Introduction: Assessment Centres
Over the past few years, a lot of law firms have moved away from the traditional competency-based interview when recruiting their trainee solicitors. Whilst it is true that a lot of small and medium-sized firms still use one or two interviews to find out about candidates and decide who to offer training contracts to, a lot of City law firms now have assessment centres.
An assessment centre usually consists of a number of different parts, namely a written exercise, a negotiation exercise, verbal reasoning test, presentation and/or case study. Sometimes the assessment centres are held over a day but there are some firms that spread the assessment centre over more than a day.
Why Do Law Firms Use Assessment Centres?
The theory behind having assessment centres is that law firms can use the exercises to find out how suitable a candidate is to the role. The aim is to test the candidates throughout the process to ascertain whether they have met the core competencies the firm and the job requires.
How Do I Prepare For A Law Firm Assessment Centre?
The amount of information you will receive from a law firm about their assessment centre will vary from firm to firm. Here are our thoughts on how to prepare:
- Read the email – make sure you read the email that you receive from the firm carefully as that may contain useful information. For example, if the firm tells you that there is going to be a verbal reasoning test, it makes sense to practise any tests that you can get your hands on.
- Look on the internet for any information – the good news is that there are lots of resources available on the internet and there are websites where previous attendees may have posted information about their experience of assessment centres. As with anything on the internet, it is important to remember that the information might not be completely accurate or may be out-of-date.
- Speak to people who have done it – it’s always useful to speak to people who have been through the process. Use your network of contacts and ask around to see if anyone has any information about the assessment centres if you have some interviews coming up.
- Keep up-to-date with current affairs – law firms love to ask candidates about their knowledge of the legal market and current affairs. If you are applying to a commercial law firm, reading the FT or The Economist a few days before your interview will give you a good insight into what is going on in the economy and the business world.
- Practise your answers – it’s important not to sound like a robot when you are asked a question in an interview but it is good to have some idea of how you are going to answer common questions such as ‘why do you want to become a lawyer?’ One way to practise is to write some bullet points down for each common question that you can think of and then try to commit those points to memory.
Speak to us for more information about commercial awareness training and interview coaching for law firm assessment days.