Trainee recruitment is a part of my job I really enjoy. I love meeting new people and trying to find someone that I think will bring an extra dimension, while assessing whether they will work well alongside the existing team.
Our latest search for a trainee produced nearly 100 applicants. But of that 100, how do we whittle them down?
First of all we decide what our key criteria will be. That will vary each year depending on the priorities we place on certain skills, attributes and experience. Historically that has included:
- Ability to follow basic?instructions e.g. deadlines and size of application form
- Grammar and how easily the?application form can be read
- The style of writing (would?we be comfortable with it being used for client communication
- Balance between relevant?experience and the benefit of training someone from scratch
- Has the applicant demonstrated?a desire for the specific role, (could the application just as easily be?for a general traineeship with ABC solicitors?)
- Has the application form been?used to sell their skills
Our key criteria will vary from other firms but the purpose of the application form is always the same, we use it to obtain a shortlist for interview.
This often means that candidates initially pass the first hurdle but when compared to others it is obvious their application just isn?t as good. It may mean they mention something in the application form that strikes a particular chord with those doing the shortlisting (and ticks the extra dimension box).
Securing a traineeship has never been harder and with a 1% success rate (for this particular opportunity) it makes the process even harder. There were some truly excellent candidates this year that we didn?t shortlist for interview. Some because they failed to follow simple instructions (I don?t lose much sleep about those, but am horrified that this year it applied to approximately 10% of applicants. If you can?t read a job application form properly how will you cope with client forms, deadlines etc.) For the others it often means the criteria we decided on this time meant they weren?t the best candidate and no amount of soul searching by the applicant will overcome that.
I understand the desire to seek additional feedback, but every firm seeks something different.
To those still looking I hope this helps a little.