By Matt Oliver
Knowing these common questions likely to be asked at a training contract interview will help you prepare in the most effective way, and then impress the interviewers.
In this article, I will set out the most common questions asked at interviews.
I will also explain why preparing for them is so important to your chances of success.
The Common Training Contract Interview Questions
In my experience of interview coaching candidates over the years the following questions come up time and time again in some form or another:
- Why do you want to pursue a career in law?
- Why have you applied to do a training contract with us?
- What do you know about the work this firm does and its clients?
- What business challenges does this firm face?
- What business opportunities are available to this firm?
- What are your 3 key strengths/weaknesses?
- Tell me a bit about [INSERT NAME OF ANY OF YOUR EXPERIENCES/ACTIVITIES]
- What are your main interests and activities?
- What has been your greatest achievement in your life so far and why?
- Which recent news story has interested you and why?
Why Preparing For Them Is So Important
Being able to provide solid answers to these specific questions, or close variants of them, is often the difference between success and failure at interview. Preparation is the foundation for these solid answers.
Preparing for these questions also increases your self-awareness, improves your communication and helps to calm your nerves.
Solid preparation for these specific questions will increase your self-awareness around the most critical areas interviewers will be wanting to assess.
With the focus of your core preparation on these critical areas this will also help you provide strong answers to a host of other potential questions. For example, by spending time preparing for the question “What are your 3 key strengths?” you will be able to adapt this for any competency style questions which give you the opportunity to discuss one or more of those key strengths.
Investing the time in your preparation to increase your self-awareness around these critical areas is how you will begin to set yourself apart from others candidates.
Clearly, to receive the job offer, this is what you are going to have to do.
The better prepared you are for these specific questions, and more broadly around these critical areas, the less likely your interview answers will come across as jumbled and confused.
This is a common problem for unsuccessful candidates.
Good preparation will help you to structure this key information in your mind and to be able to recall it more easily for your answers.
It’s noticeable when candidates have done this preparation well because their answers come across as clear, concise, fluent and convincing. These are exactly the kind of communication skills any good lawyer needs to have so demonstrating them will score you points with the interviewers.
Helps Calm Nerves
It’s a fact that everybody has nerves when they attend an interview (no matter what they might say).
It might not feel like it but they are actually a good thing as that shot of nervous adrenalin makes you sharp and focused.
However, its those who let nerves get the better of them who struggle at interview.
Knowing you have prepared solid answers to these common questions will help to calm your nerves. Similarly, being prepared to talk around these critical areas in response to a variety of potential questions will give you much more confidence and keep your nerves even more under control.
Failing to Prepare is Preparing To Fail
So, its over to you now….
Will you do some unfocused interview preparation and seek to prepare answers to a long list of questions? Will you then limp through your interview as if each question you haven’t specifically scripted an answer for is completely new to you?
Or will you consider in advance what the interviewers are going to be most interested in, prepare accordingly and therefore be confident answering most questions thrown at you?
You’d be surprised how many interviewees fall into the first camp….
And I know which interviewee I would offer the training contract to!
Assessment Centre Advice
If you’re facing an Assessment Centre as part of the interview process you must know what to expect and have practiced some of the tests and exercises you may be given. For everything you need to know to succeed at law firm Assessment Centres check out our blog post series: TSS Assessment Centre Clinic.