Alex Mundy - Dentons
How did you end up in law?
I have an HR background and had spent time recruiting graduates in accountancy and financial services. I was keen to move into graduate recruitment at a law firm and at the time I joined, Dentons was going through a really exciting period of growth.
What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?
The most enjoyable part is getting to know candidates and making them an offer for a position that you know they’re going to be thrilled to receive. The least enjoyable part is having to deliver bad news to people that you have got to know well. That can be really hard, especially when it is face to face.
What is the biggest challenge of the job?
The volume of candidates. We receive so many applications and I know that candidates have put an enormous amount of effort into completing them. In return, we owe it to them to give the applications the same level of consideration – that can take time.
Do you socialise with your trainees/vac scheme students?
I try to go to the trainee social events, as they’re a good way to get to know the trainees away from the office. In turn, they’re more likely to come to me with ideas if they know me on a personal level. It’s the trainees who always make the best suggestions on how to improve the recruitment process, as they’ve been through it and often have spotted good ideas at other firms.
What are you trying to achieve at law fairs?
The law fairs are our big opportunity each year to engage with students on campus and ensure as many students as possible know about our opportunities. Generally speaking, the fairs are a really good chance for students to come and talk to a variety of people from the firm, meet the trainees and see what life is like at the coalface.
What's the best question you’ve been asked at a fair?
In terms of people who make the most impact, it’s definitely those who have looked at the list of attendees, researched which firms they want to talk to, and put in the effort in advance. You can definitely tell who those people are.
How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?
It is a very important part of the recruitment process. A proportion of successful candidates will have come from the vacation scheme, but it is a two-way street, as they also give students the chance to see what life at the firm is like, if they fit in and whether it’s somewhere they want to train.
What is the most common mistake you see candidates making, apart from the obvious typos?
We recognise that firms often use similar questions on their forms, but copying and pasting without changing the name of the firm is not a good idea. Similarly, if you haven’t researched the position or the firm, that will come out in the interview. You need to be able to show why you’re passionate about the firm and why you’ve chosen this particular career path.
What are the attributes you look for in a trainee that are particularly suited to your firm?
We want trainees who are driven and ambitious, but who also want to build a career in a global commercial law firm, so an international outlook is crucial! They need to demonstrate that with work experience and a genuine passion for understanding the inner workings of the commercial world.
What is the biggest challenge facing would-be lawyers today?
Keeping up with the rapid change taking place in an increasingly globalised legal market.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the legal profession?
Plan ahead – if you know that you want to go into law, make sure that you obtain real work experience during the holidays, join the student law society, get involved with mooting and debating and do some pro bono work. But remember, university is meant to be fun too, so make sure you get involved in clubs and societies that you're really passionate about! In essence, make sure that your CV is well rounded.
Which practice areas are the real core of the firm’s business?
In the UKMEA region, our main practice areas are banking and finance, energy, corporate and real estate. However, globally we have 36 practice areas, so trainees at Dentons can expect a really diverse training contract experience.
What is your dream job (other than this one!)?
I’d like to turn what I do on its head and become a university careers adviser. The skills and experience you pick up as a graduate recruiter could be really useful to students in the future.
What's your guilty pleasure?
A glass of white wine after work on a Friday, although I don’t feel that guilty about it!
What's your desert island disc?
Now this is my real guilty pleasure – anything by George Michael would be my favourite way to relax on the desert island!View Dentons's details