Monday, April 11, 2011

Tips for interviewing for a Paralegal position (can be adapted for other professions)

Late last year, I interviewed for a Paralegal position at a new firm. I guess it's like riding a bycicle (one where the seat goes up your butt no matter how you position yourself). No matter how good you are at interviewing, it's so uncomfortable to act like you're not begging for a job, and to act like you WANT to feed the interviewer's ego. So here are some common interview questions for a Paralegal and some suggestions for responses (adapt to your profession as appropriate):

1.  What are the most important skills for a paralegal?


A.  Know appropriate interviewing skills because you know this love fest isn't going to last long. I'll probably be interviewing with the lawfirm down the hall next week.

B. Practice and be able to effectively communicate the look of surprise when the attorneys I work for try to get away with malpractice. See Response A above if you haven't perfected said look.

C. Be skilled in the art of deflection and avoiding responsibility. (At least that has worked well for many of my coworkers in the past.)

2.  What tools and methods do you use for the day to day organization and planning of your day?

RESPONSE: trash cans, shredders, and my delete button.  Remember to ask whether the staff has under-desk shredders when the interviewer(s) asks if you have any questions of him/her/them.

3.  How do you prioritize your workload?

RESPONSE: First, I check what should br shredded, and feed what will jam the shredder last. Then, I walk to the desks of my coworkers and ask them if they can squeeze in a tiny favor for me. Third, if it MUST be done by me, it was probably not given the specific attention it needs by the person who assigned it to me (because they mistakenly assigned it to me).

Thus, it's probably not a priority. Can I get an amen? Amen.

4.  How do you stay focused and productive despite interruptions and conflicting demands on your time?

RESPONSE: You are obviously not interested in getting anything done if you are interrupting my productiveness.  Therefore, I might as well focus on taking a productive nap instead.

5.  Give me a recent example of having to organize and analyze large volumes of data in order to prepare a report by a tight deadline.

RESPONSE: One time, at band camp, I wrote this resume from my vast experience and education, and my interviewer refused to review the resume, so I met with him for a Q&A to summarize further the reasons I am awesome at my job. I guess I shouldn't make fun of those who don't read. (Haters: I didn't say "CAN'T read.")

6.  Describe the steps you took, using a specific example, to identify key issues from a base of information.

RESPONSE: Ask them to speak English and stop being unpatriotic. Then refer them to the response to question #5 above.

7.  Why are you the right person for this job?

RESPONSE: Listen, if they are interviewing you, and losing $300 per hour to do it, they already think you are hot stuff. Answer by asking what THEY find so appealing about you.

8.  Why did you choose to become a paralegal?

RESPONSE: That's a good question. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

9.  Why did you choose to specialize in this area of the law?

RESPONSE: I didn't, but thought I would make my resume customized to this position and lie a little to help me get this job. It's the only lie, I promise. (Or am I lying about that too?)


  1. (*Elvis style*): Why, thank you, thank you very much!

  2. i was really needing real tips Supergirl! No really really!!!

    Missing you, please come back with a hilarious story asap <3

    greenparalegal: writing to you as I sit in my ptp class as I type, learning stuff that I will probably never get to do....

  3. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I
    think I would never understand. It seems too complex
    and very broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!

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