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How to make an impression at your Training Contract interview

March 25th, 2014

In anticipation of training contract interviews this week, Andrew King talks to us about what he wants from this year’s applicants.

This year, around 12.5% of the candidates that submitted an application form were offered an interview. From this pool, I will be selecting 6 candidates to advance to the final stage of the recruitment process.

The overall calibre of applicants this year was the highest it has ever been. So, what can the interviewee do to create an impression and increase their chances of progressing?

As I tweeted last week, the biggest tip I can give is for applicants to be confident and be different. You need to stand out from the crowd – I want to know whether the potential is there for today’s trainee solicitor to become tomorrow’s director.

Here are four suggestions to consider when preparing for your training contract interview:

1. If you have made it to the interview stage, take it as a given that I am already impressed with your academic credentials. I am not dismissing how important those achievements are, but focusing your interview answers on your grades offers very little beyond your application form.

2. Avoid ‘stock’ answers. Around three quarters of last year’s interviewees said their biggest weakness was that they were a ‘perfectionist’. Being different helps you to be memorable.

3. I do not expect interviewees to regurgitate paragraphs from our website but you need to demonstrate through your answers that research has been undertaken. If you have made the effort to take time off work for the interview, particularly if you are travelling some distance, there can be no excuse for not taking 15 minutes to remind yourself of why you applied to join us in the first place.

4. We consider the personalities of our staff pivotal to the service we deliver to our clients. This is your chance to show off yours and demonstrate how you would seamlessly fit into the company and help to deliver the values that we stand for.

Not every high street firm will be looking for the same as me from their applicants, however, adopting some of the above tips will stand you in good stead whether you are interviewing with us, or with another high street practice.

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