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Interview: Tips & Advice

2019

"I would say be yourself. PMC is really good at selecting candidates who are the right fit for the firm. This is important for both the applicant and the firm because it's as much about the applicant choosing to want to work with the firm as vice versa. Candidates should look at what our core sector specialisms are, what practice areas we excel in and perhaps how the firm aspires to be placed in future. I would also suggest looking at Twitter and Linkedin as the firm is fairly active on these."
First year trainee, London
"The process is not as daunting as at other firms but there's still a lot to get through. There's an application followed by an assessment day (including in-tray tasks, a role-play interview and a one-on-one interview) and then a week-long vacation scheme. Ensure you talk to everyone in the office in all the different teams during the vacation scheme. You must then do a presentation during you vacation scheme and apply for the training contract afterwards. You also complete a Watson Glaser test prior to your final interview, when you must give a final presentation."
First year trainee, Guildford
"The interview process consists of an application form followed by an assessment day. The next stage is a vacation scheme including an interview with a senior associate. The final stage is a presentation and partner interview. My advice would be to be yourself and get to know the people in your team."
First year trainee, London
"I applied for the vacation scheme, which involved a written application and an assessment day. Following the vacation scheme we were required to update and re-submit our written application as a training contract application. This was then followed by a partner interview that involved a presentation task. I would recommend having a good knowledge of the firm's practice areas and being prepared for a number of tasks in the assessment day and interviews that involve one or more of these."
Second year trainee, Oxford
"There were the standard application questions, an HR interview, psychometric tests and an assessment centre including a presentation and exercise. It's about finding out whether the firm is the right fit for you. Regarding the interview, pay careful attention to the brief."
Second year trainee, Oxford
"It began with a written application to the firm followed by an assessment centre to get a place on the vacation scheme. The assessment centre consisted of a proofreading task, a role-play interview, an in-tray exercise and a group task. My main tip would be simply to be yourself. It's a very friendly firm so like-minded and approachable individuals will fit in well here. After the vacation scheme you are required to apply for the training contract. The application process finishes with a training contract interview with a member of HR and a partner."
First year trainee, Basingstoke/Reading

2017

"There's an assessment day for the vac scheme and then a second interview after the scheme if they liked you. I would advise applying for the vac scheme if you can and then just being yourself at the interview. They want to know what you are really like as a person."
Basingstoke
"The route I took was: assessment centre, vac scheme, written exercise/presentation/interview. My biggest tip may seem obvious, but really try to understand the firm. Consider its values and how you would make a good fit."
London
"Applicants should research the firm well and make it clear why they are best suited to it rather than any other firm in particular. Penningtons Manches is about more than just advising clients and applicants should think about how they would contribute to the firm's friendly and inclusive feel. Ultimately, the partners will want to know whether they will want to work with you day in, day out."
London
"There's an application form and an assessment day for the vac scheme followed by a final interview for training contracts. Be yourself."
London
"The firm's application process consists of an online application form, an assessment day and an interview. I applied for the vacation scheme and so I then had to submit a different online application for the training contract."
Basingstoke
"I'd advise having a general interest in the firm's areas of expertise. Research some cases so that you can talk about them with partners during the interview. The process is rigorous but enjoyable."
Basingstoke
"The firm looks for all-rounders with a good array of interests outside of law as well as good academics. The interview process is tough but you'll be fine as long as you have done your research on the firm. The recruiters are very fair and if you are well prepared, you will stand out. The firm recruits heavily from the vac scheme so it is the best way to get a foot in the door."
London

2016

"The assessment day consists of in-tray exercises and a mock client interview. After the vac scheme, there is a final interview. Be open, friendly and show a genuine interest in the firm and its practice areas. Ultimately, the firm is looking to keep its trainees on qualification so they are looking for people they would want to work with."
First year trainee, London
"There's an assessment centre and an interview. Prepare for the interview by knowing your CV inside out because the interviewers really focus on your achievements."
Second year trainee, London
"There's an interview and presentation. Work hard on your presentation and make it something you are genuinely passionate about."
Second year trainee, Surrey
"They recruit heavily from the vacation scheme so try to get on one of them."
First year trainee, London
"Really know your CV and why you want to apply to the firm and why you are a particularly good fit. Try to make your experience fit the core practice areas of the firm."
First year trainee, Cambridge
"Make sure you know where the firm falls within the legal market, which firms are its key competitors and who its key clients are. It's also good to know about the sectors that this firm is particularly strong in and the sort of work that you will be involved in as a trainee. As cliched as it sounds, my main tip is just to be yourself – the interview process is as much designed to help you to work out if you like the firm as it is for the firm to decide if it likes you."
First year trainee, Oxford
"I completed an application form and a half-day assessment for the vacation scheme followed by the scheme itself. Then there was an interview with a couple of tasks attached (presentation and drafting). I would advise researching the firm and trying to do a vacation scheme, information day or similar if you can. Be honest in the interview and be prepared to talk about yourself as a person."
First year trainee, Basingstoke

2015

"The firm runs assessment days for candidates who get past the initial application form stage. This includes a partner and HR interview, a client interview exercise, a written exercise and a presentation. Candidates would usually be given information ahead of the day to enable them to prepare, but I would suggest doing research into the firm, its clients and the type of work it does. I would also suggest brushing up on commercial awareness, and having some good questions to ask the HR team, partners and trainees throughout the process."
First year trainee, Basingstoke
"I had two interviews and a short written test with the firm. My advice would be to relax as I felt building a rapport with the interviewers was more important than any specific knowledge."
First year trainee, Oxford
"I completed the vacation scheme. On the last day of this there was an in-tray exercise, client interviewing and team exercise. You should know why you want to work here and try to get some up-to-date inside information if you can."
First year trainee, Surrey
"The firm now employs an assessment day format. I recommend that you learn about the main departments in the firm and what sectors/industries they specialise in. You should find a particular area of law in which you are interested, but remain open to other areas. If you know who may be interviewing you, learn a bit about them and what they do or have done at the firm. Most importantly, though, learn about yourself and show this knowledge throughout the process."
First year trainee, London
"I found that the firm tends to like candidates with some work experience; even if it is not within law. A high proportion of the current trainees have several years of work experience post-university."
First year trainee, London
"After assisting with the vacation scheme interviews I have seen both points of view in the recruitment process. You should be sure of why you would like to work for Penningtons Manches: just reeling off a list of things you saw on the website always comes off as insincere."
First year trainee, Guildford
"You should read up as much as you can on publications written by partners in the departments that interest you."
Second year trainee, Oxford
Our 'Insider 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 Insider Reviews material lies solely with GTI Media.
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