Does applying to an employer obligate me to interview?
Yes, you must participate in OCI interviews to which you are invited unless you have accepted employment and notified the CDO. (See the Interview and Offer Policies section of the 2019-2020 Recruitment Guide.)
How should I prepare for an interview?
- Think about why you applied to that particular employer. (Do not apply if you are not interested and would not accept an offer from the employer.)
- Reflect on your strengths and what you want to contribute.
- Be ready with a strong opening statement about who you are and why you are interested in that employer.
- Review the employer’s website. Research the firm or organization. Understand their mission, values, clients and practices.
- Review summer evaluations in Symplicity and talk to other students who have worked for that employer.
- Research your interviewers.
- Use Lexis or Westlaw to identify recent news regarding the employer.
- Have insightful questions ready.
- Practice your responses to frequently asked interview questions out loud in a mirror, in the car, and to your dog. Schedule a mock interview with the CDO.
- Express your passion and enthusiasm. Employers want to hire someone who is eager to learn and will be an enjoyable addition to the office.
- Do not bring your laptop, coat or beverage into the interview. Sit up straight and do not fidget.
- Remember you are being judged on your presentation as well as the content of your answers.
What will the interviewer(s) ask me? What questions should I ask?
For common interview questions and more tips on interviewing, read the CDO’s Interviewing Guide. Practice your answers in advance so you can lead with your strengths.
What are employers looking for?
Interviewers are trying to determine whether you will be a good fit for their workplace and whether you have the skills and experience to handle their work. They pay attention not only to the content of your answers, but also to how you present yourself, your communication skills, your ability to get along with others, your passion for the law, your knowledge about the employer, and how well you think on your feet.
Do I need to buy an expensive new suit?
Even on a tight student budget, a professional interview suit is necessary. You should have at least one “go to” shirt and suit for interviewing. It is important that your clothes are clean, ironed and well-fitting, but they need not be expensive. Interviewers are human and cannot help but notice your attire (just like clients will notice your professional appearance). The goal in selecting your interview attire is to find an outfit that will project a professional image and not distract from your qualifications.
For men: Do I have to shave?
A clean-shaven face is most appropriate in the conservative legal profession. If you opt to keep facial hair, it should be trimmed and well maintained.
For women: Do I have to wear pantyhose?
While professional attire has relaxed for women in the office, it is wise to dress more conservatively for interviews. Pantyhose and modest heels are expected. A well-tailored pants suit is acceptable. Tights and tall boots may be fashionable in the winter, but are not appropriate for an interview.
Should I bring additional copies of my application materials to an interview?
Yes, you should bring copies of your updated resume, transcript, reference list and writing sample to each interview in which you participate. Be prepared to talk about everything in your materials.
When an employer requests a transcript, should it be an “official” transcript?
No, copies of your official transcript are acceptable to the vast majority of employers. You may request an unofficial transcript from the Registrar’s Office. Do not distribute the BannerWeb version of your transcript. Should an employer require an official transcript directly from the university, they will let you know. Employers often require official transcripts at the offer stage.
Any tips on interviewing successfully via Skype?
As with an in-person interview, dress appropriately, monitor your body language, and remember to smile. You should also plan your background shot and test the equipment in advance. You may schedule an appointment to use the equipment in the CDO conference room for your Skype interview.
I accepted an offer for the summer, but I have another interview scheduled tomorrow. I don’t want to be rude and cancel at the last minute. Should I go on the interview to practice my interviewing skills?
If you cannot or do not intend to accept an offer of employment, do not accept the interview. If you agree to an interview and later accept an offer of employment elsewhere, you should call to cancel all other interviews. If you have an interview scheduled through a Richmond Law interview program, contact the CDO immediately upon acceptance of a job offer. The CDO will serve as the liaison between you and the employer. Interviewing when you cannot, or do not wish to, accept employment wastes the employer’s time, and decreases other students’ interview opportunities.