General interview preparation – what is the best way to prepare for your assessment day?

Preparing for an interview can be both exciting and overwhelming. As it can be difficult to reach the assessment centre stage, getting this far shows you should be confident in your abilities.

Now that the interview you have been waiting for has arrived, do not fear and see the helpful tips below to find the best way to prepare for your assessment day at Michelmores.

Research

It is imperative to thoroughly carry out your research prior to attending the Michelmores assessment day. You should consider the areas of law that Michelmores specialise and ensure you are in a position to discuss any recent deals/cases/articles that have intrigued you.

By researching trainee experiences and the firm's expertise and knowledge, you can make a note of why Michelmores' training contract is attractive to you. Think about why you possess the requisite skills to make a great trainee solicitor. You may find that the friendly culture at Michelmores appeals to you, or that the diversity and inclusion initiatives resonate with your own values. These things will evidence why you believe the Firm is the right fit for you - always remember to avoid generic answers. As always, commercial awareness is key – please see our previous blog here by fellow trainee Luke for further on that topic.

Think about where certain departments sit in terms of their expertise and knowledge in the legal sector. Michelmores' website, the Legal 500, and Chambers Guides may be a helpful introduction to guide to you.

Develop and reflect from previous feedback

Reflect on any feedback you have received from previous assessment centres or other roles at work or at university. For example, if you have been told you speak too quickly when you are nervous, practise slowing down and highlighting your points clearly.

Practise

Think about what questions might come up. Try to incorporate the following:

  1. give thoughtful examples of how your skills meet the expectations of a trainee at Michelmores;
  2. avoid reciting rehearsed scripts to avoid seeming unnatural and ensure to address the question you have been asked; and
  3. prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. You will be told who is interviewing you in advance, so you can try to make your questions applicable to the person interviewing you.

Be confident

You have made it through to the assessment day, this is very impressive in itself! Be confident in your ability to answer any questions. If you have not heard the question, ask the interviewer if they can repeat the question. Feel free to take a pause if you need a moment to fully understand the question before answering.

By trying to connect with the interviewer, you can show a more personal side. While you need to be professional, you should try to relax and show what makes you a unique candidate. Michelmores is interested in people as well as lawyers, so interviewers appreciate hearing about any hobbies/skills you may have. A key skill as a lawyer is to be able to work well with clients and colleagues alike, so don't be afraid to show your personality!

Practical tips

Setting up for the virtual assessment day will make you feel more relaxed and give you less things to worry about during the interview process. Here are some practical tips to consider:

  1. test your equipment before the assessment day;
  2. make sure your laptop and phone are charged or plugged in. IT issues can happen to anyone but as long as you have tried to mitigate any risk of this happening it will be understood if your Wi-Fi disconnects, or you have a power cut;
  3. set up your laptop to use a blurred and clear background with minimal distractions;
  4. read the material you have been given by Michelmores beforehand. You may be asked to prepare for scenario-based questions rather than competency-based questions; and
  5. dress appropriately.

Good luck with your interview at the assessment day. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at Lucy.Atkinson@michelmores.com.