Hints & tips

We asked our Emerging Talent Team to share some guidance about how to make a great application, how to do well in an interview and what to watch out for if it’s going to be held via video.

Following these guidelines should help you to make your application the best it can possibly be, and to show us who you are and what you can achieve if you make it to the interview stage.

Application checklist

The online application form is your opportunity to create a strong first impression, so it’s important that you put the time and effort in to making it right – we want to get to know you as an individual.

Here are some tips on what makes a successful application form:

Keep it clear

Ensure your communication style is clear and concise and that you use the wordcount effectively.

Follow the news

Commercial awareness is vital for your application. Keep informed of developments in the business and commercial world by regularly using a variety of different resources such as the news and legal press. Try to incorporate any relevant knowledge you’ve gained into your application.

Check and double-check

Always check your spelling and grammar before submitting your application form. Asking a friend to read it over for you and writing your answers in Word first, prior to  transferring them to your application form, are both good ways to ensure that no obvious mistakes are made.

Don’t rush

Read the questions and make sure you understand them thoroughly before answering. Take your time and don’t just assume you can answer the questions there and then, particularly when it comes to the short essay questions.

Be specific

Tailor your application form and make sure your answers emphasise why CMS is the right firm for you. If you do extensive research in advance, your motivation to work for CMS will shine through and help your application to stand out from the crowd.

Interview checklist

We’ve compiled some pointers about how to do well in an interview situation, as well as some specific guidelines on video interviews.

Prepare in advance

Know what our assessment days involve so you can anticipate what will be expected of you and plan ahead.

Think of examples

We’re looking for well-rounded individuals who can demonstrate the following qualities: personal effectiveness; professional communication; drive for achievement; leading self and others; future facing approach; relationship-building skills; and commercial awareness. Think about how you’ve demonstrated these traits in your studies, in your hobbies, activities and interests, and in any jobs or voluntary roles you’ve had.

Do your research

Talk to current trainees and lawyers you meet at online events to get a feel for life here at CMS.

Be yourself

We embrace diversity and have a culture that empowers everyone to be themselves, so we want to meet the real you, not the person you think we might be looking for. Not only that, but the more relaxed and comfortable you are, the better able you’ll be to focus on the questions rather than worrying about how you might be coming across.

Take your time

If you need a moment to think about a question, or you’d like it to be repeated, that’s not a problem. We’d rather you take the time to give us your best answer than rush into an answer that doesn’t truly showcase your capabilities.

Ask us questions

An interview is a two-way process – as much a chance for you to decide if we’re the right firm for you, as it is for us to see if you’d be a good fit for us. So think about the things you’d like to know that perhaps aren’t covered here. Then, when you’re invited to ask us questions, you’ll be ready.

Tips for video interviews


If you have any questions about making your application and our selection process, check out our FAQs as there’s a good chance it will be covered there.

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