Category Archives: Interviewing

Mock Interview Program

Duquesne Law students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Mock Interview Program coordinated by the Career Services Office. The program will take place from February 8 – February 19, 2016.

In this program, local attorneys and recruiters volunteer to conduct mock interviews with students either at their law firms or at the law school. Each mock interview is scheduled for approximately 30 minutes: 15-20 minutes for the mock interview and 10-15 minutes for feedback on the student’s resume and interview techniques.

Mock interview appointments will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by sending an email to comas@duq.edu. You may sign up for as many interviews as your schedule permits.  Currently available interview times.

This is a great way to practice your interview skills and receive feedback about your resume before it counts later this semester or next fall during the On-Campus Recruitment Program.

The interviewer will be provided a copy of your resume prior to your mock interview, so please be sure to update your resume in preparation for this program. Information about legal resumes, including sample resumes, can be found in the CSO Handbook (available in the Career Resources section).

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Communicate Professionalism in Interviews

By Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com)
August 2015 Newsletter

Every professional services organization seeks candidates who have a firm grasp of one term: professionalism. Recruiters openly tell me that they only hire candidates who look like a professional, sound like a professional, and most importantly, demonstrate professionalism in their behaviors and attitudes.

With this in mind, job candidates and recruiters should focus on the following:

Dress the Part
Dressing the part is a cinch. In most cases, a nicely tailored navy blue suit, with a white shirt or blouse, and a tie for the gentlemen works perfectly. Virtually everyone—tall and short, thin and not so thin—looks like a gazillion dollars in an interview outfit of this nature. Besides, every political consulting firm in the county has tested this “uniform” with focus groups, and they consistently find that it communicates competence and trustworthiness.

Ladies, you have a little more discretion than your male counterparts. To the extent you opt for an outfit other than a navy blue suit, make sure that your attire does not detract from the key messages you wish to convey throughout your interview. Choose conservative over flamboyant.

Sound the Part
Sounding professional can be a bit more challenging. To succeed, focus on three big concepts:

Concentrate. Many students spend their lives texting and tweeting, something you must not do during an interview. Please do not take your smartphone into an interview. If you expect an emergency message—and I do mean a genuine emergency—carry your phone with you, turn it to vibrate, and slip it into your suit coat pocket or a portfolio. At the very beginning of your interview, explain the situation to your interviewer and then concentrate on each question you receive.

Communicate confidence. Avoid verbal mistakes that can make you appear less than secure in your own abilities, including: speaking too quickly; speaking too quietly; and discounting your own comments. In the latter case, know that whenever you start a sentence with, “This probably isn’t important, but …,” you have discounted any words that immediately follow.

Avoid space fillers. When they don’t know what to say next, lots of job candidates use space fillers, including “uh,” “ah,” “you know,” or “like.” As soon as you hear a couple of these creep into your language, stop, look directly at your interviewer, and say, “This is important. Please give me a moment to gather my thoughts.” Then do just that. Think about what you wish to say and then express yourself succinctly.

Prove Your ProfessionalismInvariably, an interviewer will say, “Tell me something about yourself.” This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you already possess attitudes that embody professionalism. To the extent you can reference specific behaviors that demonstrate your professionalism, be prepared to share these.

Following are five key professional attitudes and behaviors that most employers seek:

Preparedness. Employers seek workers who are prepared to tackle tasks from Day One. You can demonstrate your commitment to preparedness by discussing how you currently participate in several study groups in order to avoid last minute cramming for exams. If you worked during the summer, explain how you learned to set aside time each weekend to prepare for the upcoming week. By the way, show your commitment to preparedness by carrying several extra copies of your résumé with you to each interview … just in case an interviewer misplaces your paperwork.

Initiative. Employers seek workers who look for opportunities to solve problems without being asked. If you’ve returned from a summer job, discuss how you constantly stayed on the lookout for opportunities where you could contribute, from never leaving a copy machine without paper to offering to come into the office over the weekend to assist a document review team. If you have not entered the work world yet, talk about a time where you took initiative on a school project.

Feedback. Employers have zero interest in all the positive feedback that you’ve received throughout your life. They are deeply interested in the constructive feedback that you’ve received, and more importantly, how you responded to that feedback. An interviewer learns about your commitment to growth when you explain, “I was told my writing skills could use some improvement. So I immediately met with a recruiter and asked about retaining a writing coach. Within two weeks, my supervisor sent several emails with positive feedback indicating that I had shown improvement.”

