TRAINING CONTRACT INTERVIEW TIPS – For many candidates, interviews or language assessment are the hardest part of the training contract application process. We find that some candidates deal with interviews exceptionally well, while others do not.
To help all those people who will be taking part in interviews or language assessment, we’ve identified some useful interview tips to help you succeed. In no particular order, here are our training contract interview tips:
1. Know practice areas
You don’t need to memorise every department in the firm, but have an idea of what areas of practice the firm specialises in. Is it a full service firm? What are its key departments? How big are the teams? Professing aspirations to practice IP or corporate real estate at interview when the firm doesn’t have those departments will make you appear unprepared.
2. Know deals
Take a look at the legal press for headline-making deals involving the firm. LegalWeek, LegalBusiness, Law360 and other legal publications can be searched for specific firm names and will list high-profile or notable deals that the firm has been involved in. If interesting content is behind a paywall, then look up the deal on the firm’s website for further details. You don’t need to understand the ins and outs of every aspect of the deal. Having an awareness of the firm’s work and why you find it interesting is a way to demonstrate your understanding. It can also be an opportunity to ask questions if you find yourself being interviewed by a team member who worked on a deal you researched.
3. Pick a commercial awareness topic
It’s an unrealistic and overwhelming task to try and have an awareness of everything going on in the world right now. Find topics that genuinely interest you to follow. Focusing on a few key topics will help will talk about your chosen area of interest in depth at interview, rather than talking about many at a superficial level that leaves you open to questions you won’t be able to answer.
4. Keep up to date with current affairs
The best and the convenient way could be reading newspapers thoroughly. Don’t miss any contemporary themes which make news regularly. Keeping an eye on the news has never been easier with the aid of the internet. Financial times, CNN, BCC are great resources.
5. Review your application
Keep your application saved so that you can review it before the interview. Review what you wrote so that you can be prepared to answer questions about it. This will not just be limited to things about the firm – the purpose of an interview is also about getting to know applicants – so hobbies, interests and past work experience are all equally likely to come up at interview.
6. Expect training contract questions you can’t prepare for
Your interview is not an exam. Some of the questions that you will be asked may relate to what the interviewer wants to know about you as an individual. Don’t try to have a well-rehearsed line for every possible question as you will fall apart when asked something that you haven’t prepared for. Sometimes, being open, honest and engaging in a conversation will be the only way to go.
The last thing you should do is sound as if you’re reading from a script. Prepare answers for questions such as ‘What are your strengths/weaknesses?’ by having a few bullet points and knowing roughly what to say, but don’t try to memorise exactly what you will say.
7. Set the right tone as soon as you enter the room
Your interview doesn’t start when the first question is asked – it starts the second you cross the threshold. Smile, exchange pleasantries and maintain a professional manner from the start. There are no second first impressions – aim to knock it out of the park as soon as you arrive.
8. Prepare to be tested…it’s part of the process
Some questions will be hard, but you’ve faced hard questions before. This is your chance to show why you are better than the other candidates, how you prepared more and how you can think on your feet. Be ready, and don’t be fazed!
More tips to be continued. Stay tuned!
Reference: Law Society of Ireland https://www.lawsociety.ie/
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About Mandarin Connection: Founded in Hong Kong, Mandarin Connection has become one of the designated corporate Chinese language training provider for well-known international companies and organizations since 1995. Led by trainers from Beijing Foreign Language University.
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