Updated 22 March 2019
In one way you must feel relieved that you have finally secured a training contract interview after probably tons of training contract applications but in another way, you are probably dreading the interview day. Well, fear not, as today we will share with you top training contract tips and advice to help you impress the interviewers.
1. Make a good first impression
You will want to start the interview process on the right foot, so ensure you are dressed suitably, arrive early and importantly know who you are meeting. This will show the interviewer(s) you are reliable and but also hopefully will help you settle your nerves.
2. Be yourself at all times
Being yourself will help you perform better and will show a degree of confidence, something that law firms enjoy seeing in candidates. It is important to remember that training contract interviews are for law firms to get to know you as a person, what makes you different and if you will be a good fit for the firm.
3. Prepare well
One of the main reason people fail the interview is due to lack of or insufficient preparation. As you have made it to the interview, the interviewer(s) will certainly want to discuss in more depth your application, so make sure you remind yourself about the details of your application and you are ready to answer training contract application questions. By going over your application you might also anticipate some elements they might quiz you on and therefore better prepare you to answer these questions. Crucially you must research the firm thoroughly and be ready to put a compelling case why you have chosen this firm over other firms. Equally, make sure you get familiar common training contract interview questions.
4. Remain focused
This is a key part of the law interview process and one that you will almost certainly be judged on. By staying focused it shows the interviewer(s) that you are good at listening and that you are engaged – two must have qualities for any lawyer. Being focused again will show signs of confidence and that you are in control, which will put a smile on interviewer's faces.
5. Display the right body language
During the interview keep in mind your body language. Do not slum or cross your arms and instead sit up in your seat, placing your hands together and resting your wrists on the table. Legal Cheek has recently published a great article on body language tips for training contract interviews.
6 Maintain eye contact at all times
Making lots of eye contact throughout the entire interview process is key. This will show you are focused and engaged. A leading body language expert even claims good eye contact indicated confidence. Ensure you make eye contact with all interviewer(s).
7. Prepare a list of questions to ask
Ensure you ask the interviewer(s) questions as this is your opportunity to learn more about the firm but it will also indicate a clear interest in the firm. Leaving the interview without asking any questions could be fatal. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask at a training contract interview. Research the interviewers and prepare some questions for them. But be warned if you ask obvious questions this is unlikely to set a good impression. The questions must be meaningful and well thought.
8. Name dropping
If you have met anyone from the firm at networking events or other career fairs, do not be afraid to name drop them. This will show solid interest in the firm and that you made the effort to find out more about the firm through available avenues.
9. Be memorable
Remember the interviewing panel will interview hundreds of candidates and the chances are that they will not remember you when it comes to decision making. Be ready to think outside the box and be memorable to interviews. This could be anything from displaying a good sense of humor in the interview to discussing a unique life experience you had. Also always link yourself back to the application in the interview as this will give you a better chance to be remembered by the interviewers.
10. STAR Model
When you are answering competency based questions always use the star technique. Situation, task, activity, and result. Interviewers favor this approach because it allows them to assess your experience objectively and your qualities that make you suitable for the job.
11. End it positively
At the end of the interview make sure you thank the interviewers for taking the time to see you and do shake each interviewer's hand.
As always, we welcome your comments and feel free to share your views and experiences with us while going through training contract interviews. If you found the above tips useful share it on social media with your friends and colleagues.
Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs