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The first session of OCI interviews will begin next week at Richmond Law. Although we are back to starting OCI in early August, as we did before the pandemic, screening interviews will be conducted remotely on Zoom or FloRecruit. We asked R. Kennon Poteat III (L’06), a partner and member of the Hiring Committee at Williams & Connolly, for his advice to students on interview preparation and tips for success in remote interviewing:

  • Smile!  Interviews may make you nervous but a little smile goes a long way to show your interviewer that you are engaged.
  • Prepare for your interviews by researching ahead of time but don’t read your answers. Similarly, don’t multitask during the interview. The interviewer can tell.
  • Wear professional attire. Make the effort to dress as if the interview was in person.
  • Adjust your physical surroundings to make for a successful virtual interview, and make sure you have good lighting so you show up well on video.
    • If you live with other adults or work in a shared space, let them know when you have an interview so they can carve out time not to interrupt.
    • If you live with children or pets who may interrupt regardless, let the interviewer know ahead of time of a potential interruption.
    • Check your internet connection. If it is spotty, alert the interviewer at the outset and advise you may switch off your video to keep the interview going. If your internet connection historically is not great where you are, consider purchasing a signal booster to help improve video quality.
    • Relatedly, keep the interviewer’s phone number handy. If either of you lose connection, you can call the interviewer instead. This is especially helpful during screening interviews where you may only have a limited window.
    • Don’t be late. Logging in may sometimes take longer than you anticipate, so try to log in at least 5 minutes early.
  • All that said, the basics of how to substantively interview well are still paramount!
    • Know your resume and be prepared to discuss everything you list.
    • If you have a resume gap or are concerned about grades or something that isn’t your strong suit, be prepared with an answer without being defensive. And don’t lead with the bad stuff – just be ready to address it if it comes up.
    • Talk about your past employment in a positive way. You may have had less than stellar jobs or experiences in the past but try to highlight what you learned vs. criticizing any former employers. Also remember to maintain confidentiality if you’ve done previous client work – doing so will show the person you are interviewing how you may talk about them one day!
    • Follow up with a thank you – something short that thanks the person for their time can go a long way! And always proofread!
  • Finally, don’t overdo it! Virtual interviewing is surprisingly exhausting, so to the extent you can, limit how many you do in a day, or schedule them when you are at your freshest.