Tips For Interviewing with Big Law!
Nervous for your interview with Big Law? That is certainly understandable. To have come this far requires a great deal of drive, talent, and persistence. It would be a shame to stumble now! Fortunately, with a little preparation and confidence, you can ace your interview and make it clear that you are the one to hire. You have probably read countless articles about what you should do during an interview. Perhaps you even received one-on-one training with a career coach or trusted colleague. In this post, though, we will look at some things you should avoid doing if you want to make a great impression and score that coveted position in Big Law!
1. Be focused.
When you go into an interview set on landing a position in Big Law, prepare to talk about, well, Big Law. But, beyond that, prepare to articulate your aspirations specifically and enthusiastically. Stress the area of law for which are passionate and relate how that passion (and any experience) has guided you on your path to Big Law. Too often, candidates go into the interview and get distracted. Instead, they talk about other aspirations, which may be perfectly respectable—but talking about them at a critical time like a Big Law interview is not the best plan, as it makes you come off as unfocused. Big Law wants lawyers who are not only skilled and driven, but who also have a plan. It is hard to envision someone who talks about everything but Big Law to have much of a plan that will benefit their law career and the firm as a whole in the long run.
2. Ask professional and engaging questions.
Keep it professional. While it is perfectly reasonable to ask your interviewer questions about the position or the firm, do not ask him or her about marriage, kids, age, or anything else that does not pertain to the job. Likewise, if an interviewer gets too personal with questions—that is, ones that delve too deeply into your personal life and have little to nothing to do with your skills as a competitive applicant—then you should not feel guilty about politely declining to answer. If this does happen to you, let the director of recruitment know right away so that your candidacy is not threatened when your interview feedback is reviewed.
3. Dress professionally!
Dress professionally — do not dress inappropriately. This means that women should not wear blouses that are too revealing or dresses of questionable length. Furthermore, makeup should be applied judiciously, jewelry worn conservatively. Men, too, should be properly groomed, wearing clean suits and well-polished shoes. Your physical appearance matters as much as what you say in the interview room, so make it count.
4. Be enthusiastic!
Do not go in slouching and sounding bored; be enthusiastic! If you are applying for a position in BigLaw, you should be proud—so show it! Hold your head up high and speak of what you do and what you have done with flair and with confidence. Do not expect your interviewer to be impressed simply that you attended law school and are now applying for the position; this is expected, the bare minimum. To stand out, you need to answer each question with a personal touch—conveying that your experiences are yours alone, genuine and complete, and that nobody else could have experienced them. In other words, your past work is what has shaped you into the aspiring attorney you are today. This is the type of candidate that compels interviewers, so be that candidate!
5. Manage your social media.
Do not post any potentially compromising pictures or public messages on social media. If in doubt—delete it now! Not all firms search for their applicants on social media; however, enough do to make risking your chance at a great opportunity a terrible mistake. If you wonder what might count as questionable, a few examples include any pictures or talk about anything unethical or drinking, drugs, or drug paraphernalia, overly promiscuous images—basically, anything you would not bring with you to work.
6. Be confident!
Do not let your anxiety get the best of you. A little case of the nerves before a big interview is normal; it keeps you alert and ready to perform to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, some candidates get so nervous that it keeps them from showing their interviewers who they really are beyond the jitteriness. To make matters worse, interviewers are well aware that the practice of law, especially at a prominent law firm, will inevitably be stressful at times. If a candidate struggles to keep herself together for a simple interview, how can he be trusted to keep cool on the job?
To mitigate your anxiety, anticipate some questions your interviewer may ask and have answers that are focused, specific, and personalized. Also, make sure to practice using a variety of methods: with a trusted colleague or friend, in front of a mirror, even recording yourself and playing it back so that you can fix any issues before the real thing!
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Do your interview skills pass the test? Do you need some assistance in improving your interview persona? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.