CC’s 'CV blind' policy boosts legal recruitment pool by 28%

The number of universities and colleges from which Clifford Chance (CC) draws graduate recruits has grown nearly 30% following the introduction of a groundbreaking “CV-blind” interview process last year.

In the first year of the recruitment initiative, the firm’s annual 100-strong trainee intake came from 41 different education institutions, up by 28% on the previous year when trainees came from a pool of 32 institutions.

The firm put the “CV blind” process in place for the final interview stage with candidates following a comprehensive review of its selection process, in a push to reduce bias towards Oxbridge and other leading universities.

The process is structured so that candidates fill in an online application, which is then reviewed by the firm’s HR function. They are scored on work experience as well as job-related work placements and positions of responsibility.

Successful applicants are then invited to attend a face-to-face assessment. An interviewing panel of fee-earners and partners at an assessment day are not given information about the school or university education of candidates.

CC graduate recruitment and development manager Laura Yeates said: “Over the past 12 to 18 months we have been bringing in modifications to how we screen candidates and how to structure the assessment day.

“The CV-blind policy has been a useful change to the process as it empowers the student population and helps to break down barriers to the profession.”

Successful graduates last year came from universities including Cardiff, Essex, Lancaster, Liverpool and Ulster.

CC said its aim for the 2014-15 year is to form relationships with 57 universities in the UK, with physical presences on 37 campuses. The firm currently has around 50 to 55 relationships and around 32 physical presences.

Meanwhile a third of posts on the firm’s vacation scheme are held by winners of its “Intelligent Aid” competition, for which candidates submit an essay to a panel of judges. This year, prizes for the overall winner also include a charitable donation of £1,000 and £5,000 towards their university fees.