The on-campus recruiting season is a stressful one, especially for first year law students who have never gone through the process. Here’s a checklist to success in OCIs that will help transform you from a law student into a confident (and successful!) job candidate.
1. Familiarize Yourself With The Recruiting Process. The more you know about every step of the process, the more comfortable you’ll be with it and with interviewing.
2. Review Your Resume. Know everything on your resume—backwards and forwards—because everything there is fair game for an interviewer to ask you detailed questions.
3. Know Yourself. Interviewers are looking for students who are self-aware, and able to learn and reflect. Think carefully about all your experiences. Why did you make the decisions you did? What did you learn from your experiences?
4. Focus On The Positive. We’ve all had bad experiences, but interviewers don’t want to hear negativity. Look for silver linings in all your bad experiences, and in the interview, focus on those silver linings.
5. Develop Themes And Illustrative Stories. A proven successful interviewing techniques is developing themes. You need to know what you offer to the employer, and develop a plan to get that message across. Are you a great multitasker? Excellent! Think of two anecdotes that illustrate that character trait, and practice working those anecdotes into your responses.
6. Practice Interviewing. Many law school career centers offer mock interviews. Take advantage! Even if your school doesn’t offer mock interviews, you need to find a way to practice in a full dress rehearsal. You want to be comfortable, and able to speak clearly and articulately, without any slang or speech-ticks.
7. Choose Your Wardrobe In Advance. Get your interviewing wardrobe in order a few days before the interview. You don’t want to find out that you need to get your shoes polished or your suit altered on the day of the interview.
8. Scout The Locations. You should know in advance where your interviews will be. Visit those locations—whether conference rooms, hotel rooms, or wherever—so that you’re comfortable and familiar with them. Know how long it takes you to get there, where the bathroom is, and other essentials.
9. Come Prepared. Bring copies of your resumes, transcripts, writing samples, and other information. You probably won’t need them, but you’ll feel better knowing you have them. Also, if you are asked for them, then you have an opportunities to show off your preparation!
10. Know The Employers And The Job. Make sure you actually know which law firm you’re interviewing with! Take a look at their website, especially look for recent news and any information they might provide about their recruiting, hiring, and training. Also be certain that you really understand the position you’re interviewing for. If you’re not certain how their summer program works or what the position is, then find out before you walk into the interview!
11. Be Early. It’s never a good idea to have an interviewer waiting on you to show up, or to appear rushed, harried, or disorganized. OCIs are usually very tightly scheduled, so it’s even more important that you be ready at your scheduled time. You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled interview.
12. Relax and Breathe. Use that 10 to 15 minutes wisely. Go to the bathroom, check your appearance. Relax and review your talking points. Introduce yourself to firm representatives. Watch others go through the process.
13. Be Polite To Everyone. Remember that you’ll be meeting a lot of firm representatives during the OCI process. Treat them all with respect, not just the attorneys interviewing you. Firm hiring directors and other recruiting personnel will be there. They have influence over the hiring process as well.
14. Ask Questions. You should come prepared with a few questions to ask your interviewer. Nothing says “I’m not really interested in your firm” like coming up empty when the interviewer finally asks, “So what questions do you have for me?” Have a few questions at the ready.