1. What are your greatest weaknesses as Personal Legal Adviser?

The interviewer is trying to gauge your self-awareness. We all have weaknesses so it's best not to say you don't have any. Avoid using the word ‘weakness' and instead talk about an ‘area for improvement' that is not vital for the job, or specify a ‘challenge' that you are working to overcome. Demonstrating a willingness to develop yourself and face challenges turns the answer into a positive.

2. Tell me how do you respond to working under pressure?

The interviewer wants to see that you have composure, problem solving skills and can stay focused in difficult conditions. Give an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation (not caused by you) and how you handled it with poise. Describe the context, how you approached the situation, the actions you took and the positive outcome. Demonstrate how you remained calm, in control and got the job done.

As an applicant, the main thing to remember is that all recruiters are looking for is someone who is a good fit for the role. So pretending you have certain attributes to try and get a job… won't suit either you or the employer long-term.

3. Explain me about an accomplishment you are proud of?

Competency questions like this can be difficult as they rely on your ability to tell a story. "For example, 'Oh, I saved £125,000 of costs in my last role' is of no value as there's no context," says Gregory. "As with any story, you need a beginning, a middle and an end."

The Star technique (situation, task, action, result) is a good way to structure your answer if you're having trouble making your answer flow.

As a general rule, start by describing the scale of the challenge you faced. "This is your opportunity to grab their attention. The middle of the story needs to focus on what you had to endure in order to make progress. The greater your struggle and the barriers you had to overcome, the more impressive your story will seem. "The end may be short – 'I achieved X, Y and Z' – but extend it to include what you learned that will help you in the future."

4. Tell me what are your weak points?

Focus on a past weakness and how you overcame it. Another approach is to give one that is really a positive in disguise, but beware of clichés such as ‘I'm a bit of a perfectionist'.

5. Where do you hope to be in five years?

The best answer is one that will reassure the interviewer that you are looking to make a long-term commitment.

6. What kind of animal are you?

The interviewer is looking for quick and snappy thinking as well as how you see yourself. Focus on the positive and make sure the qualities you talk about align to the job.

7. Tell me what other costs might I incur?

Just because a lawyer gives you a great hourly rate doesn't mean you will get off cheaply. You might pay $1 per photocopy, $5 to receive a fax, or pay inflated tabs for secretarial work.

Lawyers really aren't supposed to profit on costs, but many do. They build depreciation, secretarial time, and anything they can think of into charges for using the copier, for instance; you could pay a lot more than the two-cents-per-page charge from the corner office supply store.

8. Explain me how do you work with clients?

You want contact when it's necessary, so ask when the advisor typically finds it important to call or meet with a client, and what circumstances drive those meetings. By establishing how often and under what circumstances you will hear from the lawyer, you can decide whether that contact is sufficient for you to be satisfied.

9. Tell me how will we resolve complaints if I am dissatisfied?

You're not expecting problems, just being realistic. And just because you know how to get out of the arrangement doesn't mean there won't be complaints to settle. That being the case, find out how potential disputes will be settled.

Most state bar associations offer arbitration committees that, for a fee, settle disputes between clients and lawyers (usually over expenses). At the same time, you could resolve those matters in small claims court.

10. Why do you want to work here as Personal Legal Adviser?

The interviewer is trying to gauge your enthusiasm for the role as well as your level of knowledge about the company. Give specific examples of things that attracted you to the company and elaborate on your strengths, achievements and skills and how they match the position description, making you the right fit.

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11. Tell me what did you like/dislike about your last role?

The interviewer is trying to find out your key interests and whether the job on offer has responsibilities you will dislike. Focus on what you particularly enjoyed in your last role and what you learned from it, drawing parallels to the new role. When addressing what you disliked, be conscious not to criticise your last employer. Choose an example that does not reflect on your skills (such as company size) or which reveals a positive trait (such as your dislike for prolonged decision making).

12. Tell me why are you interested in working for [company name]?

Resist the temptation to say "I want a job" – even if it's true, says Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management. "The employer is gauging whether you will take this job if offered and, if so, whether you are likely to stay for any length of time. If you appear ambivalent, they will be reticent about hiring you."

Empty assurances such as "this seems a nice place to work" are unlikely to be enough to reassure them, says Mills. "So do your homework beforehand. Find out things about their products, services, expansion plans, and working culture that appeal to you and which also show you in a good light for the role. For example: 'You've run some great innovative campaigns and I would love to be part of that creative thinking'. Deliver this confidently with good eye contact and energy."

13. Explain me a situation in which you led/worked in a team?

The Star technique is again a good method for answering this question. "A good team leader has to avoid being too bossy. Rather, they need to be great listeners, top-down strategic and knowledgeable about their area," says CV writer and interview coach Victoria McClean. It's therefore important you show these skills in your answer. "You also need to understand your team members' differences and strengths – delegating accordingly - and have ways of communicating their vision. It's about coaxing and mobilising others," she adds.

