Can’t get a word in edgewise

What do you do during an interview when the interviewer does all the talking and hardly asks you any questions?  They just keep talking about the position and just ask you the basic questions?

  • Listen actively and demonstrate this skill by asking follow-up questions.  Generally, the more the interviewer is allowed to talk and the more you listen actively, the more favorable impression he or she will have about you.
  • Come to the interview armed with two or three points/big picture themes you want to communicate, the rest is gravy so do not worry about fitting it in.  Definitely do not talk quickly in the hopes of fitting it all in.
  • Use every question you are asked as an opportunity to articulate one of these points/themes.  Think politicians here and stick to your script no matter what the question.
  • Transition to you smoothly by piggybacking off the interviewer's story if possible to show active listening, keep the interviewer engaged, and to make your point.
  • Legal employer generally wants to know that you can write, think, and talk like a lawyer and handle larger amounts of responsibility and stress and that you have some commitment and focus to the particular practice area.  Use your answers to:
    • Demonstrate your verbal skills by being concise and to the point with some humor (to keep the person interested).  Every word carries freight so make sure each one of yours is necessary and adds to your marketability.
    • Demonstrate that you can write and think like a lawyer.  Perhaps explain your approach to a project at a prior job and highlight your methodical way of gleaning the facts, your attention to detail, challenges you overcame (by your ability to get deep in the weeds), creative solutions you came up with (applying law to facts), etc.
    • Demonstrate your technical knowledge about the practice area by clearly explaining the law (including the general rule and possible exceptions applicable to your project) and perhaps the policy behind the law to show that you area able to think about and appreciate the big picture as well as the tiny details which are relevant.

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