I’ve put together my top interview tips for attorneys that want to ace their interviews (that should be all of you!). If your upcoming interview is a Zoom or Skype video interview, then you may want to check out our top tips on nailing your Zoom or Skype video interview.
Before your interview, you must prepare. If you haven’t already read my article on how attorneys should prepare for interviews, I highly recommend that you do so after reading this.
These tips will help you nail your next in-person interview.
Bring a copy of your resume for each person whom you’ll be meeting with, along with 3 extras just in case. Use resume paper.
Men: wear a black or dark blue suit with a crisp (ironed) white shirt, a matching belt, and a bold tie.
Women: wear a dark suit with a skirt or pants and go for closed-toe shoes (pumps or 1-2 inch heels) versus an opened-toe.
Cologne and perfumes
Do not use any cologne or perfume. I get it you have this special cologne or perfume that smells amazing but, remember, not everyone has your incredible taste in fragrances.
While some may appreciate it, others will be distracted and turned off by the smell. It’s an unnecessary gamble where the risk is not worth the reward.
Get there early
Do not show up late. Things happen: traffic, missed exits, accidents, no parking spots, trouble finding the place, detours due to construction (this is South Florida after all), any one of these scenarios can cause you to be late.
Your best bet is to aim to get there 30 minutes early. This way, if any of these scenarios come up, you’ll still likely be on time. Best case, you get there 30-minutes early, and you now have a few extra minutes to further prepare for your interview.
I wouldn’t drop in 30-minutes early but, 10-15 minutes is okay.
When you meet your interviewer, stand-up, offer a firm handshake, flash a big beautiful smile while looking them directly in the eye, and introduce yourself.
Break the ice and strike up some small talk on the way to the office. Maybe about the weather, or a current event that just occurred, whatever it may be, the walk to the office is a great time to break the ice.
When sitting down
Sit up straight and maintain good posture. Avoid slouching, leaning back, and crossing your legs. You don’t want to come across too relaxed.
Instead, you want to come across engaged, confident, and assertive. Leaning back is a sign of disinterest. When you cross your legs, you’re saying I’m relaxed.
When you slouch, it comes across lazy. Leaning forward shows interest. Sitting up straight shows confidence and assertiveness.
Answer questions with examples
Instead of answering a question with a short yes or no, follow up with a clear and concise example.
Don’t bring up salary or benefits. Firms want to know that you care more about the position rather than the money. If they bring up money, then it’s safe to discuss.
Always be clear and concise in your answers. Don’t be that person who rambles on and one for minutes on end.
Working with a recruiter?
Call your recruiter immediately after you exit the building! We want to hear how things went before calling the firm to get feedback from their end.
Do's and Do not's
- Do not be late.
- Do not wear perfume or cologne.
- Do not chew gum or have any breath mints of any kind in your mouth.
- Do not bring up salary or benefits. It’s okay to discuss if they bring it up.
- Do not bring up vacation time.
- Do not look at your watch during the interview.
- Do not be negative when asked about past experiences (even if they were). Always be positive.
- Turn off your phone or put it on silent (not vibration mode).
- Maintain good eye contact.
- Maintain good posture.
- Engage in the interview.
- Be positive about past experiences.
- Ask good questions.
- Sell yourself. Talk about your strengths (when appropriate).
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