Established in 1999, CMS is a global law firm employing over 4800 professionals in 46 countries worldwide. With 76 offices, the firm operates in several sectors, including:
- Consumer products
- Real estate
- Hotels and leisure
- Financial institutions
- Energy and climate change
- Technology, media, and communications
CMS focuses on innovation and changing the way legal solutions are delivered to its clients. They have a partnership approach with clients and employees and are committed to making an impact socially, fostering an environment where employees can work flexibly and thrive in their roles.
As a firm, CMS focuses on future-facing law, meaning that as an organisation, they work to anticipate legal challenges and help shape the future through offering innovative solutions. The firm values diversity and inclusion and operates several initiatives such as flexible working and access to several tools, support, and resources if needed. Employees are encouraged to be themselves at work and share their experiences, background, and cultures, contributing to an open and inclusive workplace.
CMS Application Process
The CMS application process is split into four stages:
- Online application form
- Online test
- Video interview
- Assessment day
Each stage of the process is designed to assess candidates against the core skills and abilities required for a successful career at CMS.
Online Application Form
The first stage of the recruitment process is the online application form. This is a candidate's first opportunity to show the firm that they possess the necessary attributes needed for the role. All applications for roles are taken online.
The application form consists of several sections, including personal details such as contact information and educational history. Candidates also need to answer some competency-based, motivational and commercial awareness questions as part of their application. These questions have a maximum word count included, so being concise, clear, and doing your research is essential when answering each of these questions.
Critical Thinking Test
Candidates who are successful at application review are invited to sit the CMS critical thinking test.
This timed test is designed to assess how well candidates can use their analytical skills to think clearly and rationally when solving problems.
Questions are divided into five sections; the questions in each section have a different format and a different rationale for completion. Rationales assessed include how well a candidate can:
- Recognise assumptions
- Make inferences from information given
- Use their deduction skills to reach a logical conclusion
- Their ability to evaluate arguments
- Interpret information to solve problems
The format of the questions differs according to the ability to be assessed. Some questions are given in the form of passages of text. You need to interpret this information then select which of the statements that follow is correct.
Other questions may be presented as topic-based questions followed by a list of arguments. You need to evaluate and determine which arguments are strong and which are weak.
Many of the critical thinking test questions require you to not only detail your answer but also explain how you have reached your answer.
When taking the critical thinking test it is important to keep calm and ensure that you read the question carefully before answering questions so that you don't misread or misinterpret the information given.
The CMS video interview is a short 15-minute interview. In this interview, candidates must answer a series of questions and then record their responses to the questions. Once all questions have been answered, the responses are then sent to recruiters to review.
The questions asked include a mix of motivational and competency-based questions such as why you want to work at CMS and what makes CMS different from other law firms. Specific situational questions are also asked in the interview focusing on the key skills needed, such as time management and problem-solving.
Preparing answers against the attributes required for the role and researching CMS are all essential parts of preparing for the video interview.
If successful at the video interview stage, candidates are invited to the final stage of the process - assessment day.
The assessment day comprises three stages:
- Case study exercise
- Competency-based interview
- Group exercise
The assessment day is also an opportunity for candidates to find out more about the firm and its working culture, and meet employees of CMS.
Case study exercise
The case study exercise is an individual assessment that looks at how candidates review and analyse a business-related scenario to develop a logical solution. The assessment is timed, with the information on the business case being provided at the start of the assessment.
Candidates then need to use their logical thinking, critical thinking, and analysis skills to reach a solution which they either discuss with an interviewer or present back to an interviewer.
Questions will be asked as part of the assessment, so you must be able to clearly outline your rationale for any recommendations you present.
The ability to explain your reasoning in a logical and easy-to-follow way forms a large part of this assessment, as is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely.
The competency-based interview focuses on assessing whether candidates demonstrate the competencies required for the role.
Questions are example-based, where candidates need to provide an example from their previous experience to demonstrate the skill or competency required.
Competencies assessed as part of the interview process include:
- Commercial awareness
- Relationship building
- Personal effectiveness
Preparation is the key to success at competency-based interviews. When preparing your examples against these competencies, try and use examples from not just your academic career but also any interests or hobbies that you have or any extracurricular activities, voluntary or part-time work.
This will enable you to demonstrate competencies in different situations and show CMS that you have the qualities they look for in their applicants.