Author: Kyle McKeown.
Upon completion of Bright Network’s Commercial Law Internship Experience, it would seem to be invaluable to provide an overview of the CV and interview advice provided by Robert Byk - partner at Slaughter and May. At the outset, I would like to thank both the Bright Network and Robert Byk for inspiring 14,000 interns internationally.
Initially, Robert Byk raised the issue that applicants continue to avoid putting themselves at the centre of their application. Revealing that candidates generally seek to experience opportunities in line with what they believe the employer desires and sculpt their CV’s towards that. To prevent this, the philosophy of Slaughter and May is that applicants should pursue opportunities they have a genuine interest in rather than solely considering opportunities that appeal to others.
Moreover, Robert Byk cautions against showing off too much. Although showcasing skills is central to the experience, applicants must acknowledge there is always room for improvement. In addition, it is vital for candidates to convey a curiosity to learn. A suggestion would be to draw on a previous experience that has moulded oneself, for instance, the changes an individual made to gain a 2:1 in second year from the previous 2:2 in first year.
Certain skills advocated by him included enthusiasm and intelligence among others. Analysing each skill individually:
1) Enthusiasm can be expressed by the interviewee showing enjoyment in what they currently do. This does not need to be ground-breaking and could include participation in societies or voluntary work. It should be unique to the applicant.
2) While intelligence is usually viewed by employers through the candidate’s academic results, candidates should actively seek to convey a curiosity of a certain field of study. Essentially, explaining why one has chosen to study X and not Y.
Secondly, in preparations for interviews, Robert Byk encourages practice. Practicing mock interviews and keeping it conversational is key. If a candidate mentions something in their application, they must be prepared to talk about it in their interview. If the information provided in the CV is not relevant or suitable, then one should remove it.
Furthermore, Robert Byk advises against, ‘mind dumping’. This describes the situation when an applicant is asked a question and they spout everything they know or attempt to convert the question into something unrelated to suit their pre-prepared answer. He advises that if the question seems somewhat simple then the simple answer is usually expected by the interviewer. Regarding situations in which the candidate does not have a concrete answer, individuals are encouraged to confess why not. Moreover, an attempt or suggestion as to the answer is strongly recommended.
To conclude, it is not possible to know all the answers and one cannot reasonably prepare for every question. While an applicant’s CV or interview may not always be successful, the opportunity should be embraced. Candidates can actively draw the positives from the experience whilst continuing to pursue opportunities in the things they are interested in.