We caught up with Nicola, the Senior Early Talent Executive at RPC, to hear her exclusive insights on how to make an impression on her team before, during and after you make an application.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at RPC
My name is Nicola Stafford and I am the Senior Early Talent Executive at RPC. As a team, we look after the recruitment, the selection and the development of our Trainee Solicitors, Solicitor Apprentices and Business Services Apprentices across our UK offices, which are in London and Bristol.
What do RPC look for when meeting prospective trainees?
People who are genuinely really passionate about the work that RPC does, want to really make the most of their time with the firm and are generally inquisitive.
What does RPC value most?
Our three core RPC values are collaborative, committed and commercial, and we definitely do want to see that resonating with future trainees and students that we speak to at events, in person and virtually. Essentially, we want trainees who like working with others and are natural team players. Commercial law generally is very collaborative and at RPC, we do very much put a focus on that, so we’re really looking for people who enjoy that aspect of things.
How would a member impress you in a written application?
By the time you're getting to the application form stage, whether it's for an Insight Day, the Summer Schemes or the Training Contract, it's good to have an understanding of not just the environment that RPC fosters but also what areas of law the firm specialises in. It's good to be able to inject a bit of personality by articulating how your interests and values align with that of the firm. You should be talking about the research that you've done, being yourself and honest about how the two are connected, and why RPC really stood out to you amongst other firms that you could potentially apply to.
Also, written communication is important. Attention to detail forms quite a large part of the marking criteria on our application form, so make sure to get someone to check the work over for you – I find sometimes when you've looked at something for too long, you're not going to be able to see the really small things, and these can make all the difference.
How should a member go about making an impression when they meet your team?
It’s enthusiasm! I think if someone's just meeting us at an event, they don't need to have a huge understanding of the firm already. We can give that to them. It’s just about being naturally inquisitive, curious, passionate and using your interpersonal skills to really make the most of that interaction.
How should a member go from knowing nothing about RPC to making a really strong application?
If they've had a positive encounter with someone from RPC (which hopefully they would have!) I think a next good step would be to keep up that sustained interest. Reach out to more individuals at the firm, complete our virtual work experience programme, and just learn as much as possible. Having that meaningful and sustained interest in the firm really makes an application stand out.
What should a member avoid when trying to make an impression?
Obviously it’s a nerve wracking process meeting firms, particularly for people that haven't had as much experience of going onto campus and might be a little bit earlier on in their career journey. I think sometimes people answer questions and interact in a way they think firms want them to, rather than just being themselves. At RPC we put a large focus on being individual, and having your own personality – we want people to fully embrace that so try not to let the nerves get the better of you.
Any other final tips on how to stand out to the team at RPC?
We want you to find the firm that’s right for you and so remember recruitment is a two-way process. We’ll invest heavily in you from the start of your journey with us – this year we retained 100% of our 2020 trainees which is amazing. In order to find the right fit for you, it’s important to think about what you really hope to gain from your training contract and beyond.
Keen to find out more about RPC and browse their roles? Go to their profile here.