You’ve spent hours researching firms, submitted scores of résumés, and now you have an interview. So what’s next?
If you’re considering winging it for the interview, we have one word of advice. Don’t. Candidates who prepare for interviews are much more likely to get an offer – one study suggests it increases the chances of receiving an offer by 41%. Still, many candidates will walk into their interviews without preparing. The few minutes it takes you to review the advice below will put you a step ahead of that competition.
Here are a few of our most important tips for acing the interview:
First, recognize that the interview is not just about your skills, it’s about how your skillsmatch the employer’s hiring needs. Do you know the types of responsibilities the firm needs the new hire to handle? If not, find out. Your answers to interview questions should focus on how your experience will allow you to make immediate contributions in those areas.
Second, research the team. Firms frequently reject candidates who don’t understand the firm’s practice. It’s not enough to understand what litigation involves generally; you need to familiarize yourself with the types of litigation that the team interviewing you handles, as well as the key players on the team. The firm’s website and your recruiter are two excellent resources that will provide you with the information you need.
Third, take a close look at your résumé. Review it to remind yourself of your strengths and why you are a unique fit for this opportunity. Also, your interviewer will have your résumé in hand during the interview and will focus on it while asking questions. Being able to easily recall what it contains will help you answer those questions. Remember that everything on your resume is fair game – even the undergraduate thesis from 2001 that you’ve listed.
You should also give some thought to questions interviewers may ask you and questions you may want to ask the interviewer. Run questions and answers past trusted friends to see what they think. Rehearse in the car as you drive home. You don’t want to sound over-rehearsed of course, but practicing will give you a level of comfort that will come across as confidence in the interview.
Last but not least, smile and keep a positive attitude during the interviews. Personality matters when firms make hiring decisions. This is also your opportunity to make a great first impression on attorneys who may become your future colleagues. Good luck!