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An interview with a Manchester trainee

What is your current role, and which office do you work in?

I am currently a trainee in my third seat in the Manchester office. My seats have been Regulatory, Corporate and I'm currently in Banking and Restructuring.  

Why did you choose TLT?

The two main reason I chose TLT is that despite a tough trading climate and a highly competitive market, TLT has nearly tripled in size in the last decade. The Manchester office is situated in the heart of Spinningfields, seen as Manchester’s 'financial district’. When submitting my application, the office had only been open for two years but during that time it had already developed a strong roster of both local and national clients.

What was the application process like? Did you do a combination of interviews, online applications, or assessment days?

The application process was straightforward and gave me plenty of opportunities to showcase my potential. The process has since changed to the following:

1. Online application

2. Video interview

3. Online Watson Glaser test

4. Pre-vacation scheme assessment centre which consisted of a written assessment, group exercise and a strength-based interview with a Partner and a member of the graduate recruitment team

5. Vacation scheme, you are given plenty of time to work within your teams as well as meet others around the firm. The vacation scheme is a great opportunity to see a true representation of the culture around the firm. 

How did you cope with nerves during the interview/assessment day process? 

Nerves are inevitable when approaching interviews or assessments, but keeping calm and relaxed is key to performing well. The interview is not there to try and catch you out, rather it’s a great opportunity for you to sell yourself. Whereas writing about yourself in applications might feel somewhat robotic, the interview allows you to interact in a more natural way. The interview is not simply about your academic background or legal expertise, rather, what you do outside of the classroom; your hobbies and interests.

Instead of rehearsing pre-prepared answers to popular interview questions, when preparing for my interview I made a list of my main interests and achievements and made sure I was confident in talking about them in depth. The people conducting the interview have a genuine interest in who you are, in the not too distant future you may be working alongside them - my current trainee supervisor is the same Partner that interviewed me!

Were you required to demonstrate commercial awareness?

Working within the profession at a commercial firm it is essential that you are ‘commercially aware’. That being said, there isn’t only one way of developing commercial awareness and you don’t need to have experience in a corporate environment to develop it. There are many transferable skills from previous work experience, hobbies or interests that enable you to demonstrate commercial awareness.   

What advice would you give to current applicants who are applying to TLT for a vacation scheme/ training contract? 

Research. It is really simple but you should approach your application the same way you would a university research task. There is a popular view that ‘spread betting’ applications to as many firms as you possibly can during the application window gives you a greater chance of securing a training contract. Instead of spending your time on many applications, your time is best spent researching a carefully selected handful of firms. In addition, research the market that key clients are operating in and try and understand any difficulties that they may be facing.