The sweaty brow. The shaky palms. Everything about an in-person interview for a dream job screams nervousness, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you come prepared.
Knowing the basics of a job interview, especially for something as distinguished as patent law, will ease your nerves and allow you to sail right through the interview process. And, knowing a few key tips will take the experience from easy to impeccable.
In order to get the job interview and the job you want, take advantage of the scores of job interview tips on the Internet. To help you get started, you need to consider many areas for job interview preparation such as making eye contact with your potential employer, body language that shows your strengths and skills, a firm handshake, and making sure you communicate that you are the person they are looking for to fill that all-important position.
Below are some of the most insightful job interview articles for upcoming patent lawyers.
1) Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer | Harvard.edu
This article provides over 80 questions you should know the answer to as you’re likely to be asked one of these in a job interview. Included is the dreaded “Tell me about yourself,” which is the question we often forget about but are nailed by every time we’re asked it. Form a response to most of these and you should be good to go.
Some other questions included:
- Who is your hero/heroine?
- Why did you choose law?
- What constitutes success in your mind?
- Is there any crime you would have trouble defending?
- Why did you go to law school? Have your goals changed since then?
- Why should we select you over all the other candidates?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 (or 10) years?
- Who was your favorite professor in law school? Why?
2) Interviewing Tips (from Yale Law School) | Yale.edu
Yale is right up there with Harvard for being one of the best law schools in America. This article shows you just how great their breadth of knowledge is when it comes to interviewing skills.
Topics covered range from the types of interviews you may experience down to what you should wear and everything in between. With a name like Yale, you know the information they provide will be nothing less than high-quality and immensely beneficial.
3) How to Excel at Law Firm Interviews | Findlaw.com
Coming from a website called FindLaw.com, you can find some great legal interview tips in this article. It describes a hypothetical scenario most graduates of law school may experience, in which they are ecstatic to be offered law job interviews only to be crushed when they aren’t ultimately offered the job. The article then discusses how one may break the cycle and finally get hired.
- Be prepared and read up on what the company offers. A good quote from this article is “…your level of preparation will determine how successful you are…” so don’t undermine your own success by being unprepared.
- Know the importance of the screening interview. At the screening stage, you’re in the preliminary step the firm takes in ensuring the candidate is mature and able to handle the responsibilities of the job. Though not a definitive yes or no phase, making a good first impression is crucial to going forward in the interviewing process and ultimately getting the job. Don’t take the screening interview lightly.
- Show enthusiasm no matter what. This one comes down to plain psychology. Even if you’re having a terrible day prior to the interview, you can’t let the interviewer know that. They’re looking for the spark that sets you apart from the other job candidates and someone who should be fine representing their company when talking to the press or higher-ups in other firms. Negativity or a lack of self-confidence during the interview process means a giant red “X” over the possibility of you getting that job.
4) Interview Tips from the Interviewers | Stanford.edu
This is advice for entry level attorneys, especially recent law grads who don’t have a lot of experience interviewing. The tips come from Washington D.C. law firm attorneys and recruiting managers, so you know these are solid nuggets of wisdom.
- “The best attorneys are good researchers. You should research each attorney you are meeting. I will never forget a litigator who took the time to read a recent opinion on which I was listed as the attorney of record. I wanted him on my team.”
- “Be polite and courteous to support staff such as secretaries, front desk receptionist, etc. They often have the ear of decision makers and will not hesitate to provide informal feedback to you, especially if you are not respectful.”
- “If an interviewer initiates a debate on a legal issue, don’t get too passionate and heated about defending your position. Remain calm, composed, and focus on making logical sense.”
- “The more you are relaxed and at ease, the more the interviewer will be relaxed and at ease.”
Many of us agonize over how we will perform in interviews, but what about the interviewer? We often don’t think of the ways an interviewer will behave, but this article from the Loyola University Chicago describes just that.
In general, you can meet these types of interviewers, the questions they may ask, and the pros and cons for each interviewer. For example:
- The trained interviewer. They have been trained in effective interviewing strategies and will ask questions to get to the heart of specific issues important to the firm. They will focus on asking behavioral questions, so to answer them effectively think about excellent experiences in previous jobs or school activities, challenges you faced, mistakes you made and how you corrected them, and times you’ve worked overtime, among other things. The good thing about this interviewer is that, if you prepare sufficiently, you can really shine because of the expected questions. However, if you don’t prepare thoroughly enough you can feel like you’ve been put on the spot.
- The aggressive interviewer. This person will take on an adversarial tone with the candidate just to see how they respond. With this type of interviewer, it’s always best to remain calm and professional, taking it as a lesson in maturity. However, if you’re caught off-guard by their intensity it may be hard to recover your shaken confidence.
There you have it, some of the best articles from the highest-ranked law bodies in the US. Take the advice contained within these interviews to heart and we’re hoping you’ll land your dream patent agent or patent attorney job in no time.