Ask A Graduate Recruiter Anything!

Crystal86

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It’s very rarely individual interviewers or partners - this may happen if the firm is very small and the firm as a whole has decided to leave the hiring decisions to one partner. But in those instances, the partner would have to be heavily involved in all the interviews. It can’t be multiple partners making the decision (eg each partner who interviews each candidate) as this could lead to over or under offering. Therefore typically graduate recruitment are the ones reviewing the feedback and making a decision and informing the interviewers what the decision will be. But they are informed by the feedback and scores given by the lawyers (and other people) who have assessed the candidate - they are not making these decisions without insight from others. They are often just calibrating that feedback and checking people are not making decisions (either way) lightly.

9 times out of 10 it’s a very straight forward decision for the graduate recruitment team to make, especially if someone is not successful. Often the evidence from the assessments is compelling one way or another and the Grad Rec team just inform all the assessors of their view of the outcome.

In some instances, graduate recruitment will speak with all the assessors a candidates has been assessed by and there is a discussion about the candidate with everyone involved. This typically happens if there is a strong performance but maybe a potential red flag (or two).

In some instances, typically when there is a small trainee intake, you get all the assessors together to discuss all the candidates and make a decision with everyone involved in the conversation to try and find the very best candidates.
Thanks @Jessica Booker ! This is incredibly insightful!

In light of this, if a firm recruits on a rolling basis, do the stronger candidate tend to receive offers early on the assessment centre process i.e. the first week of assessment centres being held - or is it based on multiple factors i.e. how well a candidate performs across all aspects of the A/C?
 
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Jessica Booker

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Thanks @Jessica Booker ! This is incredibly insightful!

In light of this, if a firm recruits on a rolling basis, do the stronger candidate tend to receive offers early on the assessment centre process i.e. the first week of assessment centres being held - or is it based on multiple factors i.e. how well a candidate performs across all aspects of the A/C?
Possibly. However, there are hundreds of reasons why a candidate might hear later than the next that has nothing to do with their performance in the assessments.

Given that, I don’t think you can make any assumptions as to why someone has or hasn’t heard back and how this may relate to how well they did.
 
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Jessica Booker

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Hi @Jessica Booker

Travers Smith require two referees - an academic one and personal/professional. Would an individual whom I met as an academic, but was previously a City lawyer still qualify into the personal/professional bracket?
For the academic reference, it needs to be someone associated with your course and who verify your academics, not just someone you have met.

Your personal reference should be someone who knows you well and who can verify your character (eg someone you have known for sometime). It really has no impact that the reference is a lawyer (past or present) or not. So don’t choose them just because of their job title.
 
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Casual

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    Hello @Jessica Booker ,

    During my last vac scheme's verification process, I had to list the places I lived in for the past few years. I usually rented my own place in the UK, and so had the proof of address been requested, I would've been able to provide eg a tenancy contract with my name on it.

    This year I am staying at my friend's place (still in the UK ) and was wondering if I should put that as an address on the application form? I am just worried that it may create problems with passing the verification process if I get an offer, since there would be no document to prove I actually lived there.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hello @Jessica Booker ,

    During my last vac scheme's verification process, I had to list the places I lived in for the past few years. I usually rented my own place in the UK, and so had the proof of address been requested, I would've been able to provide eg a tenancy contract with my name on it.
    This year I am staying at my friend's place (still in the UK ) and was wondering if I should put that as an address on the application form? I am just worried that it may create problems with passing verification process if I get an offer since there would be no document to prove I actually live there.
    Would you have another UK address to provide? If not, you'd have to provide the friend's address.

    You may want to change a bill to this address in the interim (e.g. change your mobile phone to this address) so that you would have proof. Alternatively, I am sure some form of confirmation from your friend could be requested/provided if necessary.
     
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    Casual

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    Hello @Jessica Booker,

    Just had one more question: I am currently filling out the app for Ashurst. In the previous years it asked to address the cover letter to Nick Wong, however, this time it says:

    Please use this section to tell us about yourself, your skills, achievements and why you want to train as a solicitor and work at Ashurst. (750 words max) *

    Should I go straight into the answer without formalities or still treat it as a cover letter by addressing it to Nick Wong (or use “Dear sir/madam”) and finishing with “thank you for your consideration” + signature?
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hello @Jessica Booker,

    Just had one more question: I am currently filling out the app for Ashurst. In the previous years it asked to address the cover letter to Nick Wong, however, this time it says:

    Please use this section to tell us about yourself, your skills, achievements and why you want to train as a solicitor and work at Ashurst. (750 words max) *

    Should I go straight into answer without formalities or still treat it as a cover letter by addressing it to Nick Wong (or use “Dear sir/madam”) and finishing with “thank you for your consideration” + signature?
    I think you can use it more as a personal statement style application where you don't need the formalities of an introduction/opener or a conclusion/sign off.

