Ask A Graduate Recruiter Anything!

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
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14,137
@Jessica Booker I received a VI invitation on Wednesday and it states that I have 5 days from receipt of the email to complete it - would today or tomorrow be the deadline? And is it okay to look at notes during a recorded video interview?
I can’t be 100% sure unfortunately. I’d expect it to be tomorrow, but they could count the Wednesday as one day unfortunately.

You can look at notes, but I would do this sparingly. You need to look like this is a natural conversation and that you can talk about the questions with confidence and in an assertive/persuasive way. Not relying on notes all the time will help to demonstrate that this is something that you can naturally talk about with confidence - using notes too heavily can make it seem like you are talking from a set/predetermined script rather than answering the question and being able to think on your feet to answer the question.
 

Littlemisslawyer

Legendary Member
Premium Member
Jul 8, 2019
163
59
I can’t be 100% sure unfortunately. I’d expect it to be tomorrow, but they could count the Wednesday as one day unfortunately.

You can look at notes, but I would do this sparingly. You need to look like this is a natural conversation and that you can talk about the questions with confidence and in an assertive/persuasive way. Not relying on notes all the time will help to demonstrate that this is something that you can naturally talk about with confidence - using notes too heavily can make it seem like you are talking from a set/predetermined script rather than answering the question and being able to think on your feet to answer the question.
thanks Jessica :)
 

Ameliaa

Distinguished Member
Premium Member
Jan 4, 2022
53
61
Hi @Jessica Booker I was wondering if firms check all the work experience inputted on the application form during pre-employment screenings or if they only go back a set number of years?

I have a lot of long-term informal volunteer work from when I was in school from 2010-2014. Most of it was part of my DofE awards. But I wouldn't know how to get into contact with any one who would be able to provide me a reference for it as we didn't have a formal system where it was logged. They organisers would simply sign our DofE books weekly as evidence we completed our volunteering which we would show to the DofE organisers who signed it off, but they didn't keep a formal register of our attendance or anything. I don't know if it would be better to just leave this experience out of my future applications.

I was also wondering when the pre-employment screenings take place? Is it done after the TC offer?
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Hi @Jessica Booker I was wondering if firms check all the work experience inputted on the application form during pre-employment screenings or if they only go back a set number of years?

I have a lot of long-term informal volunteer work from when I was in school from 2010-2014. Most of it was part of my DofE awards. But I wouldn't know how to get into contact with any one who would be able to provide me a reference for it as we didn't have a formal system where it was logged. They organisers would simply sign our DofE books weekly as evidence we completed our volunteering which we would show to the DofE organisers who signed it off, but they didn't keep a formal register of our attendance or anything. I don't know if it would be better to just leave this experience out of my future applications.

I was also wondering when the pre-employment screenings take place? Is it done after the TC offer?
Screening will take place after an offer is accepted. It can sometimes take place 3-6 months before you start the TC, although some firms do the checks before you start any LPC/SQE prep courses though.

It’s typically any employment/education in the last 5-10 years, depending on the firms’s policy.

Even if the firm did want to seek an employment reference from 2010, given its a voluntary role they know they might not be able to get a reference. If it was part of your DoE, then you could probably provide your DoE documentation as proof you did the voluntary work, even if it doesn’t verify the actual experience.

So don’t worry about it in all honesty. They might not even ask for a reference given it’s voluntary.
 
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Ameliaa

Distinguished Member
Premium Member
Jan 4, 2022
53
61
Screening will take place after an offer is accepted. It can sometimes take place 3-6 months before you start the TC, although some firms do the checks before you start any LPC/SQE prep courses though.

It’s typically any employment/education in the last 5-10 years, depending on the firms’s policy.

Even if the firm did want to seek an employment reference from 2010, given its a voluntary role they know they might not be able to get a reference. If it was part of your DoE, then you could probably provide your DoE documentation as proof you did the voluntary work, even if it doesn’t verify the actual experience.

So don’t worry about it in all honesty. They might not even ask for a reference given it’s voluntary.
Thank you so much for the help! :)
 

LL

Active Member
Sep 22, 2021
11
13
Hi Jessica, I hope you are well.

I am an international student on the graduate visa which enables me to apply to vacation schemes. However, I don’t currently reside in the UK and the flight to the UK is really long and costly.

Can I ask how likely it is for law firms to be willing to hold my assessment centre remotely? I am willing to travel for the VC but it’s less justifiable for me to do so for an AC.

If firms are able to accommodate this, when should I bring this up and would this arrangement put firms off? Thanks.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Hi Jessica, I hope you are well.

I am an international student on the graduate visa which enables me to apply to vacation schemes. However, I don’t currently reside in the UK and the flight to the UK is really long and costly.

Can I ask how likely it is for law firms to be willing to hold my assessment centre remotely? I am willing to travel for the VC but it’s less justifiable for me to do so for an AC.

