The Paralegal Job Interview: Top 7 Behavioral Based Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

paralegal job interview questions

Are you ready for your paralegal job interview?  Knowing what type of questions that will be asked ahead of time is key. The behavioral interview is a tool that a potential employer will use to assess your work style.  Behavioral interviewing is based on the assumption that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Behavioral interview questions focus on how you handled various work situations in the past and how you responded. Your responses display your skills, abilities, and personality and how you may fit for a specific job.

Per LinkedIn, behavioral interview questions are the top tool hiring managers use to evaluate soft skills - those important traits such as leadership, teamwork, and prioritization. More than 60% of hiring managers say that soft skills are critical, but tough to find. So, it makes sense hiring managers will be asking you behavioral based paralegal job interview questions to see if you are a fit for their company.

Here are our top Paralegal Job Interview behavioral based questions  you should be prepared to answer...

Have you gone above and beyond your job description? If so, how?

Law firms are not looking for average paralegals, they are looking for exemplary paralegals. You need to add value to your employer, so be prepared with specific stories about doing whatever it takes to not just get the job done, but how you have gone above and beyond. Make sure you share a story that clearly illustrates your abilities to put forth an extra effort.

Give an example of how you prioritize your work schedule.

No law firm wants to hire paralegals who do not know how to manage their time and meet deadlines. After all, it's one of, if not the most important skill paralegals have, Come up with examples of when you've managed your time efficiently or coped with competing deadlines. Explain how you budget your time throughout the work day, and explain why it works for maximum productivity. 

Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it?

This question is in line with the traditional question, where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you want to grow with a law firm, you first need goals and then you need to figure out a way to meet them. If you have not been promoted or accomplished a milestone, think about small successes. For example, if you had the goal of completing an important trial exhibit that worked very well, tell how you did it.

Did you ever not meet your goals? Why?

It is hard to talk about when you did not meet your goals and this seems contraindicatory to getting a job. Many of us have had  goals and  have met them. However, at some point many paralegals are disappointed when a goal was not attained. It could be as simple as, not obtaining a certification, or being a paralegal manager by a specific timeline. When answering these paralegal job interview questions, make sure you do not blame others as to why you have not met specific goals. Show goals that point out you have career ambition and are a hard worker. Also talk about how you have not given up and plan on still obtaining those goals.

Give an example of how you worked well on a team?

Most paralegal jobs in larger firms require working in a team or collaborating with others at work on a case, so being prepared to talk about your teamwork skills and how well you work with a team is critical. How did you work with others?  What types of projects did you collaborate on?
What were your specific contributions to the team? 

What do you do if you disagree with a co-worker?

This question is designed to see how you handle conflict. Conflict can show up at any time and law firms want to hire paralegals that handle conflict well.  Try to come up with a situation where you ended up working out the problem with the co-worker, which was best for the law firm.  Perhaps you were able to diffuse an angry client, or settle a dispute with a vendor. 

Have you handled a difficult situation with a supervisor? How?

This question is a little trickier than the last, because it is a supervisor, HR manager or an attorney that you have the conflict with. Conflict can be as simple as not agreeing with a work bonus, missed deadline, or how to handle a difficult client. When handling a difficult situation with a boss mention the traits or past experiences that you depended on to work past the difficulty or conflict. Tell the interviewer about the strategies that you used to address the issue. Share what you learned about handling disputes or other problems with your superiors. Make sure you never criticize others that you have worked for or disparage other firms.

Whenever you are looking for a new paralegal job you need to prepare. Although you do not know exactly what a hiring manager is going to ask, there are typical paralegal job interview questions that give hiring managers the answers they are looking for. Prepare for traditional interview questions and behavioral interview questions and you are on your way to a having a great interview. 

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