Client service. Every professional services provider knows that providing superlative client service is fundamental to success. To the extent you’ve worked in a service industry—even if your employment was limited to waiting tables—explain your commitment to client service. For example, you could say, “I learned that it didn’t matter whether or not the chef thought some item should be served medium rare. If my customer wanted his steak ‘well done,’ I insisted on it.”

Grit. A whole body of research coming out of the University of Pennsylvania indicates that the best indicator of success is grit. It turns out that good old perseverance is more critical to long-term achievement than IQ or GPA. So tell an interviewer about a time when you showed resilience in the face of long odds. By the way, if you want to know just how gritty you are, visit Professor Angela Duckworth’s website.

Copyright © 2015 Mary Crane & Associates.
(Permission granted to share this article with law students. 8/18/15.)

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OCI Interviewing Advice

(Originally posted August 8, 2014.)
OCI Interviewing Advice from a 3L

By Lindsay S. Fouse
Third Year Day Student

2014 Summer Associate, Clark Hill

As we begin to prepare for OCIs, think about three things:

First, be able to answer exactly what makes you different from all of the other applicants. Your answer should be sincere, specific, and personalized. Be mindful of the fact that if you get the job, that answer will be put to the test—so be honest.

Second, in the interview, be someone that the interviewer and his or her firm would want as a colleague. Nod when they say something, smile and be pleasant, and appear engaged and interested to be interviewing with their firm because that matters to them—that you are genuinely happy to have the opportunity to get to know them.

Third, have four pre-written, go-to answers that run the gamut. For example, inevitably, you will be asked about what you did this past summer (i.e. if you wrote for a judge- be able to explain one interesting thing that you worked on), what you are involved in at Duquesne Law (i.e. clubs, organizations, research or teaching assistant positions, jobs, journals), what are your interests outside of school (i.e. hobbies, family, sports), what are qualities/attributes that would serve you well in the field of law and what about your personality fits the culture and mission of the respective law firm. I find that if you have those down to a tee, regardless of the question, you can in some way, shape, or form tailor all of your answers to safely get back to those go-tos, and to really have a successful interview.

Some food for thought—the toughest questions that I have been asked at an OCI:

1)    Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?

2)    If you don’t get hired by this firm, what will you do?

3)    Tell us about your style of leadership.

4)    What do you do for fun?

5)    Tell us about a recent mistake that you have made.

6)    What’s the worst question you can think of to ask me?

7)    What constitutes “success” in your mind?

8)    What type of people would you have trouble working with?

9)    Describe yourself in one word.

10) What are some of the most imaginative and creative things that you have done in a job?

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OCI Preparation & Reminders

OCI Interview Skills – Part 1 – Featuring Legal Recruiters
Tuesday, August 4
5:00-6:00 p.m.
Room 208

This program will feature Jacki Herzog (L’07), Legal Recruitment Manager at Clark Hill PLC, and Jennifer Ross, Senior Manager of Legal Recruiting at Reed Smith, LLP. Ms. Herzog and Ms. Ross have a wealth of experience with the interviewing process and will offer law students some insight into a law firm’s expectations during the interviewing and recruiting processes. While this program will be focused on OCI preparation, the information shared should be relevant to most interviewing situations.

OCI Interview Skills – Part 2 – Advice from 3L’s
Tuesday, August 4
6:15-7:00 p.m.
Student Lounge

Students who are currently working as summer associates and who participated in OCI last year have been invited to talk with 2L students about their experiences. Refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend either program, please RSVP on DuqLawConnect (Events tab) so that an accurate amount of handouts are available. RSVP’s are encouraged, but not required.
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about OCI check the July 2 post on this site.
Reminder – The first application deadlines for the Fall On-Campus Interview Program are Monday, July 27, 2015, at 12:00 noon.

Please contact Maria Comas at comas@duq.edu or 412-396-6279 if you have any questions about the Fall Recruitment Program.

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Interviewing Skills Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 18, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Room 203
Co-sponsored with the ACBA Young Lawyers Division

The panel will discuss practical tips and considerations to keep in mind as you interview for law clerk, summer associate, internship and post-graduation positions.  The panel will be moderated by Amie Mihalko Wolff (L’08), Gordon & Rees LLP.  Panelists include Jill Beck (L’06), Superior Court of Pennsylvania; Jenna Murray (L’12), Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky; and Katlin Zarisky (L’11), Gordon & Rees LLP. Lunch provided.  Please RSVP via DuqLawConnect – Events tab.

