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Interview: Tips & Advice

2016

"A competency interview and a case study interview. Prepare for the interviews by going the extra mile in your research. Anything you can Google has been seen and used by many other applicants. Reach out to firms by attending open days etc at an early stage so that, when you finally apply, you will have a long history of engagement to prove your interest in the firm. Consider carefully your motivations for becoming a City lawyer – you will be challenged on it and interviewers are trained to sift out generic responses."
First year trainee, London
"Application and interview day. You should be aware of the firm's identity and recent performance. You can get a good idea of this from reading the firm's blogs and annual report."
First year trainee, London
"Have clear and easy to follow model answers to the usual questions. Be ready to engage yourself in the interview and to view it as a two-way process. Try to always be in control of what's happening."
First year trainee, London
"I applied for a winter vacation scheme and got my training contract offer at the end of the vac scheme. I had two interviews for the vac scheme, one at the start and one at the end. As regards preparation, look into the firm and be aware of some of the big deals they have been involved with in the previous six months. Commercial awareness is key so read the Financial Times (not just the day before the interview), watch the news and generally be aware of what's happening in the market and how it may affect our clients."
First year trainee, London
"There's an online form with competency questions. If successful, you have two one-hour interviews. One is with HR (competency based) and one with someone from the business (case study). In any answer about A&O, look at it once you have written it. If you could substitute another Magic Circle competitor's name in and the sentence still makes sense, your statement is too generic and not tailored enough to A&O. Attend the networking events if A&O comes to your university and speak to HR members and current trainees. Name check a trainee you spoke to in your application."
First year trainee, London
"The general interview tries to get a sense of your personality and working habits. Then there's a case study where you give advice to a 'client' on a transaction. Make sure you use the reading time to look over everything and try to zone in on the issues rather than speaking about general points."
First year trainee, London
"For the written application, I made a list of all of the skills they may be looking for (teamwork, communication, lateral thinking etc). Ensure that the application evidences them all directly or indirectly. In the competency interview, ensure you structure your answers so they don't become garbled. Prepare for obvious questions like 'why law?'. Think about your experiences but don't overdo it – be natural. In the case study interview, structure your answers. Don't worry about knowing the materials inside out – the trick is to have a high level but vague understanding of what is covered and then prioritise where necessary."
First year trainee, London

2015

"For the vacation scheme, the application process consisted of a written submission and then two interviews; one competency based and the other based on a case study. At the end of the vacation scheme there was an another interview for training contract offers, although I believe this has now changed and candidates are require to submit pieces of written work throughout the course of the scheme."
Second year trainee, London
"My advice is to read up on the firm and keep reading financial press."
Second year trainee, London
"I applied for a vacation scheme and received my training contract on the back of that. The application consisted of two interviews, one was more competency based and about me, my application and my CV, while the other was based on a case study, which involved reading a pack of documents, and presenting the deal to a partner and highlighting any issues with the documents. Best preparation is to do your research on Allen & Overy as a firm and some recent work it has done, which you should be prepared to talk about at interview."
Second year trainee, London
"Just make sure you know why you want to be here at Allen & Overy. The application process is pretty straightforward - a relatively short form and then (if invited) two interviews held back to back."
First year trainee, London
"Write your application, leave it for a week and then read it aloud with fresh eyes. Does your application sound genuine? Is it coherent, readable and do you appear competent? Is it firm specific? Think about your audience, the person who reads your application wants to know why you want to work at Allen & Overy so do your research. Interview preparation- Read the annual report. Read your CV and application. Think about how you will react if you are asked a difficult question. You may have to work your way through an answer. Often questions don't have a right and wrong answer, the interviewer merely wants to see how you react under pressure, and how you work through a problem."
First year trainee, London
"A case study interview; based around a fictitious deal, they want to see if you can think of the issues a client would want to hear about. There's a lot to read and the timing is tight, so keep an eye on the clock and focus in finding the key details. In terms of the general interview, prepare for the obvious questions."
First year trainee, London
"Read up on a couple of deals A&O has been working on, really know why it is you want to join the firm, and other than that, just be yourself. Sounds cliché, I know, but it's true."
First year trainee, London
"Best preparation is always to experience the firm - open days, recruitment events, etc - get an idea of the atmosphere of the firm and you'll know where to pitch yourself."
Second year trainee, London
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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