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.

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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.