Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Attention law students: What to do now that you've got a callback job interview

Back in August we brought you tips from Grover Cleveland, author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks, on how 2L's can ace the initial on-campus job interview. Mr. Cleveland is back, by way of the Careerist blog, to offer additional tips on how to ace the all-important callback interview:

How to Ace the Callback . . .

At this stage, interviewers are trying to discern how well you will get along with others in the office—particularly under stress. They'll also want to see if you have the poise and professionalism to represent the firm and cultivate clients. Finally, they will be looking for qualities such as initiative, attention to detail, and resourcefulness.

Here are some tips to engage your interviewers and turn your callback interviews into an offer:

Keep up with the news. Be prepared to chat about something beside law school. Although law school is not particularly conducive to fascinating extracurricular experiences, come up with one or two succinct stories that will interest the interviewer. Here, a trip to Cuba trumps your moot court experience. Also check the news in the morning before your interviews. If there is a huge story that everyone is talking about, you need to be able to discuss it. 

Relax and have a conversation. To show that you are friendly, professional, and poised, it's key to be relaxed (or act like you are). When the interviewer thinks about whether you would be pleasant to work with at 2 a.m. before a trial or a closing, the answer needs to be “yes.”

Do some intelligence work, if possible. If you hit it off with your initial interviewer, you might ask her for insights about the other lawyers you are scheduled to speak with. You might discover landmines to avoid or pick up an interesting nugget that will be a good conversation-starter later in the day.

Don't be too casual during the interview meal. Callback interviews sometimes involve a meal. Don’t let your guard down. The meal is part of the interview, and your dining companions will inevitably submit evaluations as soon as the meal concludes. Order food that won’t take your focus off the discussion or create a wardrobe disaster. Anything that requires peeling, deboning, twirling, or slurping is off-limits.

Questions to ask. Open-ended questions will elicit the most information, and genuine questions that call for a personal perspective are likely to flatter the interviewer. Some questions to ask: "Where do you see the firm in 10 years?" or "What practice areas are experiencing the most growth?"

Continue reading Mr. Cleveland's advice column, including tips on what questions to avoid asking the interviewer, by clicking here.


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