How you can make a good impression at your interview with Baker McKenzie
If you get through to the interview stage with Baker McKenzie, you will have already impressed recruiters with your application and in the online tests. This means the firm already knows you are a high-calibre candidate; the interview stages are about finding out more about you as a person. It’s therefore important for you to have the confidence to be yourself.
Preparing for Baker McKenzie’s video interview
Once a candidate has completed the online tests, they are invited to take part in a strengths-based video interview. This is designed to find out how they like to work and what they enjoy doing, in order to assess their suitability for a trainee solicitor role.
To make sure you present your best self at video interviews you should take the time beforehand to familiarise yourself with the format of the interview. You may be able to find practice video interviews to complete online. You’ll only have a certain amount of time to answer the questions, so practice sticking to a strict time limit. Keep in mind that, like with a face-to-face interview, presentation is important. Choose a quiet, well-lit location with a strong internet connection to carry out the interview, and dress as you would for a face-to-face interview.
The Baker McKenzie assessment centre
If you get through the video interview stage, you will be invited to the Baker McKenzie assessment centre. Before you turn up for the Baker McKenzie assessment day, make sure you do the following:
- Review the interview process so you’re comfortable with what will be involved.
- Take a look at the employees featured in Baker McKenzie’s graduate website and use this to identify the dress code and plan your interview outfit: you should keep things formal.
On the day
When you arrive for the assessment day, make sure you’re polite and friendly to everyone you meet; Baker McKenzie place a heavy emphasis on their ‘culture of friendship’, so a good first impression is vital.
The stages you can expect include:
- a group exercise
- a case study interview
- a competency-based interview
- a document checking exercise
How you can impress during the group exercise
Each member of the group will be given a mock business scenario to read through individually before discussing as a group. You will be judged on your contributions to the group and how well you work as part of a team.
What to expect from the case study interview?
The case study interview, conducted by two partners, is said to cover the following:
- 30 minutes to read through a business case study individually. Everyone will be given the same case study regardless of whether they have studied law or a non-law subject.
- Discussing your observations, opinions and thoughts on the problem.
The partners will look for evidence of your problem-solving abilities, good commercial instincts and ability to discuss a client scenario confidently. The important thing to remember is that this exercise is designed to examine your thought processes and assess the above qualities and your potential as a successful lawyer, rather than your existing legal knowledge. You’ll need to show flexibility of thought; if what the interviewer says causes you to change your opinion then say so and explain why. Don’t back down too easily though: be confident and persuasive but show that you are willing to adapt. Explain each step of your thought process to Baker McKenzie’s interviewers.
How to answer Baker McKenzie’s competency-based interview questions
The next interview, conducted by as associate, covers:
- The candidate’s achievements, work experience and extra-curricular interests.
- The skills and qualities needed to be successful at Baker McKenzie.
Show your motivation to work in law and with Baker McKenzie throughout the assessment day
You’ll already have covered some of this in your application form, but particularly in the associate interview you’ll be required to expand on what you wrote and make it really clear that you understand Baker McKenzie and the training scheme. This is a good time to bring up your research about the firm and talk about some of their cases and transactions. Talk about why these subjects interest you and why you think you’d be suited to the work involved. It’s also a good idea to show that you’re aware of the sorts of seats that will be available to you, such as employment law; emphasise the kind of experience they could give you.
Remember to ask questions
At the end of the interview you will likely be given an opportunity to ask the employers a few questions. This is not just a chance to get some more information about the job: you can impress by asking thoughtful questions that demonstrate enthusiasm and intellect.
A good idea is to incorporate your research around Baker McKenzie into the question. For example, you may want to mention a particular case, and ask about the level and type of input trainees had in the case. If you know who your interviewer will be, look them up online and research some of the cases or transactions they’ve been involved in and then ask them about the trainee input on those cases; this will show that you’ve gone the extra mile in your research. You could also ask about particular aspects of the trainee scheme, but make sure that the information isn’t already available on the Baker McKenzie website.
What’s involved in the document checking exercise
The final stage of the assessment centre is a document checking exercise, where you’ll be asked to carefully inspect a document and check for any errors. For this exercise, the key skills you’ll need are accuracy, attention to detail and analytical skills. Baker McKenzie emphasises that this is not a test of your legal knowledge, as such you’ll most likely be looking for inconsistencies and spelling and grammar mistakes. If you’re not confident in your spelling and grammar knowledge, make sure you brush up before the assessment day.