Congratulations! After enduring several hours of OCI “speed dating,” you scored a callback interview. You have done your research, gotten “in the zone,” and it’s off to the firm reception area for a day of interviews. You’re tense — which is proof that you’re alive and that you care. You’re worried that you don’t know as much as you should — which is proof that you are not arrogant or presumptuous. You’re as focused as you were the day before final examinations began at the end of first year — because you know there is a lot on the line.
The message is simple – preparation and practice will relax you and prepare you for the give and take of interviewing. At bottom, interviewing is a conversation in which two people exchange views on a range of subjects for 30 minutes. It is artificial and constrained, but its elements are predictable. It is a reciprocal process of assessment and sales — the law firm interviewer will assess your skills and market the strength of the firm, while you will assess the law firm and sell yourself to the firm. In some interviews assessment will dominate; in other interviews selling will be predominate. But as long as you know that this unstructured conversation is a reciprocal exercise in sales and assessment, you will know what is taking place and how to handle it.
Most interviewers have a style or process that they will follow during an interview. It is usually the same way they handle all students (and they probably believe it is terribly effective). The interview will resemble an informal chat where the interviewer guides you through a few areas of sales and assessment and then turns the table over to you. Be an active participant in the process. Welcome the chance to take charge, ask questions, and guide where the interview is heading. This is your chance to shine.
If you want to uncover more ways to prepare for your callback interview, as well as the different types of interviewers you may encounter, click here for the rest of the article. For additional career and OCI articles, as well as profiles of individual law firms, check out the Career Center.