Can anyone give me any pointers? I’ve got an interview and I need to be ultra-ultra prepared… what’s going to come up !!!
You need to be prepared for anything in the Slaughter and May interview. They are a highly professional company with some exceptionally bright candidates and interviewers. I know that they don’t really go in for psychometrics and other silly exams (to their credit) and they like to actually have conversations with candidates!!
You need to be well read (in terms of both current affairs and long term political and commerical knowledge/history). I would advise you to be reading the economist, reuters, bloomberg and legal press daily before your interview. Frankly though, at Slaughters your interviewer could ask you about anything. You need to be as sharp as a pin to do well… all I can suggest is try to bring up topics/swing the conversation round to topics that you generally know about, rather than letting the interviewer bring up topics that could range from Chinese modern art to literally anythig else. …good luck mate!!!
It’s really not that tough. Yes, I got rejected, but I don’t think for any reason other than that the competition was so strong.
My interview lasted 20 mins - again, I don’t think this was because I was bad (although I’m sure some of you pinheads will cuss me) - and I’ve heard lots of people have interviews that last a similar time to this.
I got the impression that Slaughters hire sharp intelligent people that they got on with. Your application should details your academic history after all, so the interview should just be a chance for partners to see if you are a decent additionto the firm (i.e if your personality would mean you’d get on with other staff and more importantly to them, would mean you’d get on with clients!!).
Don’t worry to much about Slaughter. It’s one of those things you either do well in, or you don’t. There’s not much you can prepare, apart from getting good sleep, turnign up on time, being polite, assertive, outgoing, confident and highly charged (academicly - obviously I’m not suggesting you poke your interviewer and turn up with a massive boner. On seconds thoughts, try that, I’d love to hear about it!!)…
All I know is that they reject you via email!!! …something I;m pretty sure I’ll be getting after I asked the dullest dumbest questions in the interview and never really got a chance to say anything very constructive, articulate or interesting…! Sob!!!
It’s a bloody great firm though and a beautiful building. I don’t know why they have it, but there are painting everywhere that are very effective in creating a very dominating but impressive atmosphere. It’s cool. The interviewers were nice too so I can’t even criticise them… I let myself down!!! sob sob sob!!!
Yep. Sounds like your really f-ed that one up!!!
- Be ready to explain/defend any part of your CV
- Read the FT and/or the Daily Telegraph
- Slaughters is different from other MC firms because they concentrate on quality of end product rather than target hours etc
Have you interviewed at Slaughters? Can you tell us what the interview process is like… how many interviews there are and what happens in them?
Also, why do you need to read the FT - what kind of questions do they ask you?
I’ve heard of people working crazy hours at Slaughters - are you sure they don’t bill on hours like other firms?!
Thank you for your help!!!
I did. Got it.
There is only one interview. An informal (but important, for you) chat to see what you’re like. No psycometric testing, personality profiling or trick questions.
Read the FT in case you are asked to discuss current affairs.
I didn’t say they don’t bill on hours, just that lawyers there have no target number of hours to bill.
Hours no more crazy than any other MC / SC.
Good luck with the interview.
Sounds good to me …where else did you apply? Any tips for Lovells and Allen & Overy? …I’d like to remind everyone we also have a wiki profile about Training Contracts at Slaughter and May, here - Slaughter and May | WikiJob !
At Slaughter’s I really appreciated the opportunity to talk to the people interviewing me on a human level. There was no interrogation or intimidation and I left feeling that if nothing else, they had gained an honest impression of who I was and what I was like. I liked both partners immensely and appreciated the responses they made to my questions; they came across as interesting, kind and approachable.
However, I felt frustrated after the interview. I felt as if I’d met two terribly nice people but then behaved like a twit and jabbered about myself for quite a long time. I also felt that although I’d said a lot about myself, I hadn’t really ‘shone’ or answered the one difficult question particularly brilliantly.
That question was how I might like to improve the state school system… I spent the next week kicking myself and thinking of things I wished I’d said!
I didn’t interview anywhere else, so I don’t have anything to compare the experience to, but I hope this helps.
…importantly did you get the job?! …Can you tell us any more about the interview? Specific questions etc? What was the firm like - people (other than partners) and company itself (building/style, etc)… interested to hear back!!
Yes, I did get the job. Or the training contract, to be more precise!
Although my account of the interview above may seem as if I’m missing a lot out, I’m not. It would be worthless to report the questions I was asked as they were all informed by my CV and covering letter. Even the question about the state school system which I’ve mentioned was sparked by something I’d mentioned on my CV. Here’s a bit more, if I can remember correctly.