If firms are able to accommodate this, when should I bring this up and would this arrangement put firms off? Thanks.
Many firms can offer virtual ACs these days - it really depends on their preferences and the type of assessments they need you to complete.

It won't put a firm off - it is just something they will be able to accommodate or not.

When you are invited to a face-to-face assessment stage you can mention it, although I see a lot of people stating something like "As I am currently based in X, I would prefer an opportunity to be assessed virtually/remotely if that is an option" in their application form.
 
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legalgemma

Distinguished Member
Jan 11, 2022
55
144
Hi Jessica, I hope you are well.

I am an international student on the graduate visa which enables me to apply to vacation schemes. However, I don’t currently reside in the UK and the flight to the UK is really long and costly.

Can I ask how likely it is for law firms to be willing to hold my assessment centre remotely? I am willing to travel for the VC but it’s less justifiable for me to do so for an AC.

If firms are able to accommodate this, when should I bring this up and would this arrangement put firms off? Thanks.
Hi LL, I know you asked Jessica but thought you might find this insight useful - I have been invited to 5 ACs this year, 4 for Vac schemes and 1 for direct TC, and all 5 of them have been virtual. I suspect it is likely that a lot of firms are opting for this anyway, so it might not be something you need to worry about!
 

LL

Active Member
Sep 22, 2021
11
13
Many firms can offer virtual ACs these days - it really depends on their preferences and the type of assessments they need you to complete.

It won't put a firm off - it is just something they will be able to accommodate or not.

When you are invited to a face-to-face assessment stage you can mention it, although I see a lot of people stating something like "As I am currently based in X, I would prefer an opportunity to be assessed virtually/remotely if that is an option" in their application form.
Thank you Jessica! Just a follow-up question, do you think it is worth asking the firms' policies on this before I apply, or is it something that's only decided at the AC stage on a case-to-case basis?

Hi LL, I know you asked Jessica but thought you might find this insight useful - I have been invited to 5 ACs this year, 4 for Vac schemes and 1 for direct TC, and all 5 of them have been virtual. I suspect it is likely that a lot of firms are opting for this anyway, so it might not be something you need to worry about!
Thank you for letting me know. Did you request for them to be virtual or was it just virtual for everyone?
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Thank you Jessica! Just a follow-up question, do you think it is worth asking the firms' policies on this before I apply, or is it something that's only decided at the AC stage on a case-to-case basis?


Thank you for letting me know. Did you request for them to be virtual or was it just virtual for everyone?
I would just apply in all honesty - policies on this tend to be pretty fluid anyway, especially if there is another bout of Covid (or something similar). Most firms can accommodate virtual assessments in one format or another.
 
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legalgemma

Distinguished Member
Jan 11, 2022
55
144
Thank you Jessica! Just a follow-up question, do you think it is worth asking the firms' policies on this before I apply, or is it something that's only decided at the AC stage on a case-to-case basis?


Thank you for letting me know. Did you request for them to be virtual or was it just virtual for everyone?
They were just virtual for everyone - that was the way the firms had chosen to run them :)
 

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
107
72
Hi @Jessica Booker, what are some examples of experiences to put under legal experiences of my CV for a TC app? I can't think of many so would really appreciate if you could give some examples to jog my memory! :)
  1. I have only one legal intern experience and it was about 5 years ago.
  2. I haven't been able to secure any open days, but have compensated by attending literally any webinar I can/panel talks/law fairs/firm talks at my Uni.
    I have probably 50 of these if I listed it all and have made thorough notes for each event, so have quite good recall too and these have been material to learn about the profession
  3. I went to one firm visit (talked to lawyers, networking, firm tour, attended a talk) but it was just for whoever signed up, no application process - still good to put down..?
Should these be under Careers events and conferences: instead?

If I really only have one example from 5 years ago under Legal exp, would it look bad immediately?

Thank you!
 
Last edited:

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Hi @Jessica Booker, what are some examples of experiences to put under legal experiences of my CV for a TC app? I can't think of many so would really appreciate if you could give some examples to jog my memory! :)
  1. I have only one legal intern experience and it was about 5 years ago.
  2. I haven't been able to secure any open days, but have compensated by attending literally any webinar I can/panel talks/law fairs/firm talks at my Uni.
    I have probably 50 of these if I listed it all and have made thorough notes for each event, so have quite good recall too and these have been material to learn about the profession
  3. I went to one firm visit (talked to lawyers, networking, firm tour, attended a talk) but it was just for whoever signed up, no application process - still good to put down..?
Should these be under Careers events and conferences: instead? And after which section should this be after? So far my CV is split into Education, Legal, Non Legal, Positions of Responsibility, Volunteering, Extra Curricular/Skills and Interests

If I really only have one example from 5 years ago under Legal exp, would it look bad immediately?

Thank you!
I wouldn't force things into a legal work experience section - it isn't a requirement to have one.

It sounds like in your case, you could just have a work experience section and include your internship in that.