    I am increasingly seeing law firms drop the cover letter formalities, and I think this is just another incident of a firm doing so.
     
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    Casual

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    I think you can use it more as a personal statement style application where you don't need the formalities of an introduction/opener or a conclusion/sign off.

    I am increasingly seeing law firms drop the cover letter formalities, and I think this is just another incident of a firm doing so.
    Interesting! Thank you for a prompt reply
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker

    If we are invited to AC, do you think it's okay to request a call with grad rec to see what they are expecting from a candidate, or does it not send a good impression to grad rec?
    Rather than requesting a call outright, I would take the following approaches:
    • Email and ask if there is any further information or resources they recommend reviewing ahead of the AC to help with your preparation. Grad Rec is probably too busy for a call (this time of year is choas!), but they might be able to send a few links in an email much more quickly than they can with a call.
    • Connect with either future or current trainees on LinkedIn and try to get their input into what they thought needed to be shown in the assessments.
     
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    Crystal86

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    Rather than requesting a call outright, I would take the following approaches:
    • Email and ask if there is any further information or resources they recommend reviewing ahead of the AC to help with your preparation. Grad Rec is probably too busy for a call (this time of year is choas!), but they might be able to send a few links in an email much more quickly than they can with a call.
    • Connect with either future or current trainees on LinkedIn and try to get their input into what they thought needed to be shown in the assessments.
    Great, thank you so much!
     

    time2work

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    Hi @Jessica Booker, do you have any suggestions for answering this question? "Sustaining a successful and profitable practice requires both commercial awareness and innovative thinking. Tell us about something that you have done that shows you have a solid innovative or entrepreneurial spirit." I'm not too sure what examples of work I can draw on.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker, do you have any suggestions for answering this question? "Sustaining a successful and profitable practice requires both commercial awareness and innovative thinking. Tell us about something that you have done that shows you have a solid innovative or entrepreneurial spirit." I'm not too sure what examples of work I can draw on.
    It doesn’t have to be work related. It could come from your extra curriculars or things like volunteering roles.

    Try to think of any time when you have come up with an idea or approach to something that was quite different or novel, particularly if it lead to some form of success (eg it being done quicker, better, more efficiently).
     
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    Jessica Booker

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    Hello, @Jessica Booker hope you are doing well. Could you please tell me if being a full-time employee has more impact on a work-experience entry than being an intern (if how we describe the experience and how we pull out the transferrable skills remain exactly the same)?

    Thanks in advance.
    Many interns are full time positions, so I don’t think the distinguishing element is there. But even if a role is part-time, that doesn’t lessen the responsibilities you had or the impact you could have had, it just means you had less time dedicated to the job. Therefore it really isn’t about the hours you work - it is about what you did in those hours.
     

    applyingfortc

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    Hi @Jessica Booker hope you're well! :)

    I'm a final year law student and I am in the process of applying for TCs at commercial law firms. I was wondering whether taking a company law module in my final year would impact my chances of getting a TC? I am currently choosing between taking up either a company law and family law elective module, but the family law module at my university seems quite unique so I was thinking of choosing that over company (that is not to say that company law does not interest me). Will I be disadvantaged if I do not take company law?

    Thank you in advance! Would love to hear from anyone else too!
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker hope you're well! :)

    I'm a final year law student and I am in the process of applying for TCs at commercial law firms. I was wondering whether taking a company law module in my final year would impact my chances of getting a TC? I am currently choosing between taking up either a company law and family law elective module, but the family law module at my university seems quite unique so I was thinking of choosing that over company (that is not to say that company law does not interest me). Will I be disadvantaged if I do not take company law?

    Thank you in advance! Would love to hear from anyone else too!
    I don’t think it is necessarily a disadvantage to take the family law module, but it does depend on how it balances with the rest of your application. For instance, if you have little evidence of prising commercial law, whether academically or via work experience/extra curriculars, then taking the company law module is just one step that could help show some evidence instead. However, if you have lots of evidence of pursuing your interest in commercial law elsewhere in your application, then your module choices aren’t really going to stand out and will be far less of interest.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker when it comes to academic references, will firms usually approach the referee after a candidate is invited to an AC or do they approach the referee once an offer has been made to the candidate but the candidate is not notified of this outcome yet?
    It varies from firm to firm.

    Some even ask for references before inviting someone to an assessment centre/interview.

    Unfortunately there is no clear pattern/usual approach, so it could be at any stage of the recruitment process that your academic referees are contacted.
     
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