cbaReport-March13 - page 20

March 2013 CBA REPORT
Young Lawyers Section
The CBA Young Lawyers Section is open to all attorneys age 36 or younger or in his or her first five years of practice
regardless of age. For more information on getting involved in the many professional, social and community service
activities of the YLS, contact Kathy Grant at (513) 699-4016 or
Welcome to YLS
Laura Christine Hils
Bo James Howell
Edward R. Murray
Arthur J. Southard
The Interview Commandments
By Stacy A. Cole
Interview season seems to be never-
ending these days, with the immense
amount of talent in the marketplace.
Whether you’re interviewing for a
fulltime, summer associate, or contract
position, there are a few “command-
ments” that you simply have to know.
Thinking about interviews I’ve heard
about or been a part of over the last ten
years, it still amazes me how people fre-
quently break those rules — and that can
truly be the difference between you or
someone else getting the spot, regardless
of your grades.
1. Do your homework.
You are
almost always given a list of the people
you’ll be interviewing with in advance
of the interview. And you certainly at
least know
you’re interviewing.
There is no excuse for not making sure to
include information in what you say that
shows you’ve researched the people and
the place. Try to mention a particular in-
dustry the firm serves or something you
have in common with the interviewer
(e.g., you went to the same law school).
Avoid asking: What area do you practice
in? You should already know. Interview-
ers notice.
2. Prepare questions ahead of time.
We already know a lot about you from
your resume. Often the most important
part of the interview is when we say, “So
do you have any questions for us?” Never
say no. And never come up with them
on the spot. This is something my career
services office drilled into our heads in
law school. Come up with at least five
go-to insightful, and interesting ques-
tions to ask. It doesn’t matter if you ask
each round of interviewers the same
thing. Some good examples are: “I know
your firm focuses on certain industries.
Do you see the firm expanding into
other areas or diversifying in the next
five years and in what areas?” Or, “Given
your employment law practice, how did
you get involved in that area?” Or even,
“How would you describe the culture and
what do you value most about it?” There
is an endless number
of questions you can
ask, but make sure
that when that time
comes that you don’t
look like a deer in headlights.
3. A little humility goes a long way.
Especially if you’re a law student. The
fact is that if you’re coming right out of
school, you don’t know very much—even
if you’ve summered before. That’s not
your fault; it’s just the way the system
is. Actually practicing as an attorney is
entirely different from learning case law.
No one expects you, in an interview,
to assert much practical or substantive
knowledge. What interviewers want to
see is an eagerness to learn, to take own-
ership of tasks, and to work diligently. If
you try to make it sound like you know
a lot more than you do (e.g. “No court
would ever…”), interviewers will catch
on and it detracts from what you really
do know and are skilled at. Most attor-
neys would rather work with someone
who doesn’t know much but is eager to
learn than someone who believes they
know it all—that just makes for mistakes
caused by a refusal to ask questions.
Of course, there are so many more
rules and opinions on what makes for a
good interview. But these are a few I’ve
experienced on both sides of the coin.
Just make sure you give yourself the edge
to succeed by not missing the basics.
Cole is the 2012-2013 chair of YLS.
Thursday, April 18
Taft Center at Fountain Square
5 – 7 p.m.
• Dinner
• Elections
• Presentations byYLS
• Networking
Register at
YLS Annual
& Election of Officers
Young Lawyers Section
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