Interviewing for a big job can be a major source of stress. For many law students, law firm interview season is the first time they’ve actually interviewed for an important job. With the right preparation, however, interviewing can be a stress-free and rewarding experience. A few simple tips can help you get over your nervousness and nail your first interview.
The following interview guide for law students will have you going into your next interview with the confidence you need to land that coveted law firm job.
- Know Your Resume Inside and Out. What’s in your resume is likely all your interviewer will know about you before you walk through the door. While they’ll likely focus on your education and work experience, anything you put in your resume is fair game for questioning, so be sure you know what’s in there and are prepared to discuss it. (Need some quick tips to help make your resume stand out to potential employers? Click here!)
- Speak Slowly and Clearly. It’s easy to speak too quickly or ramble when you’re nervous. When interviewing with a law firm, make a point of speaking slowly and clearly and giving concise answers to questions. It may be tempting to fill the silence, but you want to appear confident and give your interviewer a chance to ask more questions.
- Body Language Matters. One of the best ways to convey confidence is through your body language. Be sure to make eye contact with your interviewer and try not to fidget. Find a comfortable position where you’re focused attentively on your interviewer and settle in for the rest of your interview.
- Wear Something Comfortable. While you obviously want to appear professional for your interview, you also want to make sure you’re comfortable. The big interview might not be the right time to break in those new shoes or try out a new outfit. You should also avoid any clothes, jewelry, or hairstyles that might cause you to fidget.
- Do Your Research. Always go into your interview knowing some basic background about the firm and their practice areas – you want to show that you’re interested in working for that particular firm, not just any law firm. If you know who your interviewers will be in advance, do some basic research on them as well. Being able to display some knowledge about the firm will show that you’re serious about the job.
- Ask Questions. Another good way to show that you’re serious and interested is to ask questions, either about the firm or the interviewer or both. Most people like talking about themselves, so asking your interviewer questions is a good way to build rapport. Also, if you don’t understand something your interviewer is asking, be sure to ask for clarification. You want to leave the interview knowing that you gave them all the information they need and put your best foot forward.
Interviewing doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking experience. If you follow the simple tips in the interview guide above, you’ll be well on your way to making the transition from law student to lawyer.