Interviewing Advice For People Who Hate To Interview
Via Above The Law : Interviewing Advice For People Who Hate To Interview
Delivered through a charmingly overextended dating analogy.
In terms of the most dreaded activities in the legal profession, interviewing is right up there with networking and attending CLEs. To me, interviewing is the same as going on a series of first dates where you desperately want to be in a relationship and the other person plays it cool. You get all dressed up, make polite small talk, and laugh nervously. All the while, you are really just thinking “are we going to do this thing or not?” Beforehand, you wait in anticipation, hands sweating, as you play out all possible scenarios of how horribly wrong things could go, and afterwards you sit around anxiously waiting for the phone to ring.
My heart palpitates just thinking about it. Luckily for you, I’ve been on both a lot of first dates (as accurately predicted by my parents) and through many job interviews (as both the interviewer and the interviewee) and gathered my best survival tips below.
It is 2017, does anyone go on a date anymore without googling the person before? I think not. The same should be true for interviews. While you have probably already researched the company in order to prepare your application, it is time to take things to the next level. Hopefully, you know the names of the people you will be meeting with and can now put those years of internet stalking to good use. You don’t want to dive so deep that you freak your interviewer (or date) out, but if there is a piece of information readily available about him or her in a Google search, you should know it.
While you are doing your research, don’t forget to look yourself up. Do a quick search of your own name. The prospective employer is probably searching you as well and you want to know exactly what they will see. This is also a good time to review any interview materials you submitted. You will surely be asked some difficult questions during your interview but “where did you go to college?” shouldn’t be one of them.
You would probably put some serious thought into what to wear on a first date, so don’t forget to do the same for your interview. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in what you are wearing, because if you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean show up in yoga pants and a tank top that says “rosé all day on it.” Rather, find something that fits, makes you feel confident, and isn’t going to, in any way, distract your interviewer. The last thing you want is to nail the interview, but leave the interviewer asking, “do you think she will dress like that every day?”
Dates and interviews are all about first impressions. In order for either to be successful, both parties have to like each other (albeit in very different ways). This concept first came to my attention when I was interviewing for 1L summer internships. An interviewer told me that after a candidate has established that he or she has the minimum qualifications necessary for a job, the next consideration is whether he actually likes the candidate personally, and if he or she is someone he would want to work with on a daily basis. This is why it is so important to be yourself. If you pretend to be someone you are not and get the job, everyone, including you, will be unhappy when you get there.
Have you ever been on a date where it seems like the other person isn’t really listening to you and that he or she is just waiting for his or her turn to talk? Kind of sucks, doesn’t it? That is why it is crucial during a job interview to listen to understand, not just respond. Don’t just be interesting be interested. Ask questions, not just because you have to, but also because you genuinely want to know more.
This can be a really difficult thing to do. Particularly when you are nervous and want to make sure that you say the “right” thing. However, if you are constantly focused on how you will respond to something, you are never truly present, and that will be obvious to the interviewer. Don’t be afraid to listen fully and then take a moment to gather your thoughts and respond. Pausing to give a well thought out answer will usually be more effective than rushing to fill the silence.
If you went on a really good date, you would most likely want to see that person again right? But, maybe you wouldn’t reach out to him or her because you don’t want to seem desperate or you want him or her to text you first. Like I always say, “don’t play games in love or interviewing.” Just kidding. I’ve never said that before. But, it is still good advice.
Make sure you send a follow up thank you after your interview. It is not only the nice thing to do, but it also lets the interview know you are seriously interested in the position. If you are looking for a way to stand out, consider sending a handwritten note, because you know everyone else will send an email. Word of caution: make sure your thank you notes are short, sweet, and thoroughly proofread.
An interview, like a date, is in every way a pitch. You are putting yourself out there, proposing an idea, and have the chance to get hurt or let down in the process. The very best advice my business mentor has given me on pitching is to quickly put it behind you and move on to the next thing. Once you drop that thank you card in the mail, find something else to focus on. You can’t telepathically will them to hire you (but if you figure out how, please let me know) and continuing to think about it will only lead to anxiety. Instead, turn back to the job search, preparing for classes, or another project you have going on.
If you hate interviewing, this probably didn’t make you love it or feel super excited to do it. But, maybe it did make you want to go on a date? Either way, I hope the interview process seems a little less daunting now.
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