They did ask whether I knew much about solicitor’s firms (I don’t) and how much I knew about what they specifically did (not very much, but have received a great impression of the firm from a couple of people I’d asked). They asked why I hadn’t done any vacation schemes (had no interest/was very put off by the t***s who did them) and how I felt about the bar, as I’d done a couple of mini-pupillages (was worried about how interesting the work actually was outside the courtroom). They seemed to love their jobs and thought the best bits about the firm were the people who worked there and the interesting nature of the work.
What I can say is that I do not have the sort of stellar, terrifying CV I might have expected as standard for a firm like Slaughter and May. Although I did go to Oxford (non-law), I didn’t get a first and prior to that I went to a very ordinary comp. I’m not straight out of university and spent a couple of years pottering around indulging myself in various useless, impractical and unprofitable activities. Yes, there’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s the bones of it. So draw your own conclusions!
I will try and say a bit more about the whole thing. The application and interview process was very straightforward. I waited in reception for a while and was then shown into a room with two partners; one lady and one gentleman. I think the interview took about an hour and they were extremely genial; like I said before, no interrogation or intimidation. Just a conversation. For anyone who applied to Oxford, the closest example I can think of is the personal interview there. I didn’t go into detail about anything on my CV as I felt that I’d been pretty comprehensive and self-explanatory in my application. I brought things up unprompted and also asked questions, which they didn’t seem to mind - I’m serious when I say it was a conversation, not an interrogation. I don’t think they’re looking for right answers, or a particular person but rather someone on their wavelength. I was completely honest and felt very at ease; I left feeling that even if I hadn’t got the job it would have been the right decision because they’d got a very truthful impression of me.
I got a bit nervous and tongue-tied towards the end, because I arrived at the sudden realisation that this was my dream job about the same time that I said ‘bollocks’. So felt pretty miserable. Anyway, was shown the door and then introduced to a trainee who gave me a tour of the premises. Trainee was was v.friendly and approachable. Loved his job (everyone I asked did!).
I don’t have anything to compare the building to, as I’ve never been inside a solicitor’s firm before. Just a straightforward office, really - nothing flash although lots of natural light, which is nice. Great to see that Soames’ legacy lives on. The reading room on the top floor has a great view of the city. The canteen is quite like a canteen and staffed by a charming girl when I was there. Everything seems very new and modern. There is some driftwoodesque sculpture in the atrium which was quite pleasant I think… Look, it does the job. It’s an office.
After the tour, which didn’t take very long we had a coffee in the canteen and the trainee asked about my interview; I asked about their interview and any other interviews they’d had (they hadn’t). They’d interviewed at Slaughter’s and just accepted straight away when they made the offer (as I also did).
After coffee, I had a chat to the lady in HR who’d arranged my interview. She just asked how it had all gone and explained when I’d hear and what the process was re:law school etc. etc.
I left feeling that I’d had an interesting experience, but that I hadn’t got the training contract. Shows how much I know.
I thought I would post my interview experience at Slaughter and May on this board, as I found wikijob incredibly helpful before my interview, and wanted to help!
My interview wasn’t at the Slaughter and May office, but in Oxford, they came up for two days (I believe) to carry out a batch of interviews.
First, I had a small chat with Charlotte Houghton (Head of HR) which really helped to put me at ease before the interview.
After which I was taken into a room with two partners, where I was offered a drink and they asked a few ‘off the record’ questions to put me at ease.
They then went through my CV and asked extensive questions on why I had chosen certain A Levels and my degree subject (I’m non-law) etc… and we had a long chat about my extra-curriculars and the travelling that I have done. I was made to feel incredibly at ease, and it just felt like a really nice chat!
Having prepared extensively on Northern Rock (My interview was in April, I think), I was actually asked about international politics, and questionned on my views. I got the feeling that they wanted to see if I could back my ideas up and have my own opinions. I also got the feeling, as I tried to steer conversations to things I had swotted up on, that they wanted to take me out of my comfort zone to see how I’d react to what they threw at me.
I was given the chance to ask questions, and was pleased with what they told me about the firm.
All in all, it was an incredibly pleasant experience, I gained a real rapport with the partners, and we all even cracked a few jokes! I felt as though it wasn’t really an interview but a chat that was just as much about them singinging the praises of Slaughter and May as it was me singing my own praises! At the end I felt as though even if I hadn’t got the job, I had enjoyed the experience.
After my interview I had a de-brief with Charlotte Houghton, which was again very pleasant (Don’t disregard this de-brief, I’m sure she has just as much say in the decision as the partners so don’t let your guard down!)
Like tubby_b this was my only interview at a law firm. I hadn’t done a VS and was planning on applying to other firms if I didn’t get a TC with Slaughter and May (which luckily I did).
My advice is to just be yourself in the Slaughter and May interview and try to build up a rapport with the partners. Think through what you say carefully, and take your time to construct arguments. If they disagree with you, do not back down (unless they have pointed out a massive flaw in your argument - you don’t want to be stubborn!). Also, it was very informal but don’t be too relaxed, they are probably testing how you would behave informally in front of clients.
