Social Icons

google plusfacebooklinkedintwitterinstagramrss feedemail

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interviews and First Impressions

Worrying during job interview
© Photographer: Nyul | Agency:

A successful job interview and a successful initial client interview both depend on your ability to connect with the other person and make a powerful first impression.  This article focuses on how to make a great first impression during a legal job interview.  The next article will focus on how to answer common interview questions and demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job.

The first step to a good impression is research. When you are offered an interview, ask questions about who will be interviewing you.  What do they do exactly?  How long have they been there?  Look them up on Google and Linkedin (log out of Linkedin, so they do not see that you are looking them up).  Then, look up the company website and take notes on what is important to it.  You will need this information for every part of the interview since you need to highlight both your connections with the interviewer and how your skills mesh with the company’s goals.

Call them by name; this shows you are genuinely interested in the interviewer and the position.  According to Dale Carnegie: “There is no sweeter sound to any person's ear than the sound of his own name.”

Hot Tip: If a potential interviewer has an unusual name, call his voicemail after hours and listen to his outgoing voicemail message.  If you greet him with the proper pronunciation, you will stand out.

Look the part: Wear your best suit.  That goes for men as well as women.  Interviewers will assume that you are wearing your best outfit.

Be nice to the assistant: she may seem innocuous, but most lawyers take their assistant’s opinions seriously.  If she does not like you, you will probably lose the job.

Turn the interview into a conversation:  Ask the interviewer about herself and her firm.  Listen, connect and make them feel important.  If, in your research, you have discovered that you share an interest with the interviewer, work it into the conversation (without telling her that you have stalked her online).  Dale Carnegie put it best: “Talk to someone about themselves and they'll listen for hours.”

Show genuine interest: For one interview, I read press releases for several interesting cases that the attorney had argued.  More by accident than by plan, I spent much of the interview asking him details about one case or another and how he argued certain points of the cases – I got the job.

Follow up with a hand written thank you note to the interviewer and include something personal, so they know that you do not write the same note to everyone.

This is an abridged and adapted version of the published article:
Geoffrey J. Miller, Interviews and First Impressions, Pro Se, Apr. 2013 at 4.