Increased competition forces firms to tighten selection procedures

A number of firms have been overhauling their selection procedures in a bid to weed out weak candidates as competition for training contracts remains high.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), for instance, has added two new exercises to its recruitment process to test for “intellectual ability”.

BLP’s graduate recruitment manager Claire England said: “Previously our assessment centre didn’t test intellectual rigour to the level that we now require so we’ve added these extra tests to make sure we get the best candidates possible.”

Students who take part in the firm’s summer vacation scheme will have to take part in a simulated task involving running a virtual law firm.

Meanwhile, all other short-listed candidates will have to complete a 45-minute case study in order to secure a place at an assessment day.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper has introduced what it calls a visual accuracy test where students, who have successfully completed an assessment day, are given a contract to correct for spelling and grammatical errors.

DLA Piper’s graduate recruitment executive Claire Evans said: “We asked partners what was the thing they really wanted to improve on and they said attention to detail and that’s why we have focused on this.”

The firm is also looking at rolling out a business simulation exercise, which it piloted on its summer vacation scheme in Birmingham last year. It hopes to include the test at vacation schemes it runs across the rest of the country.

Elsewhere, LG is conducting a comprehensive review of its selection procedure, which currently comprises a panel interview and lunch.

LG’s new graduate recruitment partner Geoffrey Gouriet said: “At the moment we’re looking at possible alternatives to beef up our selection process in order to make it more scientific and a broader test of the skills we’re looking for.”

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