Like 2jammy, I found this discussion board really helpful while I was preparing for my Slaughter and May interview, so I thought I should write down my experiences. Unfortunately I didn’t get the training contract, but to be honest I thought I hadn’t done enough at the interview to convince them to employ me.
The actual interview was really relaxed. I was very nervous on the journey down and had done a lot of preparation and research. It turned out that all of this - the nerves, the preparation and the research - was rather pointless! The building was really lovely, and on arrival the receptionist took me upstairs to a waiting area and gave me a newspaper article to read that I would later discuss during the interview. It was quite a short article about storing people’s information on government databases. I was then greeted by two Partners who interviewed me. All I can say is that they made me feel really at ease. In fact I wonder whether this was half of my problem, that I felt too at ease. They were very conversational: we spoke about the cold weather for a bit and whether I had come from a long way etc. There then followed quite a bit of chat about my CV: what I was doing at the moment (I graduated last year and am on something of a year out), where I went to uni and did I enjoy it, what I like in my spare time etc. It was all very relaxed: one of the Partners told an amusing story about him playing the piano when younger - it really was nothing like I expected. Then they talked about my degree for a while (History) - the modules I had chosen and why; what I had learned…I think they were looking for enthusiasm about studying or something.
I think the area I let myself down on was convincing them that I wanted the job enough. It is something I really kicked myself over because I really DID want S&M more than any other of the MC firms. I hadn’t got any vacation experience or anything, although I’m planning on getting some this year. They asked me how I could be certain I wanted to do law when I had not experienced it. It was a very good question because the answer is of course that I COULD NOT KNOW whether I would like it or not with no experience, and it would sound really obnoxious to insist that I would like it. I mumbled a lot about my enthusiasm for learning new things and that I had researched lawyers’ roles enough to think I would like it. But I don’t think they were impressed. If I hadn’t felt as relaxed, I think I would have added a lot more (unnecessary) talk (which probably would have been better), saying things like “look, Slaughter and May is my firm of choice and I really want this job”, “I would work my absolute hardest” and “I really admire S&M over the other firms because blah blah blah”. I just don’t think I took the opportunity to show off all my research on the topic. Anyway, all that aside, we then talked about the newspaper article. They agreed on all my comments which was rather good, and questioned me a bit about my views, which they then agreed with, so I felt pretty happy about that.
After asking me if I had any questions I was then shown round the offices by a rather posh trainee, who had graduated from Oxford but told me I shouldn’t feel ‘too disadvantaged’ because I wasn’t Oxbridge! But he was really nice actually, and we had a coffee in the cafeteria after the tour. He seemed to like his job very much, although he said his typical working day was 8am-8pm and there wasn’t much time for a life outside the office. So that’s about all of my experience. I’m really gutted I didn’t get the training contract actually. If I could give advice I would say try not to feel relaxed to the extent that you forget this is your ONLY chance to impress S&M. Although it is all very nice that there are no tests/group exercises etc, it means that you have to really shine at the interview. This is very difficult when they don’t ask you taxing questions and seem all too nice to be interviewers! It is therefore up to YOU to show off your potential. I think this is where I went wrong, as I overanalysed my performance in the days after the interview!!
Anyway, good luck for anyone going for an interview there - hope you get the job and hope this has been vaguely helpful!!
Excellent post - unlucky about S&M - have you had/got other offers/interviews?
I had an interview with S & M on thursday, so I’ll post my experience (I haven’t recieved a call yet, hopefully by Monday I’ll know one way or the other)
Getting in quite tired (I’d done quite a bit of flying around in the previous week) I had a coffee in the pub just down the road (Artillery Arms I think?) and waited until about 25 minutes before my interview to go in and introduce myself to the reception staff. They were really polite and I was ushered upstairs with an A4 laminated printout of a newspaper article to read and analyse. About 3 minutes after my interview was due to start I was greeted by an affable looking partner and brought through to a board-room/office. You can’t help but feel nervous as they (a male and female partner) sit down opposite you, but a quick drink of water from the stylish branded jugs and a few pleasantries and we were away. The interview didn’t seem to follow a linear course, instead I was asked about a variety of subjects, including:
- My secondary school education
- My A levels/GCSE’s
- My degree subject, including my dissertation topic
- The Roman occupation of Britain (a diversion from my dissertation topic that lasted about 10 minutes and made me feel a bit like a history lecturer)
- Slaughter & May and what made me particularly interested in them
- The dreaded “why do you want to be a lawyer” question
- My university activities, my university and why I wanted to come back to London
All this lasted about 45 minutes and I felt I rambled a bit, which I put down to nerves. It seemed to me one of the partners would actively engage me in a topic, asking open-ended or otherwise very specific questions, while the other observed and occasionally jumped in to change the topic. They altered whose turn it was to do this, so you definitely can’t predict what the next question is going to be. All this is presented as a nice friendly chat though, so it’s hard to criticise their interest in you.
