Preparing for a strengths-based interview
Strengths-based interviews are a fantastic way to demonstrate what you are good at and what you enjoy. Learn more from our top tips!
Tips for preparing
Identify your core strengths and consider how these strengths are relevant for the role of a trainee solicitor.
Do any of your strengths align with DWF e.g. with the DWF values or strategy? If so, we want to hear about it!
Try not to overthink what we are asking you. Instead, listen carefully to the questions and answer in a relaxed and authentic manner.
Consider how you deliver your response. Are you answering the question you are being asked, or morphing in to a more familiar, competency style interview?
Remember, that there are no right or wrong answers! Your strengths are personal to you.
Research DWF and articulate your interest in DWF – why would you want to start your career at DWF?
Remember to brush up on your commercial awareness! Consider areas in particular which would be relevant to DWF.
Ready to practice?
Try our multiple choice quiz and receive feedback on your responses!
As a trainee solicitor, you would undertake four six-month seat rotations. How will you feel about commencing a new seat?
I would be comfortable about moving seats as I've had a couple of paralegal roles where I have worked in a company for 6-12 months at a time. This is similar to a training contract so I would be fine.
As someone who doesn't enjoy change, I would feel nervous at the prospect of changing seats each six months. However it is part of the training contract so I will do what it takes as it's my goal to become a qualified solicitor.
I would be energised at the prospect of a new seat. Each new seat will provide another opportunity to gain expertise in an area that I haven't had exposure to yet, which may end up being the area that I qualify into. It would feel slightly nerve-racking to move seats so frequently, so I would make sure to reach out to the current trainee in the seat for a handover and speak with my supervisor ahead of the seat for some pre-seat reading. I'd also look at key clients and refresh my commercial awareness knowledge so I can understand any potential issues.
This response shows that you are comfortable with the prospect of moving seats, but is more like a competency based response. It doesn't necessarily showcase your skills or how you would react in the situation.
This response may indicate that you would be uncomfortable with a key aspect of the training contract. An interview works both ways, so you should use this to decide whether the role is right for you.
This response demonstrates enthusiasm at the opportunity to join a new seat and an understanding of commercial awareness. It also outlines a clear plan for how you would make yourself feel confident and prepared when faced with some pre-seat nervousness. Great job!
What has attracted you to become a solicitor and in particular, a solicitor at DWF?
Becoming a solicitor has always been an ambition of mine. I loved the programme "Suits" and it inspiried me to study law at university! I think a career in law would play to my strengths.
I love the opportunity to be analytical; the prospect of having to break down a client's problem and come up with solutions which would resolve the problem appeals to me. I find that the DWF value "Attend to Details" aligns with my own values here, as you have to think about every last detail of the case to make sure that you don't miss a key detail. You also have to think about issues that haven't arisen yet, so keeping up to date with commercial issues in your client's sector is vital.
I've worked as a paralegal for the last few years in a commercial law firm. I've enjoyed the challenges that this brings and I am excited to continue my career at a global legal business such as DWF. Especially given the unique structure at DWF, I would be excited to learn more about their Legal Advisory, Connected Services and Mindcrest offerings.
In this response, there's very little detail about why you wish to become a solicitor. What is it in particular that has attracted you? Which strengths would you be able to demonstrate as a Solicitor?
This answer also fails to answer the second part of the question as it doesn't give any DWF detail.
This response allows you to demonstrate a key strength (being analytical), your DWF knowledge (one of our values) and appreciation of commercial awareness. Good job!
This response relies heavily on previous experience, whereas a strengths-based interview is forward thinking. It doesn't demonstrate any key skills.
There is a slight link to DWF but this could be developed further.
Keeping a to-do list will be vital as a trainee solicitor. What tasks do you find tend to be left on your to-do list?
I can struggle to complete administrative tasks which seem to add little value to my training experience. However, to mitigate this I would schedule some time in my diary at the beginning of each day to complete this task, as this is when I feel most energised. I also remind myself that all tasks are important, no matter how simple they may be. Each administrative task teaches me value as I will need to do this independently in my career once I've qualified. I would ask my supervisor about how this small task fits into the bigger picture to further help with this.
There are never tasks left on my to-do list at the end of each day. I am a diligent, hard-working and dedicated individual and will only log off once each task is completed to the best of my ability.
In my role as Treasurer at my University Law Society, I found it difficult to chase firms for payment when invoices were left unpaid. I began to chase firms over email rather than over the phone, as it would give the receiver the chance to investigate the issue before responding. If I had no response, I would then call to follow up. This developed my communication skills and I would hope to develop them further as a trainee solicitor at DWF.
Although the response starts off exposing a potential weakness, it is soon flipped to a positive and shows motivation and appreciation of smaller tasks. Excellent!
This response may not come across as genuine as you might hope! Priorities can often change in the role of a trainee solicitor, so you should be comfortable with having tasks left on your to-do list when deadlines change.
Although this is a good example of developing communication skills, it doesn't necessarily answer the question that you are being asked. Be careful of forcing an example in if it doesn't fit and always make sure to answer the question.
RETURN TO START
Do you need more practice?
Re-take the quiz until you feel confident.
Cement your knowledge by visiting our Trainee Blogs and finding out more about our assessment centre exercises.
Strength Based Interviews, News and Insights
What to expect at a DWF assessment centre | Trainee Blog
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