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The interviewer is not your advocate. He or she will not pick out the good points in your background. You have to do it.
Go through your background and write down accomplishments. Look at the list. Select 3-5 job-related strengths. No need for them to be legal. Select transferable skills. Come up with personal job related achievements. Weave together a picture of yourself as someone who the employer should want to hire. Remember, this picture of yourself should be employer specific. Memorize this.
Men Avoid black suits. White, light blue, light striped shirts. Clean cut fingernails. No cologne. A nice tie (spend a little bit here). Piercings? Women No evening wear. Keep the cleavage to a minimum. Pant suits are fine; wear what is comfortable. No big jewelry; no strong perfume.
Night before: Sleep! Get there 5-10 minutes early. Bring extra copies of resume, cover letter, writing sample, etc., in a portfolio. No book bags or backpacks. Be nice to the receptionist/secretary. Everything you say will be reported back.
Some employers will make decisions about you within the first five minutes of an interview. People want to work with people they like. Convincing an employer that you are likeable is ½ the battle; the other half is convincing that you can do the work. You need to show confidence and what you bring to the table. Eye contact Firm handshake Greet by name
Stay positive no matter what. Show enthusiasm. Your manner should suggest, I know who you are and I want to be a part of you. No time for modesty, but dont be cocky. Assertive, not aggressive. Puffing is fine, lying is not. Stay in your skin; make it real; take possession of the questions; dont just go through the motions. No note taking; no index cards.
Answers should be about what you bring to the table, not how the experience will be good for you. Be as specific and concrete as you can be. Why do you want to work here? Why did you go to law school? Why did you go to Touro? What do you do with the Touro Real Estate Law Society or with the SBA? What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Anything on your resume is fair game.
Tests how you handle yourself under pressure. The way you answer the question is often more important than the answer itself. The employer is asking him or herself: Do you have the good judgment to answer the question in a way a lawyer would answer it? If the employer raises a bad fact, admit the bad fact and move on to something positive that is related. Dont be defensive.
Tell me about yourself. In other words, tell me something about yourself that will make me want to hire you Use your infomercial Avoid family histories; dont go on and on What are your weaknesses? Pick a weakness with a positive associated with it: you focus on one aspect of a project; you tend to over research. Dont say perfectionist
What are your strengths? Something(s) the employer will value: Im patient doesn't cut it. Use specific examples in your experience to back up your answer: For example… Why should we hire you? Can do and will do answers: use your infomercial; your experience; willingness to work hard; commitment to practice area; interest in building and developing clients Not, Im the best there is
Why arent your grades better? Fess up: I am disappointed in a few of my grades, but I always turned the disappointment into a learning experience by talking with my professor about what he or she wanted to see written on the exam. What I am most proud of is how Ive been able to translate what I have learned in school to the office. For example… Mention classes you did well in that are related to the employer; great feedback on your writing at work; seminars vs. exam courses; clinical courses. Stay positive. No dissing a professor.
Describe how you have handled a mistake you have made in the past. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. Discuss an important written document you were required to complete. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem. Behavioral Questions: questions which gauge future performance based upon past behavior
Are you married? Do you have children? Do you observe the Sabbath? Illegal Questions: questions used to obtain information which could be used to unlawfully discriminate against the applicant Your Response: Anger or Constructive Dialogue?
You must have a question Stay away from purely factual questions, whats in it for me questions, and things you should know Salary, benefits, hours, training, size of employer Stick with experiential questions What do you like about working here? (Not what do you like least) What might a typical assignment be? What drew you to this practice area? How has the practice changed in the last five years? What is the biggest challenge for an intern or new attorney?
Show up late and/or unprepared Fail to show enthusiasm Be negative Hiding your strengths Volunteering flaws Showing arrogance rather than self-confidence Being defensive or apologetic Being intimidated Dissing the help Thinking that associates are on your side