Simmons & Simmons Interview 2019 - 2020

Discussion in 'Interview Experiences 2019 - 2020 Cycle' started by Jaysen, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    October 2019

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Winter Vacation Scheme 2019

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    10.45am- Arrival.
    11am- Welcome from Graduate Recruitment.
    11.15am- Writing task.
    12.15pm -Lunch
    1.15pm- Roleplay.
    2pm- Case study preparation.
    3pm to 4pm- Case study and competency interview with senior associate/partner.

    Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.

    There were 5 of us at the assessment centre and once we arrived, we were given a brief walk-through of the structure of the day and were made to feel at ease and relaxed. This lasted about 15 minutes.

    Writing task:

    After our initial welcome, we then had the hour long writing task which consisted of an inbox exercise. We had to pretend we were trainees who had been given several different tasks to do (I believe there were 7) and we had to summarise each task, give them a priority level (low, medium, high) and explain why they were of that priority, and then had to explain how we would go about completing each task. We had to pretend as if we were explaining all of this to our supervisors who wanted to know our tasks at hand and the way in which we would be completing them. The format was 7 tasks having been set through 7 different emails having been sent to us and this is what we had to summarise. We also at the end had a research task. We had to draft a letter to a concerned client who was worried about whether they were compliant with the GDPR based on information presented to us and wanted to know what the consequences may be if they were not compliant. We were provided with the legislation itself to help us with this task and this was probably the harder part of the writing task!

    Roleplay:

    The roleplay activity was split in to two parts. 15 minutes preparation time and then about 15 minutes of the roleplay activity itself. The task consisted in preparing for a client meeting last minute as your supervisor has had to leave the office. The client was I believe a gaming company if i'm not mistaken from what I remember, and is stressed out over certain complexities and is interested in international expansion in certain areas like the [redacted]. We are given about 10 different web links to read through in the 15 minute preparation time as well as the briefing paper on the client portfolio, that help prepare for helping the client. This task is therefore testing the ability to pick out key information from a large amount of information- such as Simmons' capability in the [redacted] which is what one of the documents spoke about and how that may help in supporting the client's expansion in this area. We are told that the client also doesn't know that much about Simmons and so it is important to understand how else Simmons may be able to help the client (i.e. in what other areas and capabilities).

    As soon as you walk in to the room, the role-play begins- the "client" will pretend to be agitated and uninterested and it is up to you to ask the relevant questions so you know how to help them and really sell Simmons well in terms of how Simmons can be of help. I was told when I got my feedback that it is a good idea to begin the roleplay by speaking about Simmons in a more general manner to begin with- e.g. its sector focuses etc, before asking more particular questions around the particular help that the client was. This is of course to build a rapport first. You really are in control here. So for example, when I began to speak about Simmons' capability in the TMT sector that may be helpful for the client and mentioned other related sectors, the follow up questions were "what are the other sector focuses and how are they relevant to us". So depending on what you speak about, you will be asked certain follow up questions.

    Case Study Preparation:

    For this you have an hour. You are given a laptop and use the Relativity platform to work through 30 different documents which help with the case study. You are allowed to take this in with you in the interview with the senior associate/partner. The case study scenario was a potential case of [redacted] by a director of the company being suspected and in the 1hr long prep using the 30 documents, consideration had to be given to:

    a) What further information is needed to know whether this was a case of [redacted]?
    b) What are the wider implications for the company if the director is found guilty of [redacted]?- e.g. effects on company reputation etc.
    c) General concerns surrounding other employees' rights and liabilities if the Director was guilty.
    d) what should the company do next in relation to this suspected case of [redacted]? -e.g. should it suspend the director whilst investigations are carried out?

    Case Study and Interview (1 hour):

    This was split into two parts:

    Part 1: Talk through of the case study- I had to pretend to be presenting the case to my supervisor for 5 minutes and what i had found. My "supervisor" would then ask me further questions based on what I said. For example when I spoke about the effect on reputation, I was asked how this would be affected. This all lasts between 10 to 15 minutes.

    Part 2: Competency based questions- questions asked are listed below. If an answer seems incomplete or they simply want to know more, you will be pushed for further information. This took up the bulk of the time- about 35 minutes. I then had the last 5 to 10 mins to ask questions of my own which was really nice and helpful.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - Why Simmons and how does it differ itself?
    - Why commercial law?
    - Tell me about a time you had to really work to gain someone's trust.
    - Tell us about a time you showed resilience.
    - Tell me about a time you had to work under pressure.

    What is your best advice for each aspect of the assessment on the day? Please break this down for each assessment. This can include advice for preparation, as well as tips for the day.

    Writing task- Timing is key is the man takeaway for this! The research task is much more difficult than the first part of summarising tasks, so I would suggest tackling the harder bit first, then doing the summarising task as if you are pushed for time, this is something a lot easier to do under time pressure rather than the drafting of a letter.

    Roleplay- Make sure you listen to the "client". I was told sometimes I was selling Simmons too hard and didn't quite manage to build a rapport first- stay human!

    Case study and competency- The more commercially aware you are the better the case study will go- this was a task I was told I performed particularly well because I considered multiple different types of implications if a Director of a company was found guilty of money laundering- i.e. financial implications, impact on repute, effect on other staff- so be open minded and think of the wider picture!

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  2. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    November 2019

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Winter Vacation Scheme 2019

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    10am arrival, followed by a brief explanatory talk to confirm the arrangements for the day; the day comprises of an inbox exercise, a mock-client role-play, and a case study exercise and competency interview

    Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.

    Inbox Exercise: This is testing your understanding of prioritisation, time management and a trainee's workload. There were lots of "emails" to read, so make sure you read them all first, make a very brief list of how you would rank them in terms of priority. Be client-centric and business oriented. There will also be a letter to draft based on some additional information you have to read, so keep a very close eye on the time! There will be one hour allowed for the inbox exercise.

    Role-play: You will be given 30 minutes to read about a pretend client. You will then meet with them to discuss several business problems for 30 minutes. Make sure you fully use your prep time not only to understand the business, but how Simmons can help them. Are there some USPs? This is not just an opportunity to demonstrate your commercial awareness, but also your knowledge of the firm. The client may pretend to be awkward, so offer to tell them about the firm and how it can help their business in particular. This role-play will also test your interpersonal skills: the actor may be on the phone when you come in, so think carefully about how you respond; they may behave poorly, so ensure you are not put off and remain polite; and they may ask tough questions, so remain calm and composed to offer as strong an answer as you can.

    Interview: This was not a great format. The partner introduced himself and then proceeded to read questions off a sheet given to him by GR. Make sure you have a wide variety of examples to demonstrate your competencies, drawing on your work experience, extra-curricular and your studies. You will also have to discuss a case study with the partner (you are given 30 minutes to read and prepare your thoughts on this). Try to structure your thoughts into a mini-presentation if you can. My interviewer did not seem to have been briefed on the case study, and asked no follow up questions at all, meaning I did not say everything I had hoped to! Also, try to engage the interviewer: for example, I mentioned a case study that was of interest to me, and he happened to have worked on it. This changed the interview dynamic considerably. There was not time at the end for questions because we overran, but the partner will escort you back to a particular room, so you should use that time to ask questions.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    See above.

    What is your best advice for each aspect of the assessment on the day? Please break this down for each assessment. This can include advice for preparation, as well as tips for the day.

    Try to practice an inbox exercise if you can, it can be challenging to complete within the time constraints. Make sure you develop a genuine understanding of the firm, its business model and approach, and what sets it apart to you, as well as to clients.

    Were you successful?

    No
     

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