Talk

Advanced search

Legal types, interview help please

(19 Posts)
Earthymama Tue 11-Aug-09 21:47:05

DP's niece is applying for training posts all over the country. Can those of you that interview potential employees and/or work in the profession talk to me about what is the best way to dress for interviews, please?

She's accumalated massive debt and DP and I would like to help by buying some basic clothes she can then continue to wear when she begins her training.

I think a plain but smart dress, smart shoes, a good bag and some subtle jewellry. A good haircut, too. A quite polished look IFYSWIM?

DP thinks it won't matter but I'm convinced first impessions are so important, especial when it's been shown that working class students are struggling.

Opinions and advice please?

Tortington Tue 11-Aug-09 21:52:06

it does matter greatly IMO

something trendy - in line with her age - but smart elegant

thesouthsbelle Tue 11-Aug-09 21:53:23

yes i'd go with what you're suggesting, or an a line skirt, smart blouse and possibly a jacket, (in essence a skirt or trouser suit)

tidy hair, good hand shake as well. clean teeth/fresh breath.

(at least those are points I go for when dressing for an interview and also looking out for candidates) althou i'm in accounts.

i'm not so much on jewellery, well maybe some stud earrings but that's about it.

first impressions are the most important I feel. we had a lady once turn up for a recent job we had wearing leggings (I kid you not) and the ballet pumps. another with several piercings. not important to some people but within our company we're trying to give a professional approach it's key to look right.

hth.

thesouthsbelle Tue 11-Aug-09 21:54:15

oh and also, when shaking said hand, eye contact and a smile is important.

K999 Tue 11-Aug-09 21:54:28

IMO its very important. Something along the lines that you mention. DP hires trainees and gets annoyed when they turn up scruffy. First impressions count.

Earthymama Tue 11-Aug-09 21:54:45

That's what I think, that you have to look professional, in a 'can't explain but know it when you see it' way!!

(love the name but bemused!!)

thesouthsbelle Tue 11-Aug-09 21:56:45

might be worth as well her taking a copy of her CV in a sleeve, (some might think a bit too much, but at least they'll see she's prepared) also good to know a bit about the company you're going for the interview with as well if you can.

georgimama Tue 11-Aug-09 21:57:21

Do you mean interviews for a training contract? Of course it matters. I am stunned that your DP could think it doesn't matter. Does he know how hard it is to get a training contract?

What you suggested sounds perfect. Grey/black/navy and very well polished smart shoes.

hatesponge Tue 11-Aug-09 21:59:03

It does matter.

However I got a training contract with a city of london firm by going to my interview in a bright orange jacket blush however it was the early 90's and v fashionable at the time, in my defence......!

Nice clothes are important, but would be good if she could have something to give her outfit a little twist esp if she is applying to any 'young' firms - bit of website research may be good pre-interview so she can dress more classically for the proper old school firms, and a few more accesories etc for the . However it's also important that she is comfortable in what she's wearing as well, she doesn't want to look like her suit's wearing her iyswim?

I wish her luck - it's 17 years since I was doing my training contract interviews, it was bad enough then but the market is so much more competitive now.

Earthymama Tue 11-Aug-09 22:00:56

Dp does know but does not place as much emphasis on the 'look' as she's very bright and has a good degree from one of the most well regarded unis for law.

I still say that you need that 'je ne sais quoi', that says professional and confident.

hatesponge Tue 11-Aug-09 22:02:08

sorry that should have read 'for the others'!

second that handshake v good, confident approach, lots and lots of eye contact, especially remembering to look at everyone in the room, its easy just to focus on one person but often there will be several on the interviewing panel so looking at all of them is good!

georgimama Tue 11-Aug-09 22:02:22

I'm afraid very bright people with good degrees from well regarded unis are ten a penny.

You're right about the je ne sais quoi.

Earthymama Tue 11-Aug-09 22:03:37

hatesponge you summed it up, though I might not dvise her to go with the bright orange jacket if you don't mind!!

I'm off to look for meteors in the sky but do some links and see what you think later.

Thank you all for not saying 'you frivolous EM'.

K999 Tue 11-Aug-09 22:03:45

Qualifications are only one part...tbh there are loads of folk out their with first class honours degrees who strggle to get a traineeship - you really need to impress at every level and that includes interviews. smile

wonderingwondering Tue 11-Aug-09 22:06:58

OP, you are right - first impressions really count. Dark colours, knee length skirt or dress, low heels, tights/stockings. A nice (silk) scarf if you want a bit of colour.

Short nails, clear polish, no more than one ring. Low key make-up but enough to make her look like an adult - don't know how old she is, but she may be up against people who've worked in other industries or studied for longer, so are older and have more experience.

First impressions count so much: as a lawyer, even a trainee, you have to be able to command respect and justify the £150 an hour being charged for you to be there. You definitely have to ditch the student look and mindset.

And all of that is doubly important if you are from a more w/c background, as you are up against people from fairly privileged backgrounds who have lots of in-built confidence, which gives them the edge - they have a bit of 'presence' which in my experience doesn't always reflect their ability to do the job!

Good luck (and happy shopping). Btw, Jigsaw usually do a reasonable-ish business suit that won't break the bank but is smart enough.

RibenaBerry Wed 12-Aug-09 14:22:46

For City/large regional firms, a suit. Absolutely and categorically. There are some firms in this bracket who won't mind you not wearing a suit, but it's very hard to work out who those are. Law is a very, very conservative profession, and it's better to err on the safe side.

As others have said, use accessories if you want to make a statement (and it is quite nice to be easy to remember!). A silk scarf, or a bold but tasteful necklace, tend to work well.

RibenaBerry Wed 12-Aug-09 14:22:49

For City/large regional firms, a suit. Absolutely and categorically. There are some firms in this bracket who won't mind you not wearing a suit, but it's very hard to work out who those are. Law is a very, very conservative profession, and it's better to err on the safe side.

As others have said, use accessories if you want to make a statement (and it is quite nice to be easy to remember!). A silk scarf, or a bold but tasteful necklace, tend to work well.

dancingqueeen Wed 12-Aug-09 14:33:11

Would back up what RibenaBerry said, and think a skirt suit or trouser suit is the best bet really, with a plainish top or shirt. definitely take a suit jacket if possible.

I would agree that smart shoes and a good bag (both black, probably) really make a difference too. They don't need to be expensive, just smart and polished looking. oh, and an umbrella is always handy!!

as you said, it really does make a difference. not only because of the impression it gives the interviewer, but also (I found) because it helps you to feel confident and professional if you feel you look good and look smart. It is a lovely thing you are thinking of doing to help your neice, I know that I performed best at interviews when I felt I looked the part.

I looked at the firms websites for photos of people, to get a guage for how people dressed at the firm.

fridayschild Wed 12-Aug-09 18:39:52

I agree with wonderingwondering and Ribenaberry - the interview outfit has to have a jacket to make it into a suit. A dress on its own won't do. And for most law firms, conservative dressing is not wrong, so tights rather than bare legs.

Ignore your DP. The intelligence is assumed, to a certain extent, given the degree and the university. The interviewer will be thinking, can we walk you into a meeting tomorrow and charge over £100 an hour for that? Since trainees don't say much at meetings, they need to look as if they are professional to justify the fees.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now