Updated 3 March 2019
A training contract interview is probably one of the toughest interviews you will encounter. To maximize your chances of successfully passing the interview you will need to prepare yourself thoroughly. Here are the most common questions you are likely to encounter and how to answer training contract questions.
1. Motivations for a career in law
Remember firms invest a lot of money into trainee solicitors, so it is hardly surprising they will only invest in those who can demonstrate compelling motives and a genuine commitment to a career in law. In your answers, you will need to be clear exactly what has attracted you to being a solicitor and showcase relevant examples preferably from legal work experience. Also, be sure to know the core skills required by a commercial lawyer. This is our take on some common questions that may come up:
2. Know your application
The training contract interview presents an opportunity for the firm to ask or clarify any points on your application but also for you to expand on your answers. If you know your application well enough question related to this should arguably be the easiest to answer. Do not leave out any sections in your application as you never know what topic may come up. Here are some questions that could come up:
3. Competence questions
Solicitors are required to be flexible and able to adapt to different situations. Competency-based questions are precisely designed to see how you react in certain situations and what skills you have to overcome such scenarios. We recommend when answering a competency-based to use the STAR technique, which is situation, task, activity, and result. Here are some questions that you may encounter:
4. Be up to date to business news
Aside from being legal advisors, solicitors are also business advisors to their clients as they often advise on business impacts as a result of industry trends and changes. You will need to be prepared to discuss one or two recent trends or developments and you can keep up to date with this by following the firm's Linkedin page where often they post related articles. Below is our pick of questions you may be asked but do also take a look at The Corporate Law Academy comprehensive list.
5. Character & personality checks
As with any other jobs, law firms will only recruit trainees that they believe their character and personality will fit in with the firm's culture. These questions are about you as an individual, so there is not a great deal of preparation you can do other than preparing for some of the most common questions as set out below:
To summarise, you only need to focus on a few areas as noted above when preparing for the interview. If you prepare well enough and get them right it will not go unnoticed with the hiring partner. We would also highly recommend you check the forum at Glassdoor UK for further topical training contract interview questions.
What's the trickest training contract interview question you were asked? Please feel free to share it below and I will comment accordingly.
Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs