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Hints and tips

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Our Early Careers team want you to feel as comfortable and as well-informed as possible when submitting an application. Please see our top tips for how to perform at your best. 

Stage 1: Online Application Form

Our application form asks for a breakdown of your academic achievements to date, any work experience (both legal and non-legal), and a 750 word personal statement split into two questions. The personal statement makes up the bulk of the application form. When preparing a response for the two questions, you should make sure that you are clearly outlining your knowledge of DWF, what you think makes DWF different and also what transferrable skills you have gained which are relevant for the role of a trainee solicitor. 

With the 750 word count, you must decide which information markets you, your abilities and why you are a good candidate in the most relevant way. You might have to leave some information out, but you will have the chance to showcase these at latter stages of the recruitment process.

Think about why you want this position. Do you know enough about DWF and/or the role to draft your application? If not, more research might be needed! Follow our Instagram page for live updates or see pages or our website which are regularly updated, such as the Press Centre. 

Make sure that you are answering the question that you are being asked, not the question that you want to answer! This is a common error that we see. Remember that if you are successful at this stage, you will be able to tell us even more about yourself at later stages.

Proof-reading is key, but make sure that you do it when you will be most effective. Try and leave a few days from drafting until proof-reading; this allows your brain to forget what it has written, which means you are less likely to skim read and more likely to spot errors.

Make sure that your application is clear and concise. Drafting is such an important skill and we will be assessing this within your application.

We are proud to be using Rare Recruitment's Contextual Recruitment System (CRS), which allows us to consider your academic achievements in the context in which you gained them. We understand that not every candidate's achievements look the same on paper and we want to recruit the best people, from all backgrounds. For most of our locations, this will appear on your application form. We recommend answering these questions and opting in if you are comfortable to do so.


more top tips on how to market yourself

Stage 2: Video Interview

Should you be successful at application stage then you will be invited to complete a video interview. Video interviews are nerve-racking but they are a great opportunity to put your personality across and to show why you are interested in the role.

The video interview should take around twenty minutes to complete, and you will be asked a series of timed questions that you can record responses to in your own time.

We use a platform named Shortlister who we have specifically chosen because of the support that they offer to candidates. This includes:

Having access to a variety of practice interviews through Shortlist.Me. You can practice these interviews as many times as you like, until you feel confident enough to attempt the real interview.

If you are nervous about seeing yourself on camera, consider using the blur screen function. This won't impact how we see you, but it will mean that you are not put off by seeing yourself whilst filming.

Advice: When recording a video interview, always try and link back to the question, the role of a trainee solicitor or why your answer is relevant for DWF.


Read our helpful blog post on video interviews

Stage 3: Assessment Centre

If you are successful at video interview stage, then you will be invited to an assessment centre, which is a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for DWF. The day consists of a group exercise, a strengths-based interview and an exercise that will assess your attention to detail. There will also be an opportunity to network informally with the assessors.

This is your opportunity to show the assessors what you understand about DWF and our unique business model. Make sure that you understand this before joining us at the assessment day.


Read our blog post on what to expect at a DWF assessment centre

Stage 4: Vacation Scheme

Should you be successful post assessment centre, you will be invited to attend a two-week vacation scheme at one of our offices. 

Consider keeping a journal or a record of what you have learnt at the end of each day. This will help you at the end of the scheme when you are looking back and reflecting on your experience, and will also help with any preparation for the final stage assessment.   


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT our vacation scheme

Stage 5: Meet the Leaders

The final stage of the recruitment process is a networking morning where you will meet with members of our senior leadership team, which may include practice group partners, location heads and our operational directors.

Here we are looking to assess your ability to work in a team, how you might respond in a client-facing scenario and finally your knowledge of DWF.

Before this stage, you should reflect on the knowledge of DWF that you have built up over the recruitment process and plan some questions for the assessors that reflect your knowledge and expertise.

This will help to demonstrate that you understand our business and that you are excited at the prospect of joining us.

Get more hints and tips

Read our useful blogs

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How to ace a group exercise

Group exercises can be tricky, but an enjoyable part of an assessment centre process. Read our tips on how best to succeed in a group exercise scenario.
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