1. What are the most important rules of thumb for attorneys to remember about law firm job interviews?
Dress for success. The way you dress will reflect to the law firm how you will present yourself to clients and others.
Give concise answers. Long rambling answers will always negatively affect your chances of landing the job. Let the interviewers draw their own conclusions.
Don’t get into detail about previous work. Revealing too much about old jobs, clients, or cases will make you seem untrustworthy.
Be aware of your body language. You can say a lot without opening your mouth, so remain conscious of it.
Be honest. You’re not expected to be superhuman, so stretching the truth can only get you into trouble.
Be prepared. Come into the interview knowing what you want to get across and ready to take on some tough questions. Know what’s on your resume. Getting caught off guard by something on your own resume reflects poorly on you
2. What is the best way to develop a rapport with the interviewer?
A job interview is like a blind date in that both sides feel a little nervous and forced. Standard blind date rules apply: nice handshake, maintain eye contact, smile when appropriate, and always listen!
Listening is the most crucial part. It can be difficult for attorneys to get out of talking mode, but the interviewer should do about 80% of the talking.
Paraphrase what the interviewer says back to him or her to show you are paying attention.
11. What’s the best way to handle a bad interview?
Put it behind you.
Don’t let it get you down because everybody has bad interviews.
The most important thing is to always appear enthusiastic. After a bad interview, be sure not to let it show in the next interview. Lawyers need to be “up” when appearing in front of judges or clients, so it is crucial to show that you have an upbeat personality.
Getting rejected after an interview is usually not your fault. Internal firm politics and issues of personal chemistry generally play a very heavy role in employment decision-making.
18. What are the differences between interviews with associates and junior partners and interviews with senior associates and partners?
Junior partners and associates are still “gunners” who are often in competition with the rest of the attorneys. Do not act too competitive or they might see you as a threat. Act friendly.
Older partners aren’t usually caught up in competition with the rest of the staff. They will want to see a competitive edge. They will also be more concerned with things like grades. Act hard working and determined.
19. How should an attorney handle an interview in an unconventional situation? Law firms will often take you out to lunch or for drinks to get to know you.
The worst mistake is to get drunk. If the interviewer is drinking, have the same thing and take it very easy.
Eat at the same pace as the interviewer and only order the basics. Don’t order an appetizer or desert if the interviewer doesn’t, etc. This ties right into the whole notion of appearing conservative at all times.
Mind your manners and always treat your servers with respect. The same goes for receptionists in the office. No one wants to work with a jerk, so always be courteous to everyone in the entire job interview process.
Don’t let your guard down. Unconventional interviews like this test mainly your small talk skills, but you should approach them with the same level of respect and enthusiasm as any other interview.
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