On Campus Interviews (OCI) can be hectic and stressful. They are, after all, screening interviews meant to narrow the pool of applicants. How can you stand out from the crowd and score a call back interview? Here are a few pointers that will help you leave a positive impression:
- Do your Homework – Basically, employers want to know what you can do for them. Researching the skills and attributes they are looking for in a summer associate will allow you to target your answers and examples to showcase your attributes. Develop key messages about who you are and what you have to offer. Researching the firm beforehand will also help you avoid common mistakes like telling a litigation firm that you are really only interested in transactional law. Researching your interviewers in advance by reviewing their law firm biographies can help you identify any common interests you may want to play up during the interview.
- Practice Makes Perfect – Do not underestimate the importance of a mock interview. Doing a practice interview with an alum or scheduling one with the Career Development staff can give you insight on areas that need improvement as well as areas of strength.
- Start Strong – Arrive 10 minutes early for your interview. Have a small note card with the important attributes and examples you want to highlight, key facts about the firm, and questions you intend to ask. Briefly reviewing your notes will put you at ease. As you enter the interview room, approach the interviewer(s) with confidence, a firm handshake, and strong eye contact. If there are multiple interviewers, make sure you note who is whom, so you can address them during your interview.
- Tell the Story – The interviewers will see many candidates, not just at Mizzou Law but at other law schools as well. Tie your experiences together, using specific examples that will make you memorable. Regardless of the questions, be prepared to highlight what is “special” about you and why you are a good fit for their firm. Also be prepared for the tough questions, such as, “Why did you get a 75 in Contracts?” or “Why did you go from Religious Studies to Law?” How you answer can help you stand out positively.
- Take Your Time – Yes, you only have around 20 minutes, but take the time to really listen and understand the questions you are asked. Pausing for a few seconds to consider your answer is perfectly fine. Asking for clarification is also acceptable. Relax and smile. Show that you can stay calm under pressure, an important skill for an attorney!
- Have Questions Ready – When asked “Do you have any questions for me?”, be prepared with well thought out questions that show you have researched the firm and have a genuine interest in working there.