AuthorWendy Griesdorf
Interviews 9
Fy Pts  Itviwng
Interviewing is always di ff‌icult, whether you are interviewing for a summer job, an articlin g position,
or an associate position. Fortunately, the more you interview, the better at it you become. Conf‌ident
law students and junior lawyers f‌ind a way to suppress any anxiety they ex perience during interviews.
Remember, it is your job to engage the interviewer in an interesting dialogue about why you are the
best candidate for the job. Avoid viewing the interview as an isolated, unnatura l experience. Instead,
approach the interview as if it were the beginning of a long-term relationship. Here are f‌ifty points to
help you to prepare for summer, articling, and associate interviews.
1. Cost of intervie wing. It costs well over $1,000 in lost billable hours for a law f‌irm to conduct a full
interview with a student at their off‌ices. This calculation is based on the cost of having two law-
yers, who normally bill anywhere between $200 and $400 an hour, sit in a room with a student
for a one- or two-hour interview. The f‌igure does not even include the preparation time spent
selecting the candidates to be granted an interview, the time spent reading your material, and
the follow-up meeting after your initial meeti ng. The f‌igure increases when you include cocktai l
parties, dinners, and, for Toronto, OCIs (on-campus interviews).
The expense means that no one gets an interv iew unless the f‌irm is seriously considering
hiring that person. T hese f‌irms have no interest in wasting money. The large law f‌irms in Toron-
to and Vancouver review between f‌ive and seven hundred applications each recruitment round.
Other large law f‌irms in big cities across Canada (e.g., Calga ry and Ottawa) may review over three
hundred applications each recruitment round. If you are among the f‌ifty students to be granted
an interview, it is very good news. In mid-sized legal markets (e.g., Victoria, Edmonton, Saska-
toon, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, and Halifax), f‌irms receive between one and two hundred
applications per recruitment cycle, sometimes for only one position. I have noticed that some
students look at the situation in their city and conclude, “I am only one of f‌ifty people; how can I
possibly expect to get the job?” Think of it the ot her way around. The f‌irm has read your material
and is interested in you, so much so that it will invest the time to meet you.
law f‌irm recruitment in canada
2. Motivation behind the inter view. The motivation behind the interview is that the off‌ice wants to
hire you. Whenever you are asked a question that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you do not
know the answer to, remember that the motivation behind the question is benevolent. The ques-
tion is designed to learn more about you in order to hire you. Remember that a f‌irm is not going
to interview you unless it feels that you are a good candidate. If you are thrown by a question, try
to remember the benevolent motives of the interviewers and you will f‌ind that you will improve
your answer and your interview.
3. What f‌irms seek. Remember that the f‌irms are looking for colleagues and for people that they feel
are trustwort hy. Every time you answer a question, and every time you make a comment at a
cocktail par ty, remember these two points.
4. Scheduling interviews. T he way you schedule your interviews depends on the recru itment process.
In smaller cities, the number of off‌ices involved in recruitment programs is usual ly small. If you
take part in a recr uitment program in a smaller city, expect to be granted two or three interviews
at the most. In larger cities, with formal recruitment programs, you will likely be granted a large
number of interviews. Be realistic when settin g up your interviewing sc hedule. It is reasonable to
accept interviews with six or seven f‌ir ms in a given cycle. Remember, although the interview per-
iod in larger cities is referred to as interview week, most of the interviews take place within about
two or three days. The rest of the week is spent retur ning to law f‌irms for second interviews and
attending cocktai l parties and other related events.
With respect to OCIs for summer jobs, there is quite a difference between the number of
interviews you should accept for on-campus interviews (OCIs) and the number of interviews you
should accept for the subsequent in-f‌irm interview round. Although the law f‌ir ms encourage you
to interview with as many off‌ices as possible, you need to be wary of inter view fatigue. Accepting
f‌ifteen or seventeen interviews for OCIs does not guarantee a student a job. In fact, doing so can
backf‌ire. You may discover that you lack the endurance to take part in such a large number of
interviews in one or two day period (depending on your school’s program). Most career services
off‌ices will suggest that you interv iew with no more than f‌ifteen f‌ir ms during OCIs (over one or
two days). They also suggest that you accept no more than seven interviews durin g the in-f‌irm
interview round (over two and a half days). Following this advice will give you a good sampling
of the f‌irms without tiring you out or overwhelming you with too much information in a short
period of time.
When it comes to interviewing, quantity and quality are different things. Consider that stu-
dents with fewer interviews will have more time to focus on their f‌irms and wil l not have to ex-
pend all their energy attempting to dea l with a hectic interviewing schedule. Another way to look
at it is to ask yourself, “how many exams would I like to write in one day?” Your success depends
on the quality of your interviews and not the quantity.
In both large and small cities, you may be asked what other f‌irms you are interv iewing with.
You should be prepared to answer this question. Law f‌irms are accustomed to friendly competition
and there is no reason to keep your interviews a secret. If you do, the f‌irm may become suspicious
as to why you would want to keep something secret from them. Some f‌irms, however, will not ask
you who else you are meeting. In these cases, it may be indiscreet to offer this information.
5. Interview fatigue. Be aware of interview fatigue. It can be det rimental to your ability to interv iew
effectively. You need to keep in mind that you may have no control over your schedule, depending

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