To help upcoming applicants gain confidence in their applications, leading firm Bird & Bird has provided some guidance on its application process and some tips to help you stand out.
The application process for the Vacation Scheme and Direct Training Contract typically includes an online application form, a Watson-Glaser test, a video interview, and an assessment centre.
By Bird & Bird Early Careers
The application form consists of your details (including work experience) and strengths-based questions, or questions specific to the firm.
We operate blind screening, so all identification details are hidden from our assessors, to minimise bias from the recruitment process.
We also use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System, to enable us to recruit people from different backgrounds and help us understand your achievements in the context of how they were gained.
We also operate rolling recruitment, which means we screen applications as they’re received, rather than after our deadline, so you’re encouraged to apply as early as possible.
To stand out at this stage, you should:
The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test evaluates your critical thinking skills. It’s a multiple-choice aptitude assessment widely used by law firms to access the ability to think critically, draw conclusions, assess arguments, recognise assumptions, and evaluate arguments.
At Bird & Bird, there’s a benchmark/pass mark to progress onto the next stage of the recruitment process. The Watson-Glaser test is one of the hardest parts of the recruitment process, this is where the majority of candidates fail to progress at.
To perform at your best, you should:
Bird & Bird’s assessment centre consists of an interview and written assessment for the Vacation Schemes, as well as a group exercise for the Direct Training Contract.
As a candidate, you must be prepared to showcase your skills, own experience, legal knowledge, and commercial awareness in different assessment styles. We operate blind interviewing, so all identification details and previous assessments are hidden from our interviewers to minimise bias in the recruitment process.
To showcase your best self on the day, you should:
Throughout the application process, we refer to our trainee solicitor attributes: motivation for commercial law; people skills; communication skills; self-awareness and confidence; influencing; intellect; commercial awareness; awareness of client service; innovation; and personal drive.
You must demonstrate that you have the relevant skills and experience for the role. From pulling pints to writing drafts, or stacking shelves to closing deals, all the skills you already have from previous work can be transferrable to the role of a lawyer. Whether you’ve worked in retail, hospitality, or professional services, you may have the attributes of a trainee solicitor at present.
Here’s an example:
“I worked part-time at a supermarket whilst at school. I helped customers find items, stacked shelves in the aisles, reported spilled or ruined stock to my manager, and processed payments at the tills” – Candidate A
What skills does Candidate A have? How do these skills transfer to the role of a lawyer? How can Candidate A showcase their skills?
“I worked part-time at a supermarket [awareness of the retail and consumer sector] whilst at school [organised by balancing education with work commitments]. I helped customers [people skills by assisting with customers; communication skills by adapting to customer’s communication styles to best help them] find items, stacked shelves [coped with repetitive, mundane tasks] in the aisles, reported spilled [resilient by working under pressure in busy periods; detail-orientated by managing stocks carefully; flexible by adapting to new situations/issues as they arise] or ruined stock to my manager [teamwork by reporting to seniority and communicating as a team; problem-solving and client awareness by anticipating customers’ needs], and processed payments at the tills” – Candidate A
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