The mock interviews at Barclays went well. I thought they were a good insight in to what to expect at law firm interviews. We had 2 different types of interviews which were very helpful and eye opening. I also got advice on my CV and how to improve it. I would recommend this for any future candidates.
We each had two 45 minute interviews with a 15 minute break between each interview. The interview format was 30 minutes for questions from interviewer to interviewee, 5 minutes for questions from interviewee to interviewer, and then an additional 10 minutes for feedback from the interviewer about how the interview went.
In my first interview I was interviewed by Sarah Hannan, who works in-house in Global Markets at Barclays. She started the interview by introducing herself, describing what her job entails and explaining that much of what the bank does links back to the work that her department does. Her first question to me was to describe my education history and how that has led me to pursue a career in law. My answer to that question was fairly extensive and actually answered a couple of the questions she planned on asking me as a follow up to that question. As a result, for the following question she asked me to talk about any stories in the news or in the financial world that had caught my eye. In answer to that question I spoke about alternative business structures and their implications for the legal market. Next, she asked me to name a key skill a lawyers need to have, to which I said attention to detail and explained why I thought that. Finally she asked me where I saw myself in the future. I answered by talking about my passion for sport and wanting to combine that with my desire to become a lawyer and as such hopefully working within the sports practice of a reputable firm in future. I then asked her about her experiences in the legal profession thus far and why she chose to work in-house at Barclays and also if she advocated starting a legal career working in-house.
The structure of the interview was somewhat different to the ones I have had in the past, with this one seeming more like me telling a story about my life, rather than being given the typical competency questions and some commercial awareness questions. However that did not make this interview any less useful and as Sarah pointed out to me at the end, different interviewers will have different styles. While many may stick to the usual template of competency question after competency question, others will simply try to find out more about you as an individual in order to ascertain if you as a person are suited to the company and are a good team fit. As such, I found this interview very helpful.
For my second interview I was interviewed by Rafael Vilaplana, who is legal counsel for Restructuring & Recoveries in Barclays. The first question was why I had decided to pursue a career in law having studied History at university. This was followed up with what skills I think are important in the legal profession. I was then asked 'what do you think of banks?' to which I answered by speaking about the banking crisis, bankers’ bonuses and the role and level of blame that lay with the banks and my opinion on that. I was then asked why I want to work in-house at Barclays. After that question I was given a scenario where I am an in-house lawyer at Barclays who has been asked by a client of the bank to carry out a perfectly legal transaction for them, however the bank does not want me to carry out the order for the person and have communicated this to me and also informed me that they are perfectly within their rights to do that, what do I do? This question caught me off-guard, but after requesting a few minutes to think about it, I came up with an answer. Rafael then asked me what do I think are the biggest problems facing the global markets, what motivates me in life, what is my opinion on working late hours, weekends and holidays and also asked me to describe a time where I have had to make a difficult decision under pressure. In addition he also presented me with one more scenario, where it is 7pm in the evening and everybody else in my department has gone home, however a client calls and urgently needs some legal advice on a deal he is going to finalise the following morning. Though you are 90% sure you know the answer to the question, you are just a junior member of the team and there is of course still a small element of doubt in your mind. What do you do? I then asked Rafael the same questions I asked Sarah.
The structure of this interview was more like the ones I have had in the past, however the questions were more challenging than those I have had before. That said I was glad he asked me difficult questions as they forced me to think on my feet in a way I haven't had to do in previous interviews and this was definitely useful practice for future interviews.
Thank you again to Barclays for giving us this opportunity.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to attend today's session.
It went fantastically well, and I was able to use the feedback from my first session to have a very confident second interview. My first interviewer was impressed (though I didn't feel it went nearly as well as the second); he gave me his business card and wants me to stay in touch, which I definitely will do. My second interviewer is a BLD Foundation LLP Alumni, who works with Barclays as a paralegal. He was very kind and gave me wonderful feedback which really bolstered my confidence.
The questions I was asked were a good range. Some were challenging and unexpected which was great practice.
My interviewers were from completely different backgrounds, which was good as I learnt how they started their career in law.
My interviewers made me feel at ease to ensure that I got the most out of my practice interviews.
