Many law students want to know how to land a position as a summer associate through OCI or On-Campus Interview. But few students know how to set themselves apart from their peers. Here are some tips to shine during the upcoming interview season.
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To Obtain a Position as a Summer Associate Through OCI, Know your Audience
Even if you have the strongest grades and the perfect resume, you won’t stand out during interviews unless you know your audience.
This is because law firms are looking for very particular candidates who have a true desire to work at the firm. Therefore, you need to know the firm’s practice areas and who they represent, which means you need to conduct solid research and talk to former summer associates about the firm.
For an in-depth guide on how to conduct effective research and the questions to ask former summer associates, check out Chapter three in the On-Campus Interview Success Series.
Know how to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions to Land a Job as a Summer Associate Through OCI
Equally important to knowing your audience is being prepared to answer your interviewer’s questions. While we can’t predict every question the interviewer might ask, we can know how to effectively answer the most important questions.
The best way to do that is to find a list, like the one I linked directly above, and to practice those questions aloud. Here is another list, though I think mine is quite exhaustive.
You can also check out Chapter 2 of the On-Campus Interview Success Series for a list of five of the most common questions and a detailed explanation of how to answer each of them.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Thinking your Grades are Enough
High grades will definitely get you in the interview door, but grades alone will not get you the job.
I once worked with a student who was number two in his class. He received so many interviews, but luckily he realized quickly that the interviews were not going well. So he set up a meeting with me.
I remember he said, “My grades are so competitive that I really didn’t think I needed to do anything else.” He and I had a crash course on preparing for the on-campus interviews, and he received an offer from the next firm he interviewed with.
His mistake was not thoroughly preparing, which leads me to the next tip…
Attend at Least One Mock Interview to Obtain a Role as a Summer Associate Through OCI
I once had a student tell me that he didn’t need to mock interview because he had successfully obtained jobs in the past. Make no mistake: OCI is a different beast.
While you should practice your answers to common interview questions aloud, you should also practice, at least once, with an experienced attorney. This may be your career advisor, or many law schools host mock interview programs to help students prepare in advance of on-campus interview season.
Mock interviews may seem silly and unnecessary, especially when you have so many other things on your plate, but they can really make a difference in your OCI performance.
To Succeed in On-Campus Interview, Recognize your Worth.
So many students fall victim to comparing themselves to others during the On-Campus Interview season. Law school and OCI make it nearly impossible not to because you are competing against your peers for grades and jobs. On top of that, a lot of students oversell their experiences to their peers.
While it is common to get in your head during the on-campus interview season, just remember you are in law school for a reason, and you were selected to interview for a reason. Unfortunately, there are some students who want to intimidate others because they feel inadequate. If they are aiming for you–by telling you how great their grades are or how great their summer experience was–there is probably a reason: they recognize you as competition.
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