Clifford Chance trials video game test for trainee applications

Clifford Chance will begin using a video game to test the mettle of its trainee applicants should a trial prove successful, Lawyer 2B has learned.

Vacation scheme students at the magic circle firm have been asked to try out the video game and feed back to the firm.

video game

Graduate recruitment manager Jackie Trench declined to elaborate on the contents of the video game, stating it would “defeat the purpose” if candidates knew exactly what they were being tested on.

However, Lawyer 2B understands the game tests the tenacity and perseverance of potential trainees, as well as how they respond under pressure.

Trench said Clifford Chance was “looking at innovative ways to update our processes and make sure we’re always getting the best possible candidates” with the new software.

The video game is expected to be rolled out to trainee candidates next year if the trial is a success. It will run alongside the firm’s existing psychometric tests.

A Clifford Chance spokesperson said the firm has “always used psychometric testing” as a “sifting tool” for trainee applicants. The firm abolished its verbal reasoning tests in favour of critical reasoning a couple of years ago.

Typically firms use psychometric tests to measure a candidate’s ability to identify problems and problem solve, their understanding of the importance of evidence when making conclusions, and the ability to differentiate between inferences, abstractions and generalisations.

Clifford Chance’s recent move to use the video game software comes as more law firms look at how they recruit and support their most junior lawyers.

Video interviews for aspiring trainees are now increasingly common, after first being piloted in 2014. Meanwhile, Reed Smith has overhauled its approach to selecting trainees and vacation scheme students, switching its process to strength-based assessment in a bid to find candidates who display eight key qualities.

Firms including Clifford Chance, Ashurst and CMS Cameron McKenna have in recent years introduced “blind allocation” for associates in a bid to make distribution of work more fair and remove unconscious bias from the process.

City firms have also been rushing to boost trainee, NQ and associate pay in order to lure the top talent away from US firms. This June Clifford Chance put trainee pay up 3.5 per cent, with first-year salaries boosted from £42,000 to £43,500, while the second-year salary jumped from £47,300 to £49,000. It did, however, announce that it will be reducing its trainee numbers from 100 to 80 per year.

On the new video game software, a spokesperson said: “There have been no changes to way we recruit our trainees. We are fully focused on finding the best quality candidates and there are many tools on the market to assist firms to do this.

“We are asking for feedback on an accredited psychometric test in the form of a game, which could offer unique insight into candidates’ decision making abilities – it is not part of our current recruitment process therefore the results of the tests are for feedback purposes only and will have no impact on whether a candidate is successful.”