My interviewers gave me some great advice as to how to approach interviews and how to deal with the more difficult questions.
They also gave me excellent advice on what I specifically should be doing to prepare and the types on commercial awareness stories I should be up to date with.
I found the mock interview extremely helpful, I received excellent feedback from two experienced professionals. The afternoon was structured very well, it was great to have people from various departments and various levels at Barclays involved. The quality of the questions were great, they were exactly what I would expect at a training contract interview and they even offered to tailor it to particular firms we were interested in.
Thank you for the opportunity.
There were four of us in a room. The interviewers sat opposite us and briefly introduced themselves. They were very friendly and tried to put us at ease.
First round - each student was given one interviewer and taken into a different room. My first interviewer asked me mainly questions about my chosen firms, asking why I had chosen American over English law firms. It was quite relaxed and she was very friendly. The interview lasted 20 minutes and she gave me feedback on my performance in the last 15 minutes.
Second interview- she was a lot tougher and threw in some curve ball questions. Her questions were more structured around corporate awareness and issues I’ve read about in the newspapers. Her feedback wasn't as detailed as I wanted but overall she was very nice.
The feedback was useful for the kinds of questions training contract interviews might entail. Both my interviewers were very friendly and the mock interview was a good base to start my practice for the real thing.
We were briefed about how the afternoon would be run. The time per interview was fine however as interviewers had a choice of questions.
The quality of questions was excellent as they were hard and really required you to listen, which is good as training contract interviews are generally hard.
I found it very beneficial and the feedback given was invaluable. The interviewers were very constructive as they gave tips on what you did well and areas that need improvement. This experience gave me an insight on what to expect from a training contract interview, which is invaluable as I have not yet had one.
This really has been one of the most beneficial opportunities that I have had so far as I have not experienced a real interview yet (but then I think that about every new opportunity that BLD Foundation presents me with!). So, thank you as ever for putting this together, it has truly been invaluable.
The structure of the afternoon consisted of two one to one interview sessions, each with a different lawyer from Barclays. I was happy that the questions reflected what would realistically be included in an interview including the introductory ‘why law’ and the competency based questions. These helped me to ease into the interview and increase my confidence through practice.
Having two opportunities to interview meant that I was able to gain a better insight into the different types of question and interview styles that I may be faced with. For example, Adip made a conscious effort to be cold and non-engaging so that I might be put off. This puts me in a better position to deal with this in the future.
The one improvement I could suggest is having more technical or remote commercial questions. I have had a few friends who have been tested in interviews on areas that were complex to test their ability to reason out areas they might not have experience with. I wanted to be thrown a little more out of depth to test my ability to stay calm and present logical reasoning.
The individuals who interviewed us were not only really helpful to suggest feedback on how to improve our approach but they went beyond that and gave us their emails should we want to enquire about certain paths. The two interviewers I had were from Clifford Chance and White & Case and encouraged me to contact them. The lawyer from White & Case further marked up our CVs to suggest amendments which I cannot thank her enough for.
We also had about 10 minutes between sessions to have general discussions. This meant that we gained an insight into the trends that we might be expected to discuss at an interview, including Scottish Independence and how Russia’s current situation might affect lawyers.
Please pass on my thanks to the Barclays team who spent so much time putting the questions together and taking time out to interview us.
I found the Barclays interview very useful. I had two 45 minutes interviews with two senior members of the Barclays legal department. One of my interviewers works for White and Case, where I will be doing my summer work placement. She provided me with some brilliant advice about how I can realise my potential during my placement. The interviews highlighted some aspects of my interview technique that were strong but also others that require development. Both of my interviews were fairly informal, which put me at ease. The opportunity to be interviewed twice exposed me to different styles of questioning and more in-depth feedback than I have had in the past. My interviewers placed an emphasis on finding out who I was, why I was interested in law and why I wanted to pursue a career in commercial law in particular. This format was challenging but both interviewers were supportive and provided some invaluable guidance. As a result of these mock interviews, I feel more confident and optimistic about future training contract interviews.
From BLD Foundation – our special thanks to the legal team at Barclays; and specifically to Amol Prabhu and Annie Lathwell-Collier for arranging these mock interviews for our LLP Candidates.