Every interview is different
In general, chambers try to ensure that candidates are all asked the same set of questions – usually a debate question and then some personal ones.
Some interviews will be 20% debate topic, 80% about you. Others won’t ask you anything about yourself, instead focusing on debate questions. Some will expect you to have knowledge not only of current legal events but world events. Others will expect you to know about the report that came out only days before the interview, and for you to be able to discuss it at length etc. Most, but not all, will ask questions about ethics. Some commercial/civil sets might give you problem questions a few days before to discuss at interview. These are just some of the differences in interview questions that can come up – and this is between chambers that do the same kind of work!
You have to be ready for anything
Equally, what chambers are looking for and the responses to your answers will be different each time. The same type of advocacy exercise and performance can often be assessed differently depending on the panel. Same with the answers you give to standard questions. Even if you are asked exactly the same debate question at every chambers you interview at, the follow up questions will always be different and usually will be the ones you were least expecting.
Furthermore, the atmosphere in the room, the pace of questioning, the interviewer’s personalities etc. will all be different at each chambers you visit. Be sharp, be attentive and be your best self.
Going one step further
Before your interview, especially for final rounds, have another glance at chambers’ website. Look at members of chambers for the practice areas that you’re interested in and see if there are any links on their page to recent cases or blogs etc.
DO NOT use this to ‘drop in’ something relevant and specific to the interviewer – this tends to backfire. The point of this exercise is to make you feel comfortable when you walk into the room; recognising people from their profile photos should make you relax just a little.
Things can also change from year to year. Don’t assume that the process at a particular chambers will be the same as before – if nothing else, the panel will be different and that may well affect how the interview is conducted and/or how you experience it.
If you follow the tips on this website, you will be well-prepared!
When all else fails, try to keep a sense of humour about it:
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