Interview season is a stressful time for most pupillage applicants but you need to ensure you don’t bury your head in the sand and instead go into your interviews prepared for whatever might be thrown at you. To assist you, Becket Chambers’ pupils have provided some of their top tips from their experiences below:
- Be yourself. Don’t try to act how you think a barrister should act – you need to be relatable and show your personality. Chambers are looking for someone that they can send to meet clients, who will be personable and put their clients at ease. They don’t want somebody who is putting on an act and if you’re successful at interview, a year is a long time to keep that act up for!
- Keep up to date with the latest news. You can do this via news websites, newspapers, articles, blogs, etc but however you choose to do it, be prepared to discuss current topics with your interview panel. This includes recent developments in the areas of law relevant to the chambers at which you are interviewing.
- Whilst we’re on discussions in interviews, be prepared to talk about non-legal topics. Not every answer needs a reasoned argument that cites case law and legislation. Be prepared for questions about yourself or those off the wall questions, such as ‘if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?’. You need to be able to answer these questions just as well as you answer any legal question.
- Dress for the job you want – don’t turn up to your interview in something you wouldn’t wear to court. This seems pretty obvious but be conscious of your choice and keep in mind things such as wearing too much jewellery. Whatever you choose to wear will also need to be comfortable, you might be at your interview for quite a while and you don’t want to be distracted from the task at hand because your shirt is too tight or you can’t move your arms properly in your suit jacket.
- Be prepared for common pupillage questions because it’s a given that certain questions will be asked. These stock answers can be easily adapted to apply to other questions.
- Be confident and remain calm. Chambers needs somebody who they can see that when put under pressure will still be able to perform to the best of their ability. Remain unruffled under questioning and answer as best you can, as whether the answer is right or wrong, the manner in which you answered it is also important.
- Research travel times to the interview, ensure you know the route and will arrive in plenty of time. You don’t want to be late as that will create the wrong first impression and you want to be in the best frame of mine to commence the interview; not be panicking about being late or be overly sweaty from having to run up the hill!