Rising 2Ls are going through Fall interviewing and many have asked for a refresher of the key things to think about:
- Listen as much as possible (80/20 or something close) — do not feel pressure to make all your points.
- Demonstrate to the employer that you have a strong sense (but careful do not come across as a know it all) of what the practice entails.
- Articulate with specifics how your skill set and background is relevant and will enable you to be effective and hit the ground running on day one.
- Do not focus on what you think someone wants to hear. Employers can generally pick up on that so try to be genuine where possible.
- Be concise. People have short attention spans. They want to do a lot of the talking too. As a general rule, take no longer than 30 seconds or so to get to the point. If you find that you are still talking, it is probably too long. Look for body language but it is probably time to stop. Lean towards keeping answers crisp and to the point.
- Ask one or two meaningful (real) questions
- Not an exact science but generally folks like to talk about themselves. If the interviewer spends a decent amount of time talking about himself or herself and you keep your answers short and to the point, the odds are in your favor that he or she will come away thinking good thoughts about you.
- Prepare and deliver a strong closing argument.
- Do not be afraid to ask for the job (if appropriate, take temperature of interviewers). One approach is to say “I am excited about what I heard and I think I can contribute right away because ____; what would be the logical next steps here?”
- Show a lot of enthusiasm (but be professional).
- Do not overdo it. Pulling up your chair to be closer to the interviewer might be a bit much. Monotone answers (even ones that are concise and substantive) are not enough.
- Walk in calm — take some a couple minutes in the bathroom if you need to cool down mentally and/or physically. Wash your face, relax.
- Arrive early but not too early. Earlier than 15 minutes is probably too anxious.
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