Securing an interview for a paralegal job is an exciting and impressive feat. Now, it’s time to prepare for that interview by studying the paralegal interview questions you’ll likely get asked. Below we’ve outlined 10 common paralegal interview questions and thoughtful guidance and considerations for your answers. Continue reading for our best practices when it comes to fielding paralegal interview questions.
Why do you want to be a paralegal?
While this is a fairly straightforward interview question, your answer should be thoughtful and unique to your experiences. When it comes to paralegal interview questions like these (ones which aren’t directly related to your hard skills), try turning your answer into a story. Psychologists found we retain information better when said information is delivered via a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Share a personal story about why you pursued paralegal studies or a paralegal career. This will help you stand out from other candidates and hopefully make your interview memorable. Bonus: This strategy supports building rapport with the interviewer(s).
How do you deal with frustrated or demanding clients?
Not every paralegal role will be a client-facing one, though many are. When it comes to answering paralegal interview questions about communicating with clients, be thoughtful and empathetic in your responses. It’s important to relay the compassion you have for clients. Afterall, most are likely experiencing strong emotions when seeking legal help.
After you’ve presented an answer which speaks to the empathy you have for clients, while also boasting your strong communication skills, you can follow up and ask the interviewer about their best practices. Consider asking if the firm has any tools to support staff with client communication. These might include client portals or client intake software. Obviously you’ll be able to gauge how open your interviewer is to these kinds of questions or conversations. But don’t forget about our advice above: it’s important for you to interview them as well. And if working with technology is important to you, it might not be a great fit to work at a firm reliant on their filing cabinet (opposed to a paperless law firm), or one tied to an on-premise server.
How do you stay up-to-date with legal and regulatory changes?
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to speak about how you prioritize networking, regularly check legal blogs for the latest news, and use Twitter professionally to keep your finger on the pulse. There are other acceptable answers to this question and you should be honest about what it is that keeps you well-informed and excited about working as a legal professional. We don’t recommend boasting about reading the Harvard Law Review weekly if it’s not something you actually do.
How to prepare for paralegal interview questions
Beyond studying the above questions and preparing your answers, other ways to set yourself up for interview success include:
Ultimately, you can practice in the mirror until you’re blue in the face, but truly, the best way to confidently answer paralegal interview questions and improve your comfortability in interview settings, is to be interviewed. You will fumble, stutter, shake, and sweat, because we all do. Remember though, the interviewer is already interested in you. They wouldn’t have brought you in otherwise. So, radiate confidence and curiosity as best as you can, set time aside to prepare, and go in understanding this is a two-way street. You’re interviewing them to be your future employer. They should be trying to impress you too. Keep in mind, signing up to work at an organization with a poor working environment paves the way for paralegal burnout.