Since joining Leap29, I have focused on the Hong Kong legal market and have had many questions from candidates regarding the interview process with my Magic Circle, White Shoe and top tier law firm clients.
I have put together an overview of how to prepare for an interview and what to expect after, for those looking to find a new opportunity in the fast-paced Hong Kong legal sector:
Preparation is the key to success and this is no different when it comes to interviewing for your dream job in Hong Kong. I would advise candidates to learn about the background of the firm and hiring partner. This is a simple tip, which will make sure that you appear knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the firm. Hong Kong is a competitive market so making sure you stand out from the crowd is vital!
Similarly, if you are meeting with an associate, managing associate or counsel during the early interview stages, researching the work they have recently been part of will allow you to tailor your preparation and make it easier to predict the interview questions, giving you a better chance of success. Your recruiter should be able to provide you with the names, and possibly even profiles, of the people you will meet with. Using this as a starting point will give you the chance to explore how the firm presents themselves along with finding industry material relevant for your interviewers.
There is often a level of flexibility regarding the time and location of interviews, with many firms taking part in Skype or video interviews with candidates who are not in Hong Kong or who have a busy schedule.
First stage interviews provide the chance for the firm and candidate to get to know each other and may include meeting a member of HR, an associate or a managing associate. You may also meet with one or two partners at this stage but this is more typical for the second and third stage interviews where you will discuss the role and experience at a more detailed, technical level.
Language skills are a big part of working in Hong Kong, as it is often a key requirement for candidates to speak and write fluent Mandarin and English along with other regional dialects. Understandably, many of my top tier clients want to make sure candidates have the appropriate skills and ability to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues. Even if you speak native Cantonese or Mandarin, you may wish to brush up on technical terms and make sure you are prepared to take a translation or drafting exercise if the firm includes this element in their interview process. This will typically last an hour and is likely to come before or after the first stage interview.
The interview process in Hong Kong can move at varying speeds. You may not hear back from the firm or recruiter for several days; however, this does not mean you have not been successful! Urgent business trips, meetings and even public holidays can all increase the time between the interview and receiving feedback.
Hiring a new team member can involve internal discussions at several levels which can take time to arrange. A good recruiter will keep you updated even if it is just to let you know that there has been no update at all!
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