This week we have a guest post from Todd Tenge from the Tenge Law Firm. He’s been interviewing applicants, and wants to provide tips on what it takes to get a job at law firms. S
o, at this point, we’re turning it over to Todd.
The power of persuasion is one of the greatest skill a lawyer can have. However, any good lawyer will tell you that a strong argument alone is not enough to convince people. Rather it is a combination of a number of factors that work together on the psyche of the person you are trying to convince.
Ultimately, a job interview is practically just an exercise in convincing someone of your argument. Hence, a law interview can be looked at as the first great test for any new lawyer. Unlike job interviews in other professions where failure to get hired is not a big deal, a law interview is not to be taken casually. The legal profession carries with it considerable prestige, exclusivity and gravitas, and reputation is highly regarded. Plainly put, big clients only want winners to handle their cases. They want someone who can “do i
t once, do it right”.
So, as a new lawyer whose goal is to get into a particular firm, how do you make sure that you pass your law interview on your first try?
Tenge Law, a personal injury firm in Fort Collins, recently published an infographic for the benefit of new lawyers who are looking to take their first interview. Entitled “Job Interviewing: Advice for Incoming Attorneys”, it includes a lot of invaluable tips on what they are looking for when hiring new attorneys. According to the infographic, here are some things you can do to make a very compelling case in support of your application:
Do Diligent Research and Preparation
Here are some things you can do in preparation for your interview. Never cram, you should be prepared even before you get a call for an initial interview.
Research the firm – Know everything you need to know about the firm you want to apply at, so that when asked, you would be able to give a well-informed answer, and continue the exchange by throwing a good question as well. Aside from thoroughly researching their website, also make sure to interview people who have worked at the place.
Research possible questions – Never get caught unaware and unable to give a good answer. An aspiring lawyer must always be glib, and the lack of brilliance can always be remedied by enough preparation. Prepare answers to questions about your career goals, your resume, and how you deal with challenges.
Prepare questions – If you have trouble being spontaneous, it would be good to prepare well-informed questions that you can use to cultivate a good exchange between you and the interviewer.
Seek to Impress
Interviewers like to be impressed. It is important for you to stand out, in a good way, among all other candidates for the same position.
Submit a good looking resume – The resume you submit must be free from any errors and inaccurate information. It must also be impressive in a sense that only your most noteworthy achievements related to the profession are listed, without any fluff.
Be polite – Show courtesy to EVERYONE you meet at the firm. You’ll never know who you might be making an impression on.
Be confident – You should also show a healthy air of confidence at all times. Don’t equate being polite with bending over backwards over every little thing, just be accommodating and positive.
Dress accordingly – There are no other options aside from business formal. Choose a well-fitted suit in black, gray or navy, with polished shoes. Hair should always be clean and neat, and restrict jewelry to the minimum.
Show Eagerness and Interest
It takes a lot to be able to become a lawyer, so understandably the law is not just a career, but a lifetime calling for those in the legal profession. Therefore, you must be able to show that you are just as passionate about the law as they are.
Be on time – If possible, arrive around 15 mins earlier to show that you respect the firm’s time and that you are eager and consider them as your top priority.
Ask questions – Be prepared to throw some questions when given the opportunity to do so. Not only is this a chance to get information, but is a good way to develop rapport with the interviewer, ensuring that you reinforce a positive and long lasting image in his mind.
Do a follow up – Always make sure to send a thank you a day after the interview to make sure that your application is not being overlooked. Send another follow up in 1-2 weeks if you don’t get a call back.
Once you’re done, head on over to Todd’s website and blog: http://www.tengelaw.com/blog/
Interested or have an idea for a guest post, fill out a contact form.