How to Show Personal and Professional Development in the Interview

In our previous blog post, we discussed how you should “Answer These Two Questions to Boost Your Interview Success.”

In that post, we determined that the interviewer will assess you on both a personal and a professional front. However, what specific things can you do to show your development in those areas during the interview?

Showing Personal Development

Your personality in an interview can manifest itself in every little detail, but don’t let this stress you out. Otherwise, your anxiety and nervousness will show.

Remember to stay focused and calm, and follow the following five guidelines for displaying positive energy and enhancing your personal development.

  1. Be slightly relaxed and let your shoulders down, not right up by your neck.
  2. Sit up straight and on the edge of your chair; don’t cross your legs or arms.
  3. Do not lay your arms on the table, and do not look down at your lap.
  4. Keep eye contact with a soft look on your face, and smile often!
  5. Use positive language to show your energy and optimism.

You may not know everything the interviewer asks, but this is a great opportunity to show your personal side, especially your desire to learn and contribute as much value as possible.

Showing Professional Development

There are two main components in this area: research and practice. Below are four tips for conducting research prior to the interview.

  1. Research the job: the skills, tasks, and work style of the job.
  2. Research the employer: its products and services, the culture, and its unique qualities.
  3. Research the industry: recent developments and trends in the industry and how these developments will affect the employer.
  4. Compile relevant skills, experiences, and knowledge related to the job.

Practice is also key. Be able to describe a situation, the task at hand, what you did, and then the result. Practice what you are going to say by looking at yourself in a mirror and saying it. Say it again in the shower. Say it again before you go to sleep.

Be explicit and concise and emphasize the skills and topics that relate most to the job for which you are applying. Then practice some more.

Dress: Where Personal and Professional Collide

When it comes to dress, put aside personal preferences (for the time being) and err on the side of dressing better than what you think is necessary.

  • For men, this means a well-fitted black, navy, or grey suit with a white-collared shirt, over-the-calf socks, a moderate to conservative tie, and neat hair.
  • For women, this means a dark suit (pants are also okay), a white or soft-colored blouse, neutral or dark stockings, short to medium heels or flats, and under-control hair.

A professional appearance signals that you are focused and ready to work, respectful of the interviewer’s time, and you will take the job seriously.

And that’s what it takes to ace the interview and get an offer of employment.

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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