Getting the interview is the first step. Getting the job offer is what you really want. We always tell our candidates to secure the job offer so that you are the one making the decision. Otherwise, you don’t really have an option from which choose. That said, interview preparation is a crucial step oftentimes overlooked in the process for those who think that can just wing it.
Know Your Resume. Preparation is key. If your plan is to go to the interview and just “fake it until you make it,” you will never make it. Your résumé is not sufficient enough to get you the job anymore. Back in the day, the interview process was merely a formality and a way for firms to screen out people who were completely socially inept. Today, you have to factor in many components and make certain you follow these steps:
- Know your résumé inside and out, and prepare yourself to speak in detail about your cases or transactions. The interview is your chance to shine and further expand on everything you have accomplished up until this point. Take a video of yourself answering common interview questions and ask for constructive feedback.
- Act with confidence, not arrogance. It is not everyday that you have to spend hours discussing your accomplishments. You need to develop a simple sales pitch highlighting your strengths, accomplishments and experiences, all without sounding like an arrogant summer associate who is inquiring about early partnership prospects. There is a balance.
Know the Interviewers. One of the most important items is to research your interviewers. Before you set foot in the interviewer’s office, make sure you know your audience. Look for interesting common connections, past wins, anything that ties you and the interviewer together. There are numerous sources that provide specific background. Most obviously, a firm’s website. Next up, LinkedIn. Lastly, the great mass of social media posts from Instagram to Facebook. Most importantly, talk to your recruiter who, if worth their grain of salt, should know the personalities from prior interviewees who have gone through the process. The goal is to demonstrate both your genuine interest in and deep knowledge of the firm.
Show Your Knowledge. You want the interviewer to know you are taking the process seriously and want the job. Every interviewer will ask you if you have any questions, and it is important to have thoughtful and relevant questions prepared as it shows a great deal of interest. Also, adjust your questions based on the flow of the interview. Don’t sound like a robot. You shouldn’t ask an equity partner the same question as a senior associate. Know your audience. Use segues when appropriate, especially if the conversation begins to dwindle, but never completely hijack the interview.
Dress the Part. Look professional, respectful and hungry. Don’t pull up in a Ferrari, wearing a Rolex watch and popping a Gucci pocket square. Dress to the standards of the environment. That means, likely no denim, unless your interview is with Quinn Emanuel, but even there, we’d recommend a more professional look. When in doubt, think simple and appropriate, not flashy. Take, for example, Andrea SoRelle, Principal at Lateral Link.
You may be surprised to know that there are four other candidates just as strong as you are who are interviewing for the same ONE spot. The candidate attending an interview without sufficient preparation demonstrates to the decision maker a lack of interest, which will ultimately result in a lukewarm reception to your candidacy. Let Lateral Link help guide you through a successful interview to a job offer. Contact us today and allow one of our seasoned legal recruiters prepare you for the big day.