Interview: Tips & Advice


"Don't get flustered in the assessment centres. They are meant to challenge you and you don't have to know everything before going in. Know the strengths of each office as they have different departments."
First year trainee, Bristol
"Approach the group exercise with the mindset of doing your best to help the group meet its objectives. Don't get too wrapped up in minutiae and try to bring things back on track if the group gets led astray."
First year trainee, Sheffield
"For the interview, I would have a couple of competency scenarios ready and prepared. You need to understand the ethos of the firm, the goals and the values. This is a co-operative firm where we work together. Being highly competitive and seeking to 'beat' the other candidates will not come across well. You are more likely to succeed if you can show that you are helping others and working together."
First year trainee, Manchester
"Application, video interview, assessment day. There are two interviews at the assessment day (one competency based and one based around an exercise) and a group task. Make sure you know the firm really well and can demonstrate that. Be confident in your answers and make sure you can deal with being pushed. Aside from the technical aspect, just relax. It's the kind of firm that cares about whether you're easy to get along with as much as your level of ability."
First year trainee, London
"Being yourself is always important. If you are, and enjoy the firm at an assessment centre, you will fit in much easier and stand out for not being a 'copy and paste' applicant."
First year trainee, Sheffield
"Video interview, assessment centre and vacation scheme. My tip would be to know the firm well: what we do, key cases and areas that are unique to us."
First year trainee, Newcastle
"The firm does an online application, a video interview and an assessment centre if you are applying for the straight training contract route. I think the vac scheme route is similar. I would advise candidates to know a lot about the firm and specifically our plans for growth."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"My first recommendation would be to understand that the firm you are applying to is also a business with its own culture and brand, so understand what it is they do and show examples of how you understand it. If you mention any work they have done, be prepared to go into it in further detail. Concentrate on your soft skills throughout and show your personality (the guys hiring you don't just want a strong legal mind – they want someone they can get along with). Try to learn about your interviewer(s) and take an interest in their background – you may have something in common! In my assessment centre I did a presentation that introduced a potential client to the firm. Make sure you know every point inside out and try to include all areas of the firm's business."
First year trainee, Newbury


"Definitely research the firm thoroughly when applying, especially the firm's future plans. The firm values people with bright, innovative ideas so I recommend that you come with a few of those prepared. There is also a real focus on practical experiences throughout the interview, so give examples of those that will highlight your suitability for the firm."
Second year trainee, London
"The application is a video interview and an assessment day. I think that you should demonstrate good team-working skills in the group task that you are given, but this does not necessarily mean that you need to take the lead, just make sure that your voice is heard. If you do activities or run clubs after work, ensure that you mention those in the interview."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"I was an internal candidate, so I had to complete an application form, and undertake an assessment day. The latter comprised of a group task, an interviewing task and an interview. My advice would be to be yourself. Irwin Mitchell does not look for one specific type of candidate, as we deal with people with all sorts of legal issues and complaints, so the firm looks for different personalities. Definitely be confident in your abilities and don't be afraid to admit that you have made a mistake in the assessment day, because as long as you notice that it was a mistake and learn from it, you can move onwards."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"Alongside researching the firm, I think that you should know the values it upholds in the work that it undertakes."
First year trainee, Sheffield
"You should make sure that the firm is aligned with your personal thoughts/feelings and ideas. Know the firm inside out, including its ethos."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"The application process consisted of an application form, followed by a video interview, then an assessment centre and finally a two week placement with an interview at the end. Research the firm thoroughly by thinking of where the legal market is going to be in five years' time, and what Irwin Mitchell should do to be there. Demonstrate that you know which fields of law Irwin Mitchell covers, such as public law, corporate law and contentious probate, as it is important to realise that the firm is more than just a personal injury firm: it has a very wide remit. Also think of practical examples of how you have demonstrated important skills, such as team-working and attention to detail."
First year trainee, Sheffield
"Focus on showing your personality throughout the application process, and don't be too rigid, as many applicants are criticised because of this. Be yourself: don't conform to perceived expectations of what a candidate should be like."
First year trainee, Leeds


"Research the firm - it's quite unique. Get the split between BLS and PLS clear in your mind and research the stream you are applying for."
Second year trainee, Manchester
"Ensure that you are familiar with the values and objectives of the firm. Obtain information of key cases that the firm has acted upon and be sure to understand what services the firm has on offer. Before the interview, get a good night's sleep, be yourself and remember to put your best foot forward."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"Always research the firm and know what their big cases are and if they have been in the media recently. Show that you are commercially aware."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"Research the firm. Realise that it has a different ethos to your strictly corporate firm and understand the full range of legal services which it offers."
First year trainee, Sheffield
"Prepare a competency grid - identify likely competency questions (adaptability, organisation, problem solving, teamwork, etc.) and come up with as many examples, from all areas of life, as possible."
Second year trainee, London
"My main tip is to be yourself. If you over-think the day too much you may act differently to how you are in a normal situation. By being yourself you can show Irwin Mitchell who you are and if you are somebody that gets on well on the day and fits in with their values I'm sure you will create a long-lasting impression."
First year trainee, Birmingham
"Do your research, have the reasons that you are applying for IM at your finger tips, be bold but only say things of value. Take it seriously, but show some personality - it's what will set you apart."
Second year trainee, Leeds
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.