14. Why should we hire you as Personal Legal Adviser?

Always be ready to answer this question in three parts, advises interview coach Jon Gregory. "First, make it clear that you believe you meet all of the role requirements. Second, back each of these skills up by identifying one or more relevant examples of how you've demonstrated that skill."

Finally, demonstrate you're someone who is proactive and has identified problems or opportunities in the past and then personally took the decisions and actions which led to a successful result.

"By showing you made things happen, you're portraying yourself as a self-starter with a high level of initiative. Few candidates do that well, so you can make the job yours with a great answer."

15. Tell me what is your greatest achievement?

Think of something you are proud of and how it developed you. Highlight the skills it has given you relevant to the job.

16. Tell me how long have you been practicing and in what areas of the law do you specialize?

That's particularly true of law, where one misstep could put you on the wrong side of a judgment. Find out the scope of the practice, whether your current needs are a good fit either for the individual lawyer or the firm. It's not that a patent attorney can't write up a good will, but you might have regrets when someday you discover what years of practicing intellectual property law have done to his skills as an estate-planning attorney.

If a lawyer has several specialties, ask how her workload is divided between those areas of the law. A lawyer might do real estate contracts and estate planning, for example, but her business may be heavily weighted toward the former; if you come in with a complex estate situation, she may not have the depth of experience you want, even though estate planning is supposed to be one of her specialties.

17. Tell me how can I terminate this relationship if I am not satisfied?

Never enter any financial arrangement without knowing how to get out of it. Depending on why you need a lawyer and what kind of agreements you signed, you may just be able to walk away. If, however, a lawyer has invested hours on you and you then pull the plug, expect some charges and possibly some unpleasantness as you head for the door.

18. Tell me what do you know about us as a company?

The interviewer is looking to see if you have performed any research about their business; they are looking to see if you have done more than just view the homepage of their website. Do a Google search on the company and find some interesting information such as awards won or a particular newsworthy article written about them. Look for information that is not on their website - that shows you have gone a little deeper than most people do.

19. Tell me where do you see yourself in five to 10 years' time?

In this question interviewers are looking to assess your long-term planning. The perfect answer depends on your personal aspirations and the job role. A good answer to this question will illustrate a growth in your skills, experience and responsibilities during this period.

To prepare for this question research what a reasonable career path in your role would look like in five years' time. Don't be overambitious as it will look like you are rushing past the first role. Instead, emphasise your enthusiasm for the current position and look to the next steps for building your career.

20. What's the most difficult situation you ever faced in a job?

Prepare ahead for this question by thinking of a story that has a positive ending – both for you and the company.

21. Tell me how are fees charged? How much are your fees and for what are they paid?

With all of the ways lawyers bill clients, you want to know specifically what is involved. You are always entitled to an itemized bill for the lawyer's services, but you would prefer to know in advance how fees are calculated.

Some lawyers are always on the clock, meaning that your call to check with a lawyer on your case sets the clock in motion, as do your few minutes of small talk with the attorney. You do not want to be racking up charges while talking to your attorney about his family. Find out the ground rules for being charged. Will a five-minute phone call show up on your bill, or is that a free part of the lawyer's service? If you are charged, what's the rate going to be? Will you pay to have copies of important papers mailed to you?

22. Tell me how often will I hear from you?

You want to make sure that the lawyer's idea of the appropriate amount of time to spend with you is similar to your own. If you need hand-holding and a call from your attorney every day, then a lawyer who calls only when there is action on the case may not be active enough. This question forges your expectations for the relationship, helping to set a standard that the lawyer will have to meet for you to feel he is living up to his promises.

23. What are your strengths as Personal Legal Adviser?

The interviewer wants to know what you are particularly good at and how this would fit into the role. Choose a few of your key strengths that are required for the role and give examples of how you have demonstrated them successfully in the past. Strengths could include the ability to learn quickly; composure under pressure; ability to multi-task; team focus or your ability to work autonomously.

The interviewer wants to see that you have composure, problem solving skills and can stay focused in difficult conditions. Give an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation (not caused by you) and how you handled it with poise.

24. Please explain me a situation in which you solved a problem?

For this question it's a good idea to think of a fairly recent example and pick a problem that is similar to the challenges you'd face in the job you're interviewing for.

Using the Star technique, start by explaining the task in no more than a few sentences while giving sufficient detail so the interviewer can understand the challenge involved. "Next describe the action you took, the process you followed and the steps you completed, remembering to be clear about the part you played in the result.

"The result is the most important part of your answer as a successful outcome proves that your actions were effective. If possible, detail statistics or figures which highlight the magnitude of your success, mention positive feedback you received and talk about what you learned and how this learning will help you in the job."

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25. Explain some situations in which you have worked under pressure or met deadlines?

Behaviour-related questions aim at assessing how closely you match the competences or personality traits required by the job. Use this opportunity to highlight success from projects, sporting or social activities.