6 typical vacation scheme interview questions
Here are some questions which recruiters will typically ask you during an interview for a vacation scheme, and some of the ways you could prepare to answer them.
Any interview can seem like a nerve-wracking experience, even more so in the case of the vacation schemes which are all-important for your legal training. You’ll know that as you enter the final years of your degree, That said, the best thing you can do is to prepare the questions that are most likely to come up.
Bear in mind that it’s also a good idea to come prepared with some questions of your own.
Why did you choose to study law?
This can be a difficult one to answer, but the recruiter will simply want to hear a few reasons as to why you were interested enough in law to study it at university. For instance, you could pick out a particular famous case that you were interested in, or a specific aspect of the job that you’d like to enter.
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as long as you’re able to convey to the person opposite you that you have a genuine interest in law - they’ll want to take on someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing, as they’re the ones who will be likely to stay in the long run and be an asset to the firm in the future.
Which news stories have recently caught your attention?
Other than showing that you’re clued up on current affairs, having a handful of recent news stories to talk about in your interview will give an idea of what practice areas you’re interested in. It’s a good idea to look up the areas the firm specialises in beforehand so you can link it back to them when discussing your story.
Showing that you’ve done your research and not simply produced another identikit application will underline your motivation to the interviewer. It will help narrow down your interests within the various areas of legal practice - whether that be corporate, commercial or banking.
What are your weaknesses?
These are the questions that will come up in any interview, whatever the field of work that you go into in the future. As with any answer involving weaknesses, you’ll need to pick out something that’s not too damning but not too self-flattering either. As well as this, you’ll be expecting to develop and talk about an experience where you overcame this weakness - this can be in a past professional role or at university, for instance.
What can you contribute to the firm?
This question will be another opportunity to show that you’ve researched the company beforehand and understand the tasks of a legal firm in general. You should bring up any past experience where you’ve demonstrated skills that would be suitable for the legal profession: reliability, creativity, and good time management as well as your technical knowledge.
Case study-specific questions
Over the course of the vacation scheme you’ll be led to work on a range of different projects to provide you with insight into different aspects of legal practice. A case might be presented to you in the interview and you’ll be asked to discuss it.
In some instances you might have been asked to prepare a report on it beforehand, so it’s important that you make sure you’ve analysed it concisely and are able to answer specific questions on it. This will also be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your communication skills, both oral and written, which are an important aspect of legal work.
The recruiter will also be interested in seeing how you can put into practice your technical knowledge in order to find solutions for the hypothetical client as well as the potential conflicts and benefits of implementing said solutions.
Situational judgement questions
This is another interview classic which is guaranteed to come up in any sector. The recruiter will present you with different scenarios pertaining to the legal profession, asking you how you would react or solve the problem at hand. These questions might touch on aspects of group work or of client-facing situations.
In this same vein, you could be prompted to give an example of a situation where you had to deal with a certain difficulty - for instance, a time when you had to work under pressure, or when you had to work with a difficult client. Just as with a question on an application form, you can make reference to an anecdote from work experience or from your university work.
Where can I apply for a vacation scheme?
If you’re looking for a vacation scheme to get a head start in the legal profession, you can check out the jobs section of our website for the latest openings!