News & Events


Trainee Talks: 5 tips for acing the training contract interview

The process of applying for a training contract usually has several stages, but the interview is arguably the most important one. Most stages confine you to set questions, topics or formats, but the interview is your chance to say what you want to say to the firm you are applying to.

Having gone through the experience myself, these are my top tips for acing your interview and standing out from the crowd.

Be yourself

This may seem obvious and something you often hear, but it’s very true, and in fact it would be my top tip. If you try to be someone you are not in an interview, you won’t come across as genuine and the interviewer will pick up on this immediately. The firm wants to see your personality, so let it shine through. Remember, it’s about whether you’re a good match with the firm you’re applying to train at, and your personality is a big part of that.


As you embark on the arduous journey of securing a training contract, you should be well prepared to answer the usual competency-based questions but beyond that, you should prepare for the firm you are applying to, specifically. Look at the practice areas the firm works in, as well as the recent press releases, deals the firm has undertaken and the case studies of their clients.  

You could even try to find out who is interviewing you and research them to find out what practice area they work in. Another good tip is to reach out to the current trainees of the firm on LinkedIn and ask them any questions you may have or any advice they can offer.

That being said, it’s also important not to overprepare or you run the risk of your answers coming across as scripted. Try to get a natural conversation flowing through the interview, rather than it being a Q&A session.

Re-read your application

It’s important to make sure your answers in the interview match what you have said in your application and CV. Interviewers also often like to ask you to expand on the answers within your application, so make sure you know what you’ve said!

Ask questions

As part of you preparation, you should always go to an interview armed with some good questions to ask the interviewer. Having an interesting question can be one of the best ways to impress.

Questions should be tailored to the firm that you’re applying to; if you ask something that’s irrelevant to the firm, such as an area that the firm does not practice, it doesn’t look good.

Avoid mundane questions like “what time is lunch?” and instead ask questions that show you’ve researched the firm, such as enquiring as to whether they are looking to expand in a niche practice area, or asking about a recent press release. Also ensure you listen and are engaged in the answer given, and if possible ask follow-up questions.

Sell yourself

This is your chance to sell yourself to the firm. It’s important to be confident, and you want to let your interviewer know about your achievements. Don’t just focus on your academic achievements, but think about other things that you are proud of, whether that be sports, charity or anything else you get involved in.

For many candidates, the interview is the hardest part of the training contract application process, but if you’ve made it to the interview stage you’re most of the way there, and the firm have been impressed by you so far. Don’t think of it as a test, but as an opportunity.

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

Get in touch

Talk to us about your legal challenges and discover how our expert, pragmatic legal advice and broad commercial acumen can help.