Sunday, August 11, 2013

GUEST POST: Standing Out

Today's guest post is from William Dolan, a recent graduate in the Class of 2013, where he tells what he did to "stand out" from the crowd during OCI.

As someone from one of the big N.Y. firms told me last year when I was participating in OCI, “you need to ‘stand out’ to get a job offer in this market.” The way I chose to “stand out” was to be more prepared than other candidates.

In terms of interview preparation specifics, I wrote out a list of potential questions, and the answers I intended to give. I created a list by taking career services’ general interview questions and adding questions specific to me. For instance, since law is a second career for me, I prepared for the question, “why law school”? Similarly, because I was not from N.J., I included the question, “why N.J.”?

Reading back my answers allowed me to see them from a more objective perspective, identify weaknesses, and refine them before I began interviewing. Equally important, I rehearsed my answers. This helped me to cut out awkward pauses. Practicing your answers also helps eliminate the dreaded “ums” for those of you cursed with that problem.

Finally, I researched every firm and interviewer to identify substantive questions I could ask in the interview. By doing so, I was able to convey that I was informed and engaged in the interview and that firm in particular. For example, on a callback interview with a top N.Y. M & A lawyer, I asked if I could pose a practice question at the end of the interview. With the interviewer’s encouragement, I asked how he dealt with a particular personality type when negotiating a deal.

With the interviewing success I achieved, I believe I accomplished my goal of “standing out” from the competition.