Baum Stevens Bargman

Want the job? - Sell yourself

David BargmanComment

Want the job? – Sell yourself

          OK, you have submitted your resume and have been called in for an initial interview (screenings are for movies).  Whether you are desperate to make a move, need a job, or following a recruiter’s suggestion, your goal is the same:  to get an offer.  At each stage of the process, your goal is to get to the next round.  Until you have an offer, you have nothing to decide. First, you must sell yourself. The best salespeople are authentic, knowledgeable and, most of all, good listeners.

          The firm called you in because your resume tells them that you can do the job. Because the firm has made that fact-based decision, the interview is a “chemistry” visit. You want to be prepared for some “getting to know you” small talk; I recommend that my candidates ask for coffee to give themselves time to get to know the interviewer, by looking at photos, non-legal books, or knick-knacks that tell you about the interviewer’s interests outside the law.  However, you must have in mind at all times that this is a business meeting, not a cocktail party.

          You are there to convince your prospective employer that you are the perfect lawyer for the position. They need you more than you need them because, in most cases, you have a job and they have a need


·       You have no needs or desires until you get an offer, so stay away from questions about your personal needs e.g., salary, partnership track, office, parental leave.

·       Interviewing is about convincing prospective employers that you are the best person for the position.

·       As the firm and you begin to get excited, you can introduce your needs.

          The first question will usually be some variation on why you are there. Tell the interviewer how much you have learned and enjoyed your current firm (they do not want to hear negatives).  In three sentences, including your good standing at your current firm, mention the highlights of your experience and then your goals.  (You must convey that are moving toward something, not away from something.

          Ask questions about the interviewer's practice and respond with specific examples how you (not your firm) dealt with comparable situations.  Have several matters in mind so that you can discuss your experience in detail in order to help the interviewer visualize you working.

          The more you come across as a knowledgeable and valued colleague, the more likely you are to get an offer.  People want to be around people they like.