For your events, you'll need to be highly selective and focus on the most relevant - putting them under a section heading as you have suggested is appropriate.
 
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lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
107
72
I wouldn't force things into a legal work experience section - it isn't a requirement to have one.

It sounds like in your case, you could just have a work experience section and include your internship in that.

For your events, you'll need to be highly selective and focus on the most relevant - putting them under a section heading as you have suggested is appropriate.
Thanks for your suggestion! Would it come across like it isn't a legal CV my legal internship would be at the bottom of my general experiences this way?

And may I ask after which section should I put events? So far my CV is split into Education, Legal, Non Legal, Positions of Responsibility, Volunteering, Extra Curricular/Skills and Interests.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Thanks for your suggestion! Would it come across like it isn't a legal CV my legal internship would be at the bottom of my general experiences this way?

And may I ask after which section should I put events? So far my CV is split into Education, Legal, Non Legal, Positions of Responsibility, Volunteering, Extra Curricular/Skills and Interests.
You don’t need a legal CV.

You are applying to an entry level job - your interest in pursuing a legal career can be demonstrated in other ways like the events you have mentioned, possibly your academics or extra curriculars, and through your cover letter/motivational questions in the application form.

Your suggestion of having another section to include the events in sounds like a a great idea - I would go with something like that.
 
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lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
107
72
Hi again @Jessica Booker, for the question, "tell us about something that you have done that shows you have a strong innovative or entrepreneurial spirit. (250)"

Am I limited to giving only one example only since question is 'something'?

I'm not sure if I'll be able to stretch my experience into 250 words, how much detail should I get into?

And would you suggest to still use STAR with this kind of question if it's not asking about how I dealt with a situation?

Thanks!!
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Hi again @Jessica Booker, for the question, "tell us about something that you have done that shows you have a strong innovative or entrepreneurial spirit. (250)"

Am I limited to giving only one example only since question is 'something'?

I'm not sure if I'll be able to stretch my experience into 250 words, how much detail should I get into?

And would you suggest to still use STAR with this kind of question if it's not asking about how I dealt with a situation?

Thanks!!
I would stick to one example, although it could be something that has a bit of a journey as long as it demonstrate innovation or entrepreneurialism.

Using the STAR format is likely to help you get to close to the 250 word limit. It doesn’t have to be 250 words - around 200 could still work well.
 
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YP

New Member
May 12, 2022
3
0
Hi @Jessica Booker, what do law firms think of a just about 2.1 law degree? I never had to do a resit but all of my modules in the first and second years were 2.2 (some were even just passed). My first two years in university were difficult but I pulled through in my final year and managed to graduate with a 2.1.

My concern is that my mitigating circumstances are personal, it's not something I have evidence for. I do mention them anyway in the forms, but I'm worried that my academic history is putting law firms off. I tried to make it up by getting legal experience, I was a paralegal for nearly 2 years.

I want to mention that some of my applications do go through the initial screenings, but they were all rejected in the early stages - e.g. after psychometric tests or video interviews. Whilst it might well be my performances which are causing issues, I always wonder if it's because the graduate recruitment team do another app review after receiving the test and interview submissions, and decided that they really can't look past my uni grades?

Given how competitive getting a TC is, I'm just not sure if it's a realistic option for me. Any insight/advice will be much appreciated!

Just another to add, I completed my LPC with a distinction - does it help at all?

Thank you in advance!
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,475
14,137
Hi @Jessica Booker, what do law firms think of a just about 2.1 law degree? I never had to do a resit but all of my modules in the first and second years were 2.2 (some were even just passed). My first two years in university were difficult but I pulled through in my final year and managed to graduate with a 2.1.

My concern is that my mitigating circumstances are personal, it's not something I have evidence for. I do mention them anyway in the forms, but I'm worried that my academic history is putting law firms off. I tried to make it up by getting legal experience, I was a paralegal for nearly 2 years.

I want to mention that some of my applications do go through the initial screenings, but they were all rejected in the early stages - e.g. after psychometric tests or video interviews. Whilst it might well be my performances which are causing issues, I always wonder if it's because the graduate recruitment team do another app review after receiving the test and interview submissions, and decided that they really can't look past my uni grades?

Given how competitive getting a TC is, I'm just not sure if it's a realistic option for me. Any insight/advice will be much appreciated!

Just another to add, I completed my LPC with a distinction - does it help at all?

Thank you in advance!
Unfortunately, there will be no set answer to this, so it's difficult to advise on this broadly.

It will depend on your mitigating circumstances, first of all. If you are explaining them well and your academics outside of them are strong, a firm may still take them into consideration even without evidence or proof. The fact you have a distinction in the LPC will help with that in some respects.

But it will also depend on the individual firm you are applying to - some firms will be more open-minded to the grades and circumstances than others.

No recruiter would put someone through to the next stage of the process if you didn't meet their minimum criteria though - there is no logic in doing that, so I suspect it might not always be your grades that are stopping you from progressing.
 

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