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2015 Mock Interview Program

All students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Mock Interview Program coordinated by the Career Services Office. The program will take place from February 2 – February 13, 2015. In this program, local attorneys and recruiters volunteer to conduct mock interviews with students either at their law firms or at the Law School. Each mock interview is scheduled for approximately 30 minutes: 15-20 minutes for the mock interview and 10-15 minutes for feedback on the student’s resume and interview techniques.

The mock interview schedule will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by sending an email to comas@duq.edu. Students may sign up for as many interviews as their schedules permit. We expect to add additional interviews to the schedule, and updates will be announced as necessary.

Students will be required to submit a copy of their resume prior to the mock interviews.  Information about legal resumes, including sample resumes, can be found in the CSO Handbook (available at http://www.duqlawblogs.org/cso/ ). Questions should be directed to Maria Comas (comas@duq.edu or 412-396-6279).

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OCI Interviewing Advice from a 3L

By Lindsay S. Fouse
Third Year Day Student

2014 Summer Associate, Clark Hill

As we begin to prepare for OCIs, think about three things:

First, be able to answer exactly what makes you different from all of the other applicants. Your answer should be sincere, specific, and personalized. Be mindful of the fact that if you get the job, that answer will be put to the test—so be honest.

Second, in the interview, be someone that the interviewer and his or her firm would want as a colleague. Nod when they say something, smile and be pleasant, and appear engaged and interested to be interviewing with their firm because that matters to them—that you are genuinely happy to have the opportunity to get to know them.

Third, have four pre-written, go-to answers that run the gamut. For example, inevitably, you will be asked about what you did this past summer (i.e. if you wrote for a judge- be able to explain one interesting thing that you worked on), what you are involved in at Duquesne Law (i.e. clubs, organizations, research or teaching assistant positions, jobs, journals), what are your interests outside of school (i.e. hobbies, family, sports), what are qualities/attributes that would serve you well in the field of law and what about your personality fits the culture and mission of the respective law firm. I find that if you have those down to a tee, regardless of the question, you can in some way, shape, or form tailor all of your answers to safely get back to those go-tos, and to really have a successful interview.

Some food for thought—the toughest questions that I have been asked at an OCI:

1)    Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?

2)    If you don’t get hired by this firm, what will you do?

3)    Tell us about your style of leadership.

4)    What do you do for fun?

5)    Tell us about a recent mistake that you have made.

6)    What’s the worst question you can think of to ask me?

7)    What constitutes “success” in your mind?

8)    What type of people would you have trouble working with?

9)    Describe yourself in one word.

10) What are some of the most imaginative and creative things that you have done in a job?

 

(Be sure to check the July 2 post for additional OCI tips.)

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OCI Interview Skills Programs

OCI Interview Skills – Part 1 – Featuring Legal Recruiters
Tuesday, August 5
5:00-6:00 p.m.
Room 203

This program will feature Jacki Herzog (L’07), Legal Recruiter at Clark Hill PLC, and Jennifer Ross, Senior Manager of Legal Recruiting at Reed Smith, LLP. Ms. Herzog and Ms. Ross have a wealth of experience with the interviewing process and will offer law students some insight into a law firm’s expectations during the interviewing and recruiting processes. While this program will be focused on OCI preparation, the information shared should be relevant to most interviewing situations.

OCI Interview Skills – Part 2 – Advice from 3L’s
Tuesday, August 5
6:15-7:00 p.m.
Student Lounge

Students who are currently working as summer associates and who participated in OCI last year will be available to talk with you about their experiences. Refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend either program, please RSVP on DuqLawConnect (Events tab) so that an accurate amount of handouts are available. RSVP’s are encouraged, but not required.

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Tips from the Practitioners Series: So Tell Me About Yourself

By Dodi Walker Gross, L’82
Partner at Reed Smith LLP

How should the question be answered in an interview?  Here are some suggestions.

  • Be prepared.
  • Describe what you are looking for – why you are interviewing for the job.
  • Explain your personal qualities that make you a perfect fit for the job.
  • Talk about relevant experience that shows consistency with the stated reason for interviewing and highlights the skills that you make a perfect fit.
  • Resist the temptation to talk about hobbies and sports, unless it illustrates how you handle difficult situations or other aspects of the job.
  • Highlight relevant aspects of your resume.
  • Don’t badmouth the prior employer.
  • If this is all you get to say in the interview, make sure you leave a positive impression with clear information.

This series is written by members of the Career/Employment Committee of the Duquesne Law Alumni Association with the intent to provide helpful job search tips and suggestions for students and alumni.

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