You’ve crafted the perfect resume and cover letter, so now it’s time to secure the last and most important piece of the job hunt puzzle: the interview. Your qualifications and proven track record are what got you to this point, but your personality is what will get your foot in the door. People like to work with people they connect to and with whom they share a professional chemistry. You may be the most qualified candidate on paper, but if you’re brash or arrogant, or shy and too retiring, odds are you won’t get hired.
Assigned Counsel’s Recruiting Attorneys have helped hundreds of lawyers prepare for interviews, and have collected several useful recommendations along the way. Keep reading to find out their three keys to nailing an interview and landing the temporary attorney position you’ve been working toward.
The first key to remember is preparation. Perform thorough research on the company, including its mission statement, products and services, operating regions and more. Be a sponge and absorb everything you can about the organization and people you’ll be interviewing with. The interviewer will be able to tell pretty quickly if you’re unprepared.
Next, you’ll need to prepare for the logistics of the interview. When an in-person meeting isn’t feasible, you might have to facilitate a phone or video interview. In this case, be sure to set up the interview in an appropriate environment with a good connection. If you’re driving to a location you’ve never been to, take a test drive there a day beforehand to familiarize yourself, or leave plenty of time day-of to arrive early.
Practice makes perfect—well, nearly perfect. Always practice your elevator pitch before stepping into an interview. The first few minutes are imperative, and are typically all the interviewer needs to determine his or her hiring decision. Give a friend or family member an exhaustive list of questions you’ll likely be asked and practice answering them over and over – but don’t memorize. Or, ask your Recruiting Attorney to run a practice interview with you. The more comfortable you are with your answers, the more confident you’ll be during the actual interview.
It goes without saying that you should dress neatly and professionally for an in-person meeting, but in both video and phone interviews, you should also dress the part. Even if you’re not face to face, dressing nicely will make you more confident and put you in the right mindset for the position, and will reflect in how you carry yourself over the phone.
Be polite to everybody you meet, from the security guard to the receptionist to the interviewer. When you’re finally in the interview, be aware of your body language, speak confidently and make eye contact. The way you compose yourself during an interview will leave a longer-lasting impression than your cover letter and resume, so make it count!
We’ve mentioned what you should do before and during the interview. What about after? Always, always remember to thank each interviewer within a day or two of speaking with them. Not only is it an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful person, but it can put you ahead of another candidate who failed to follow up.
That wraps up the third and final piece of our Job Hunt Series. Keep the three keys—preparation, practice, presentation—in mind and you’ll be well on your way to landing a position. Let us know in the comments if there’s another interview tip you think we missed. And, if you liked what you read, make sure to follow along with the Assigned Counsel blog for future tips and tricks.