatic manner, as company employees will want to receive their legal advice in lay terms.
The interviewer will tend to take the skills listed on your CV as a statement of your technical abilities, and therefore will use most of the interview to explore interpersonal and character issues. In-house teams tend to be small (approx. 3-4 people) and so it’s crucial to have the right interpersonal fit amongst the team. In private practice, personalities tend to be more diluted by the size of team and the firm, but one bad apple in small in-house team can cause the team to cease functioning. In an in-house interview the interviewer will be trying to find out “who you are and what makes you tick,” to establish if you would get along with the business. In basic terms, they want to know that they would be happy having a coffee or drink with you. If you give “text book” answers but fail to give the interviewer a sense of “who you are,” it is unlikely you will get the job. Accordingly, it is extremely important in an in-house interview to let your personality shine. They are recruiting you just as much for who you are and your ability to interact with the business as they are for your technical skills.
Additional questions to expect in an in-house interview regard your motivations for moving in-house and your knowledge and understanding of the company and the industry. It will be important to do your research prior to the interview. This includes reading press releases and understanding their products or services, but also being able to articulate your motivations for wanting the role.
Should you like any further interview advice or tips please feel free to contact one of our in-house consultants on 9266 2900.