How should I prepare for an interview as an attorney?
This question comes up often so I decided to put together some quick tips on how attorneys should prepare for interviews.
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” and this couldn’t be more true for interviews.
Your first interview will be the determining factor as to whether or not you’ll be moving forward to the next step or even an offer. Needless to say, you shouldn’t wing it and walk in all willy nilly.
Here are some tips to help attorneys prepare for in-person interviews:
Get into research mode. Research the firm. Research everyone you’ll be meeting with (website bios, LinkedIn, Twitter). Research recent news and press releases.
You’ll be glad you did when they ask why our firm? Have you done your research on us? What do you know about our firm?
Believe me, you do not want to draw a blank here. Aren’t you also curious about the firm you’re interviewing with?
Choosing a firm to work for is such an important life decision. Doing your research on the firm will help you decide if you should pursue the opportunity.
Be prepared to answer common questions such as: Tell me about yourself. Why are you wanting to leave your firm? Why our firm? What are your salary requirements? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you been a bit jumpy in the past (be prepared to address this concern)?
Try to think of questions that you’d ask yourself. Think back to questions you’ve been asked in past interviews.
Go to Glassdoor and see if anyone has left feedback on interview questions that they were asked. Be prepared for those questions.
Prepare a few questions about the position, those who you’ll be working with, and the firm. This is a two-way street.
Print out enough resumes for each person you’ll be meeting with, along with a few extras, just in case. Use resume paper rather than regular printer paper (yes, it makes a difference). Check out my tips to make your resume stand out.
Bring 1-2 relevant writing samples with you. Quadruple check for grammatical errors. Make sure you redact information that should be kept confidential and avoid redacting information that does not need to be kept confidential.
Do not be late!
Check Waze at least a day ahead to know when to head out to arrive 20-30 minutes early.
What are you going to do for those 20-30 minutes? Hopefully, you didn’t miss an exit, take a wrong turn, run into traffic or a road where there is construction (this is South Florida), all great reasons for leaving early.
Use that extra time to further prepare. It’s okay to walk into the office 10-15 minutes early, in fact, I encourage it.
Get a haircut. Men, shave your face. It’s 2021 so beards are okay these days but make sure it’s well kept.
Dress for success
Iron your clothes the night before so you’re ready to go.
Men: that means a dark suit, a crisp white shirt with a nice solid tie, and a nice belt that matches your suit.
Women: wear a dark suit with a skirt (no shorter than 2 inches above your knee) or pants along with closed-toe shoes (such as pumps or 1-2 inch heels). Keep jewelry and makeup at a minimum.
Now that you know how to best prepare for your interviews, check out our top tips on in-person interviews.
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