NAILING THE LAW FIRM INTERVIEW
We all know that first impressions can be very powerful. A great interview can really “seal the deal” when it comes to getting the law firm job of your dreams. So, how do you go about giving a great interview? Your mother had it right – be polite and be yourself.
Although many folks struggle with interviews – so many nerves and so much uncertainty about the “right” answer – being genuine is key. Also understand that employers are looking for someone who is interested in the firm, the practice areas and the position itself.
As an attorney, you understand the importance of being on time and dressing the part. We won’t cover those elementary interview steps in this post. We will, however, cover some interviewing tips that will dramatically help your chances with landing the perfect job.
1. Do your research.
No matter how large or small, there’s bound to be something on the Internet about the firm or the attorneys working in the firm. Research the names of the partners. Review what types of cases this firm has handled in the past. Find out if any of the attorneys have published cases and read the cases. In some instances, you may be able to find information about philanthropic causes the firm supports or other community involvement of the firm. All of these things are great topics for discussion during your interview.
2. Be polite to everyone in the office.
You have no idea who really pulls the strings in a law firm. Many times, the interviewers will ask the receptionist about how you acted, what you said and if you were early or late to the interview. It’s always a good idea (in interviews and in life) to treat everyone with kindness and respect.
3. Be prepared to answer tough questions.
If interviews were easy, everyone would get a job. Understand that interviewers aren’t looking for perfection; they’re looking for someone who is authentic and who fits in with the firm. The interviewer may ask you a question about your weaknesses or about your dream career or what you liked least about your previous job. It’s fine to be perfectly honest (but tactful) when answering.
4. Follow up with a thank you.
In the old days (five years ago or so), people hand-wrote thank you notes after an interview. This is still definitely a wonderful gesture; however, it takes a little bit too long to reach the recipient. You should send a thank you email to the interviewer during the same business day as the interview. If you want to reinforce your gratitude, it’s fine to mail a hand-written thank you card, as well.
5. Check back in with the interviewer.
Understand that many interviewers are speaking with other candidates and are still trying to complete his or her “regular” work. Resumes and candidates sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Make a follow-up phone call or send an email within 3-5 business days to ask about how the interview process is coming along and reiterate your interest in the position.
6. Ask questions.
Nothing is more of a turn-off to an interviewer than someone who doesn’t ask questions. Asking questions shows interest and natural curiosity – two character traits that many employers want in an employee. Even though you may have to dig for something to ask, be prepared to ask something about the firm or the position.
Keeping these simple steps in mind can help even the most nervous interviewees nail the law firm interview. If you have more questions about finding the perfect law firm job, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re in the business of matching the best legal jobs with the best attorneys.