On the day of your interview there is nothing worse than not being able to find the details of where you need to be and at what time. Make a checklist of all the things you need to do and know before the day of the interview, such as where the office is located, how to get there, what to wear, who to ask for on arrival, etc. If all goes to plan, having the answers to these question will increase the likelihood of you arriving at the office cool, calm, collected and ready to make a good impression.
Do your research
Some of the inevitable questions you will be asked in your interview will revolve around why you made an application to the Firm and why you are interested in a legal career. Before the interview you should look again at the research you prepared when you were filling in your application form and ask yourself: What was it about this Firm that really attracted me? How is it different to other firms? What are its key practice groups? What deals have they done recently that I found particularly interesting? Also think about what aspects of the trainee programme appeal to you and, as a trainee, what tasks you will be asked to do typically. When you have thought about these questions in depth, prepare the answers. A genuine interest is what interviewers want to hear, not a formulated answer that sounds as if you have learned it word for word.
If your plan goes well, you should arrive on time, look smart and be ready to walk into the interview room with confidence. Smile as you greet your interviewers and give a firm handshake. Be positive, enthusiastic and maintain eye contact with the interviewers throughout.
Answer questions in a clear and succinct manner
If you do not understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat it or provide clarification. Think about the question before giving an answer; do not jump in with the first thing that comes into your head. Utilise the research you prepared before the interview and, if necessary, give examples to back up your statements. Think about the skills you have learned and developed over the years. Show how they can be transferred to your role as a trainee. Be sure to sell yourself. There is no one else who can do this for you in the interview.
Your turn to ask questions
An interview is a two-way process. It is important that your questions are answered so that you can see if this is the type of firm you want to join to build your career. Do not simply ask the questions you think the firm will want to hear. Instead, think about what you need to know in order to make an informed decision. Was there anything in the brochure, on a website or in the press that you would like to be clarified?
Be sure to leave the room in the same manner you entered it, that is with a smile, good eye contact and a firm handshake. Remember to thank the interviewers for their time.