It is well known that the application process for training contracts is difficult to navigate and made to challenge applicants. So it is important to be well prepared if you are selected for a coveted interview. No matter what level of firm you are applying to, the following questions will give you a head start to preparing for that all important interview. There are also key tips to set you in the right direction so you can walk into the interview room with the confidence to present your best self.
Frequently Asked Candidate Questions
The following questions are ones that are commonly asked in interviews. Most firms will pose these or a similar form of these questions and therefore common mistakes can be made.
- What attracted you to the legal profession?
- Tell us about an occasion when you had to tackle a difficult situation? How did you handle it?
- Describe how you decided which law firms to apply for training contracts?
- What abilities do you need to develop in order to make you a successful lawyer?
- How do your extra-curricular activities fit around your studies?
- Tell us about a challenging moment and how you overcame it?
- What business related matter have you been following in the press? What are your views on this matter?
- What makes you stand out from the (many) other candidates?
They are designed to test you but the questions are also for the interviews to gain a better understanding of you as a person. Be honest but use the questions to provide an answer which highlights what skills and attributes you have that the firm is looking for in their trainees.
Other things to consider
- Prepare thoroughly by reading through your application and the answers you gave. Try and pick up on points that the interviewer might ask you about. Put yourself in the interviewers shoes, try to anticipate what they might pick up on as well as areas in your application they will challenge you on.
- Research and understand the firm. Read up on what they have recently been involved in. Check their news section on their websites for recent deals and activities within the firm.
- Maximise your work experience history. Use your experiences to demonstrate your strengths as well as what you understand about business, time management, communication and even how you may have developed from your time working.
Think about your answers- Prepare your answers ahead of time as best you can. There may be questions that you may not have anticipated so if you need a moment to think about the question posed to you, tell the interviewer. Don’t do this for every question but if you genuinely need moment, your interviewer will appreciate a considered and thought out answer rather than one that is rushed.
Manners– How you act is just as important as what you say in interviews. Be polite, plus a good handshake and a smile can go a long way.
Stay calm -Interviews can feel nerve-raking but remember that you have been chosen to be there. They want you to do well; you just have to prove them right. Take a deep breath and take bottle of water with you. If you need to go and have a quiet moment before the interview do so, empty corridors but also toilets (trust me) are great to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
Be yourself -It is important to be yourself and demonstrate confidence in who you are and what you are hoping to achieve in your career, as well as what you are looking for from the firm(s) you have applied to. In the end it is finding the place that is right for both you and for the firm.
Ask questions – Be prepared to ask a few questions, but ensure it is not a question that could be answered simply by viewing the firm’s web page or their material.
As a final note, interviews are tough and are meant to be. Whether you move on to the next phase or not, each experience should influence and enhance the next one that comes along. The advice above is to help you on your way and is a starting point, how you go about fully preparing is down to you.