Lining up job interviews can be stressful. The only thing more stressful than trying to get a job interview is the interview itself. There are two keys to a successful job interview: 1) Preparation; 2) Jim Beam. Nothing will ease the stress and tension of being questioned by a person holding your potential future in their hands like preparation and a few good knocks of Jim Beam.*Other tips, include the following:
1-FOR GOD SAKE'S, DON'T TELL THE TRUTH
You can answer questions truthfully or correctly. Always opt for the correct response. Answering truthfully can only cause problems.
Partner: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Truthful Applicant: Probably fifteen pounds overweight, morosely unhappy, working on my second marriage, up to three packs a day and despising you.
Correct Applicant: My goal is that in ten years my dedication and legal talent will have brought this firm new clients, making me a valuable asset to Strunk & White.
Partner: Why do you want to work at Strunk & White?
Truthful: My student loans are coming due and I'll work just about anywhere.
Correct: Strunk & White is a dynamic firm focused on the future. It's young, cutting-edge partners are universally recognized as leaders in the 21st Century legal community.
2-PUT THE IDEALISM ON HOLD
Today's legal market simply has no place for young, idealistic attorneys. They're looking for something a bit different.
Partner: So, why do you want to become a lawyer?
Wrong - "I wanted to help people."
Right - "I like to eat what I kill."
Wrong - "I wanted to do a lot of pro bono work."
Right - "Analyzing amortization rates gives me wood."
3- YOUR MOTHER WAS WRONG
Your mother was wrong. It's not what's on the inside that counts, it's not how you play the game. Appearances matter. If you're one of the beautiful people, flaunt that gift. Show some leg, perhaps some cleavage.**
It's also important to remember that lawyers, especially those that are in a position to interview people, value individuality. Men, don't hesitate to wear your hair long, or in a ponytail. Women, if you have a tattoo, make sure your interrogator knows about your body art. In some cases, you may dispense with wearing a suit, opting for something casual. Or be daring, a trait highly valued in the legal profession. Instead of casual, go in the opposite direction: dust off those tuxedos and prom gowns.
4- YOUR TURN
Be prepared for the final question: "So, do you have any questions?" That's usually the examiners hint that he or she is done with you. Make your questions short and insightful. Don't be afraid of adding some humor to the interview. As all associates know, the most stern and dignified of senior partners always enjoys twenty-something humor. What's that? You need examples? Sure!
1) Do you guys have a stalking policy or are you cool with that?
2) Which department has the hottest paralegals?
3) What's the average age of a partner? I like have, like zero patience?
4) That sexual harassment policy in the employee handbook? You're kidding, right?
5-THE FOLLOW-UP LETTER
Always send a follow-up letter to the hiring partner. It's only common courtesy. If you have decided to take another position, a follow-up letter is still in order.
Dear: Insert Name Here
It was a pleasure to meet with you to discuss employment opportunities. You have an impressive firm. As you probably know, I have received a variety of offers and cannot accept them all. Unfortunately, at this time your firm does not meet my needs.
I wish your firm every success in the future.
Insert Name Here
* Johnny Walker is an adequate substitute for Jim Beam
** This goes for the women and well as the men