By DebbieH 02 Jul 2019 7 min read

Why law firms test candidates: Tips on how to prepare

Many fields of work are competitive, attracting far more candidates for every open position than some might believe. Law firms receive large quantities of applications for every role advertised. Narrowing the field by hand could be an almost insurmountable task. Reading every application takes time and can result in missing some of the best candidates.

Hence why law firms often test their candidates. This is a far faster method in finding candidates who can do the job required of them. But no fear, there are just as many benefits to a candidate as there are to the employer.


Which tests might you need to complete?

There are two broad types of tests that could be used when recruiting for a legal role:

  1. Psychometric tests
  2. Skills tests


Psychometric testing forms part of the recruitment process for many modern firms. Candidates cannot study to ‘pass’ these tests. They are designed to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of everyone who takes them. The recruiter can learn what kind of personality each applicant has, and how that might relate to others in the team.

These are also called personality profiling tests. They provide a much better and in-depth look at how a person thinks and behaves. In the high-pressure world of law, it is vital to discover such knowledge before recruiting someone.

Skills tests focus on just that – the skills a person has. Law firms are likely to require candidates to undergo legal skill tests as part of the application process. These are often tailored towards the role being applied for. They may involve legal proofreading or typing tests relating to the field, for example.

Some firms require candidates to participate in both types of tests to gain the best picture of each recruit.


How to prepare for recruitment tests

If you are applying for a position in a law firm, try and find out what kind of tests you will be required to complete. This will not help you when taking personality tests, but it will assist you in feeling more comfortable about them. You will have an idea of what to expect before you take the test.

Skills tests can be prepared for in advance. If you are applying for a legal typing role, for instance, you should already have a good idea of what the role entails. Even if it is an entry role, you should be able to demonstrate the necessary skills required to take on the role with confidence.

If you can find out which tests you will face, you can read about them and perhaps even take some practice tests online before you face the real one. The practice runs won’t be the same as the real thing, but you can gain confidence and experience by completing them – both of which can be applied to the actual test on the day.

There’s no doubt that the thought of taking a test can be daunting but remember they do bring with them benefits to a candidate:


1: they put time on your side 

There is usually limited information contained within a job advert so how do you know if the position is for you? As we spend a third of our lives at work (never mind the travel time added on), most of us would agree we’d like to spend our time doing work we enjoy.  

It’s recommended that you do some research into the company you are applying to, to ensure you are aware of its values and direction. However, sometimes all the research in the world cannot guarantee you are a good fit until you reach the interview stage or even the job itself.  

Skills testing helps filter out those who are unsuitable for the role they are applying for. It could be they are not suitably qualified or do not have the personality traits the employer is looking for.  

If you are not selected for interview following the tests, you can assume you’ve saved time. Perhaps that role was not best suited to you after all.  



2: they allow you to focus on your skills 

These tests are an opportunity to see if you do have the skills and abilities you would need if you got the job. If you fail, you can move on to your next job application. That’s far better than being given a role you are unsuited to and wasting time in a job you dislike.  

What’s more, if you are unsuccessful due to mark from the test it allows you to consider whether you need to look at ways to help improve that skill. 


3: they give you a head start  

Skills testing usually takes place before an interview. Therefore, if you get through the tests you are required to take, you know you have the skills the legal firm is looking for. This should give you confidence when you’re called for an interview.  

Chances are, you have already surpassed many others who have applied for the same position as you.