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How to Prepare for a Training Contract Interview – Whiteboard Wednesday

Transcript - How You Can Prepare for a Training Contract Interview

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of Whiteboard Wednesday.

Today, I'm going to be talking about - how you can prepare for a training contract interview.

Now, the challenge with preparing for a training contract interview is that you never really know the questions you'll get asked.

Different law firms will ask different questions, but I think there are three key themes to all the questions that you'll be asked at a training contract interview.

Even though you might not know the specific questions, I'm going to go through the three main themes, which will help you to predict some of the questions that you might be asked.

Questions About You

The first one is ‘you’. So questions about you - you as a person, what your motivations are. Now, these questions tend to be something like, "Can you run through your CV?”, “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you want to be a lawyer?”, “Why do you want to be a commercial lawyer?"

Motivational based questions. These are all about you. The law firm wants to know about you. "Why do you want to work for this firm?" But importantly, the situational-based questions that you'll commonly be asked in interview will fall into this category.

Now, what I mean by situational-based questions is a law firm will try to understand how good you are at certain things by looking at examples that you give or examples that you provide. So teamwork questions, motivation questions, determination questions. They will usually fall into situational-based questions and you can always spot a situational-based question because it will usually start with, "Tell me about a time when..."

So tell me about a time when you worked with other people to achieve a common goal. Okay, so a teamwork question and pretty sure you know this, but the way to answer these is using the STAR technique: Situation, task, action, result.

You'll also have some career ambition questions, which will fall into this category, and commercial awareness questions, as well. So these are all about you. So that's the first theme.

Questions About the Profession

The second one is about the profession. So not the law firm, the legal profession, the legal sector. So I think most interviewers will want to know that you've looked around the profession, you understand the sector, you understand what you're getting into. So they might ask questions like, "What challenges do you think the legal sector faces? What will the legal sector look like in the next 20 years? You know, what do lawyers do?"

Not specific to the firm but just generally “what do you think lawyers do?” , "What skills do you think trainees need?" These will all fall into this category here - questions about the profession. Do you know what the profession is about?

Questions About the Firm

And then the third category is the firm, and most firms will ask a lot of questions under this section. So they might ask about the firm's strategy: they might ask you questions about the firm's business model.

So it might be worth doing something like a SWOT analysis before you do an interview. Really try to understand what the law firm's strengths are, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

You could also look at the history of the firm. It's also worth brushing up on recent deals, matters, transactions. Law firms often ask those types of questions to candidates and maybe questions about the firm's culture, as well. So what do you understand about the firm?

As much as the actual questions that you get asked at an interview and a training contract interview can be quite difficult to predict, I think they will fall into these three categories - questions about you, questions about the profession, and questions about the firm.

My advice is when you are preparing for an interview, try and have answers to questions that you think will fall into these categories and I think that's good advice.

I hope you found that useful. Thank you very much for watching. If you have any comments, just type them into the box below this video and I will see you next time. Thank you very much.

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