(Original post by Erich Hartmann)
As a few other posters had pointed out, it isn't as odd or as uncommon as you think it is.
The days where coming out with a university degree ensured you were set for life has long been over and now it is also affecting Oxbridge and Russell Group university graduates.
As for why the 2 didn't get pupillage, no single factor can be pinned down as the reason but the one who got a 1st often he came off as being "too academic" and most were of the opinion that he wasn't barrister material for one reason or another. The other person, she had nothing else to offer beyond her law degree, no ECs or even record of even applying for a mini pupillage.
In reality unless you are applying into a big and very reputable investment bank like JPM or GS it is actually very rare that an Oxbridge degree will be of a significant advantage, even if you had a 1st it is quite likely someone with a 2:1 from Durham, UCL etc could easily get offered that job.
These days I no longer do graduate hires, but when I was doing it our dept had a scoring matrix system on who to select for interviews. You will see why many Oxbridge won't really do as well as expected as it is scored according :-
Degree, is it a 2:1? 30% You won't get any extra points for a 1st, it goes down to 20% if it is a 2:2 and 0% if you don't state.
University, what is it's ranking as per The Economist. 1-10 place = 20% 11-25 = 15% 26-50 = 10%
Work experience, any internships or industrial experience? Any overseas work-experience? Are they relevant to the industry? 30% you get full marks if the answer is yes to all 3. This one is done manually. This is also where I will for the first time decide if you deserve the points for your academic record as I will now read what was it you studied.
Any extra curricular activities or any thing that sets you apart from the rest especially one that shows you have leadership or teamwork attributes. Do you have anything extra to offer? 15% This together with your work experience section would determine if I want to even look at what subject your degree is in. If it is relevant to the company objectives then I let them have the full points they had scored, if it isn't then I see how they try to sell themselves in their CL.
The final 10% comes from how well you've written that CV and that Cover Letter is. How's the grammar, does the sentence structures in the CV match that of your CL. Does it appear that your CV was done professionally? Finally if it is a paper resume, is the paper clean and of good quality? 5% You won't believe the number of people who either gained or lost an interview just by this 5% alone.
Usually if someone scores above 65% then they can expect a call from me for the 1st round of interview. Vast majority of those who did well at the interview and eventually get jobs tend to be in the 70-85% range....surprisingly.