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On-Campus Interviews


On-campus interviewing can be a stressful, fast-paced process. Various issues may arise. We deal with scheduling issues, inappropriate behavior, and arrogant interviewers elsewhere in this book. Here are several additional issues to keep in mind specifically during on-campus interviewing.

First, if you are running late or cannot make it to your interview, make sure to notify the employer or your career services as soon as possible so that they can make adjustments to the interviewer's schedule or give your slot to another student. Never miss an interview simply because you decided you have no interest in pursuing employment with the firm. Likewise, if you know ahead of time you have to miss an interview, try to find a classmate to take your slot.

Second, always be respectful and courteous, not only to your interviewers, but also to your classmates. Always arrive to the interview at least 10 minutes early to ensure you can find the room and take a deep breath before your interview begins. This way, you may even be rewarded with additional time if the interview before yours ends early. Being on time also ensures that your interview will not run over, and that your classmates will be able to keep their own interviewing schedules intact. This courtesy makes a good impression.

Third, always ask interviewers if they would like to take a short break before meeting with you. Although they will probably politely decline, they will appreciate the fact that you were courteous enough to acknowledge that they may not have had a chance to take a break for several hours.

Fourth, because interviews sometimes run longer than the allotted time period, you may end up in a situation in which you risk being late to your next interview if it is immediately following. Of course, you can avoid this by following the advice in Chapter 2, and by not scheduling back-to-back interviews. But if you cannot prevent it, knock on the door at your scheduled time, reminding the interviewer that it is your turn. If you do not get a response, knock again a few minutes later. Finally, knock for the third time after five minutes. Most of the time, the interviewer will at least acknowledge your presence at that point. If you receive no response after the third knock, try to wait as long as you can, and definitely do not make an issue out of it.

Fifth, if you have back-to-back interviews scheduled, and your first interview starts late, let your interviewer know right away that you might have to leave before he or she gets the chance to finish. This way, you will not only get to leave on time, but you will also give your interviewer a chance to budget his or her time accordingly.

Finally, keep in mind that the primary purpose of on-campus interviews is for potential employers to get to know you. This means that you don't have to limit yourself to talking solely about your qualifications; rather, you can talk about anything that would be of interest to your interviewer and help you connect on a human level. Just like being on a first date, it does not really matter what you talk about as long as both people are having a good time. And, just like being on a first date, there is only one major rule: Do not talk about the future. An interview is not the time to ask about your chances of making partner, what your compensation would be, or how offers are communicated. Take it slow and try to enjoy the process.

On-campus interviews are like no other. They are fast-paced and stressful. For employers, on-campus interviews are difficult because they must keep track of dozens or even hundreds of candidates. To navigate through this difficult process and to stand out, approach these interviews as you would speed dating. Impress each interviewer, find a way to connect with him or her on a personal level, be engaging, and ask thoughtful questions. Beyond that, remember to follow the standard interviewing protocol and be courteous. Once you master these skills, you will find on-campus interviews a rewarding and interesting experience.


  • • On-campus interviewers see dozens, even hundreds, of candidates daily and often have a hard time putting together names and faces.
  • • Do everything you can to stand out from the crowd.
  • • Try to find common ground with your interviewer and spend a few minutes chatting about something other than firms, interviews, and credentials.
  • • Make sure your interview is engaging, ask meaningful questions, and show genuine interest in your interviewer and the firm.
  • • Be very professional and courteous to others.
  • • If the interview does not start at the scheduled time, politely knock on the door; if you get no response, repeat this twice, two and five minutes later.
  • • Ask your interviewer if he or she would like to take a short break before starting your interview.

Nail Your Law Job Interview © 2009 , Career Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsOn-Campus Interviews - Try To Stand Out, Interview Structure, Protocol