We moved on to the laminated article I’d been given, and I was asked to summarise it and give my views upon it. I found this quite easy to do, and the whole interview became less questioning and more relaxed. The whole interview took about an hour to do (something my trainee guide commented on - apparently it can vary quite a bit). One of the most disconcerting things I found was the pen and pad of paper placed in front of you. I spent most of my time gesticulating and talking, and at the end noticed all I had done was draw a singularly unimpressive doodle in the top right-hand corner.
Then I had a walk around with a trainee, in his third seat in my case. I enjoyed this much more than the interview, we had a coffee and he showed me around. The whole time you’re there you are aware there are some incredibly intelligent people floating round the place - it was nice to be able to get to know one of them over a coffee and ask a few questions. I think they enjoy it as well, one student to another.
Then I was dropped off by the trainee and had a quick tete a tete with the HR lady, who invited me to give feedback then - totally unexpectedly - gave me a quick 5 minute version of the interview I’d had upstairs! I was quite taken aback but then again it was a lot less formal and went really smoothly from my perspective. So that was my experience, I retired to the pub again for another coffee and went home.
I had my TC interview at Slaughters in the last few days. I found this website useful during my preparations and will post a brief summary of my experience.
Like nine8nine, I arrived an hour early, but instead of retiring to a pub, I decamped to the Barbican and had a cup of tea, where I went through some notes and had a quick scan of the FT.
I arrived 25 minutes before the start time, and was given an article to read. Everyone was really polite throughout, the HR staff and the partners themselves really couldn’t have done anything more to put me at ease.
Once in interview, I was asked:
About my degree: why I had done it, what I enjoyed about it, why I picked the University I had chosen.
About my previous career history: why I had one the things I had done, what I had got out of them.
Why commercial law. Why Slaughter and May in particular.
About my wider interests, what I do for fun.
I had thought in some detail about what I would say in response to these questions previously. I would recommend that you sit down and really think about what to put on your CV. My covering letter was barely mentioned. Make sure you can get into a discussion about items on your CV in case they decide to challenge you on one of it’s features. I felt that my performance in this section of the interview was adequate. No real problems. Again, if you have prepared and thought about your application, this should not present a problem.
Then we moved onto the article, and this set up a discussion about the financial crisis and global financial regulation. This is the real challenge of the interview. Partners want to see people who can back up their ideas in argument, who answer questions with good responses and can generally think on their feet. For me, this was the most challenging part of the interview, but I managed to swing the discussion round to a topic I was more comfortable with. In your preparation, just make sure you have a good grasp of current events. Read the papers, not just the FT, as they might choose a non-business/finance article.
Then you can ask some questions.
After the interview I was given a brief tour. Again, the trainee was polite and helpful.
Finally, there is a 10 minute debrief with someone from HR. The lady I was assigned was very pleasant and I enjoyed the chat very much. They will ask substantive questions though, so don’t treat it as a casual chat - you are still being interviewed! This is a good opportunity to ask about their training schemes and about when you can expect to hear back from them.
Overall, I had a great experience at Slaughter and May. However, the competition is so fierce that I rate my chances of obtaining a contract as very slim indeed. In some of my answers I tended to ramble, to such an extent that I felt that, on reflection, I was no longer answering the question they had asked me. I think I could have been sharper on the article discussion, as well.
Anyway, I hope this helps future applicants. It is a fantastic firm with an excellent interview process. It really gives the opportunity to paint an honest picture of yourself.
Just had an interview at slaughters… not what i expected. Mine wasn’t the most relaxed of affairs, i had two partners playing good-cop bad-cop with me for around an hour. Quite pressured and intimidating, be prepared to stick up for yourself, you need to be able to back up everything on your CV / Covering Letter (which incidentally must be perfect). Newspaper exercise can be more difficult than it sounds, you need to remain calm and do the simple things first, so when they ask you to summarise it, say 3 clear sentences about the content and argument… then expand. They will play devils advocate to see how well you can back up your opinions.
From speaking to a friend who had an interview with them it seems our experiences were fairly similar, so I think that the nature / ‘friendliness’ of your interview very much depends on which partners are interviewing you.
My overall feeling was that I did ok, but will not have got the TC, competition is fierce, and I cannot help but feel like a couple of small mistakes in the interview can really cost you. Awaiting a verdict on my application…
hi spacemonkey, had an interview at slaughter’s last friday, have you heard back from them yet/do you know the average waiting time? thanks!
woops i meant to reply your post! best of luck for the outcome!