Interview tips for Attorney Candidates

  1. Be Prepared. Arrive prepared. Know as much about the position that you are interviewing for as possible. Research the firm or company and the individuals in advance of the interview.
  2. Be Punctual. Arrive on time. If it appears as though you might be late, call in advance to let them know. Arrive properly groomed and attired. When in doubt, err on the side of formal as opposed to business casual.
  3. Act the part. Give a firm handshake when introducing yourself. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Project confidence and be self-assured. Relax and smile. There’s nothing to be nervous about.
  4. Avoid talking too much. Avoid talking about yourself too much. If the person you are interviewing with wants to talk, let them. Talk about what they want to talk about rather than what you want to talk about.
  5. Set expectations regarding progress. Before the interview concludes, express interest in moving the process along toward the offer stage by asking, “What is the next step?, ” so that you set and manage expectations regarding progress toward an offer.
  6. Avoid taboo topics. Avoid talking about money or giving the impression that money is the motivating factor in your search. If you are under compensated, it may cast doubt on your worth, as there will always be those who believe that “you get what you pay for” and that your current employer may be no different. When asked what your salary expectations are, an appropriate response would be, “I expect to be paid commensurate with others who share my background, experience, and credentials.”
  7. Finish what you start. Get the offer, even if it’s not your ideal choice. Just because you receive an offer doesn’t mean that you are beholden to accept it. Success begets success. Offers can create a sense of urgency among other prospective employers. They can also help set the table for other, more desirable offers.
  8. Say nice things. Never disparage your current or past employer or offer up a “personality” mismatch with the person you work for as a reason for leaving. It will only serve to cast doubt on your own candidacy.
  9. Maintain confidentiality. Take the necessary steps to preserve the confidential nature of your search. Utilize personal email and phones when communicating with prospective employers or recruiters during the search process. Avoid meeting in a place where others from your current firm or company might recognize you. Be careful -- many confidentiality breaches occur because the candidate confided information about their search to a “trusted” colleague, co-worker, or secretary.
  10. Mind your manners. A healthy dose of “please” and “thank you” will go a long way toward endearing you to your future employer. If meeting over lunch or dinner, etiquette matters. Follow up with a “thank you” note. While it may sound old fashioned, hand written notes are always better received than emails.