2. Do not fudge your resume. At all. This includes: stretching dates or eliminating employment gaps, lying or exaggerating about your responsibilities in any position, padding or rounding your GPA, or excluding the law school from which you transferred. If you had a contract or staff attorney position - be honest about it. Don’t try to make it appear as if you were a permanent employee. Law firm and in-house recruiters will sniff out EVERY inaccuracy and you will not get an interview if you have the slightest fib on your resume.
3. If you get an interview, do not be over confident. I typically get two kinds of feedback from partners – the candidate was either dull and unimpressive or too confident and cavalier in his or her attitude. Overconfidence is a turn off to partners – they still want to be able to tell you what to do – they don’t need a know it all. However, a candidate who comes across as unsure of him or herself is also a turn off because they won’t feel comfortable putting you in front of clients.
4. Do not look like a slob. Things like long, unruly hair on men, ripped tights (women), wrinkled clothes, scuffed or unpolished shoes, and an unorganized bag all indicate that you don’t have your act together; you’re not detail oriented, you lack professionalism, you aren’t courtroom/client ready and you don’t take your self seriously. Get a haircut before the interview. Dry clean your suit. Polish your shoes. If you still don’t look respectable after all of that, go out and get a new suit and/or shoes.
Learn why attorneys usually fail law firm phone-screening interviews in this article:
5. Do not seem apathetic about the job. Partners want to be wanted. If you want the job – show enthusiasm and interest in the partner, the practice, and the firm. Ask targeted questions that are not “me” focused. Examples of “me” focused questions are – “What does my career growth look like?”, “What training do you have to offer me?”, “What does my bonus potential look like?”. Examples of firm targeted questions are: “Where do you see the practice in 10 years?”. “What do you look for in an associate?”, “What do you like about this firm?”. Send a follow up email to thank your interviewers for their time and to reaffirm your interest.
- See Top Ten Interview Questions for more information