On-Campus Interviewing Process


Interview — a formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications (as of a prospective student or employee).”
-Merriam Webster's Dictionary

The beginning of 2L year marks the start of the job search for next summer, scary I know.  While most of this happens during the summer, firms and businesses are still taking applications for on-campus interviews.  What’s really stressful, at least for me, is a lot of these opportunities are not just for next summer, but can lead into a full time job after graduation.  If you’ve read my About Me section before, then you likely know that I would love to have a career in corporate law.  However, not a lot of people end up working in-house for a company right after law school, that means a firm life is likely what I’ll have until I gain enough experience to interview in-house.  That being said here’s an overview of the process of on-campus interviewing!

Step 1:  Research the employers offering interviews.

During the on-campus interview process, a large number of firms and companies contact law schools for students to interview at the school.  There’s a wide variety of employers you can interview with, but that also comes with a downside.  The options of who to interview with are endless so the first thing to do when it comes to on-campus interviewing is to decide which law firms or companies to interview with.  Researching the different companies can be tedious, but it’ll help narrow down which employers you want to apply to.  I personally narrowed down by the practice areas, reputation, distance, and their summer associate program details.

Step 2:  Ensure your cover letter and resume are perfect.

Unlike applying to law school, applying for an on-campus interview doesn’t give you a big opportunity to express your personality and interests.  The first impressions recruiting committees see of you is in your resume and cover letter.  Making sure that your resume and cover letter are grammatically correct and free from typos shows that you’re detail oriented and professional.  I also like to highlight some of my more personable qualities in my resume (for example, I have that I’m a law school blogger on my resume!) and why I’m interested in the firm/company in my cover letter.  I’ll have more later on what makes a great cover letter and resume.

Step 3:  Send in your applications and wait.

This actually might be one of the most stressful parts of the on-campus interview process is waiting to see if you were chosen for an interview.  One of the firms I applied to actually took longer to respond to the school than some of the other ones.  So for a long time, I thought I wasn’t chosen for the interview at first and was really surprised when I received the email telling me when the interview was.  But, if you don’t get selected for one interviews, don’t worry, there are a lot of firms looking for summer associates (and I personally didn’t get selected for interviews as well).

Step 4:  The Interview Itself

When I had my first law related interview, it only lasted 20 minutes, and my dad was so surprised because he was used to super long interviews.  But, most on-campus interviews are only 20 minutes as well, which requires you to get across your qualifications and interest in a very short period of time.  My initial interviewer gave me a lot of opportunity to ask questions about the firm and their summer associate program.  So if I had one piece of advice for an initial on-campus interview, it would be to take notes on what interests you about the firm/company when you’re doing your initial research to be prepared.

Step 5:  The Follow-Up Interview

When your initial interview goes well, you’ll be called back for a set of follow up interviews with more of the attorneys at the firm/company.  So funny story about my follow-up interview.  Based on the conversation I had with my initial interviewer, I thought I wouldn’t hear back for a few weeks if I had been selected for additional interviews; however, my original interviewer called me the next day to set up a day for me to have my follow up.  But the worst part was I left my suit in my school apartment but the interview wasn’t far from my house so I had to either put something together quickly or drive back to my apartment.  I chose the former and pieced together an outfit so everything worked out in the end, but moral of the story is to always be prepared.

My follow-up interview consisted of four twenty minutes interviews with different attorneys and lunch with two other attorneys.  It went by so quickly, and I felt like I told the same stories over and over again.  Tip for lunch on interviews, stick with water and always test everything before salting or adding more sugar.  I actually ordered what one of the attorneys did so I didn’t feel too self-conscious of what I was eating.  And most importantly, be yourself and try to get across your qualifications but not in a braggadocios way.

Step 6:  Thank You Notes

One of the things that my mom instilled in me once I started going on interviews is to always follow up with your interview and thank them for their time.  So for every on-campus interview, you should send a thank you note, saying how you appreciate them taking time out of their schedule to meet with you and interview you, and add something personal about your conversation so it isn’t the same for everyone.  Politeness goes a long way and can make the difference in your quest for employment.

I hope you enjoyed my overview of the on-campus interview process.  If you have any interviews soon, good luck on them!

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