As we continue to steam towards Christmas at a frightening pace and with Lord Sugar gracing our screens each Wednesday, I have decided to use this blog post to discuss one of the final hurdles to obtaining a Training Contract, the much dreaded interview.
In my experience it is all too easy to put off thinking about interviews and focus more on completing application forms. This can lead to a bit of a panic when the letter inviting you to an interview arrives. As with most things, it pays to fully prepare for what is to come.
My fellow trainee Chris and I were delighted to be given the opportunity to attend a mock interview day at Anglia Ruskin University recently where we interviewed a number of students and hopefully gave them an insight into what they can expect to experience in future.
As with most things, interviews get easier with experience, but that is unlikely to be of much comfort when you get your first interview invitation and it is at your dream firm. This is where your preparation will pay off. Speak to almost any lawyer and they will tell you that they were asked at interview why they wanted to be a lawyer; as you can be fairly certain that you will be posed this question (or a variant) you can already begin to prepare an answer. Preparing an answer will help reduce hesitation in interview and may well reduce your nerves as you can be confident of a good answer to at least one question.
A potential downside of pre-prepared answers is that they can at times come across as scripted. Such a problem can be avoided by getting as much practice in as possible. It may be worth checking to see if your university careers service runs a similar scheme to the event Chris and I attended. Any experience of being interviewed by people who have been successful at such interviews should be warmly welcomed. You may also be able to persuade a mentor or colleague to help you out. I was lucky enough to have a mentor who spent a lot of time honing my skills and giving me useful tips.
The other important part of your interview preparation is to consider the firm and tailor your approach to them. Check their website and see if any new articles or blogs have been posted. If they have, take note – you may be able to reference them in your answers. You should also familiarise yourself with any recent updates or developments in areas of law the firm is involved with. If the firm do any legal aid work, for example, you should be able to discuss the current issues in that area.
No matter what stage you are at in your legal career it always helps to maintain a good interview technique.