How to Handle Yourself During an Interview
Whether for a top 20 ranked law school or the law school of your choice, understanding how to properly handle yourself during an interview is a crucial skill to possess. We’ve now covered the 9 must have tips for a great law school admissions interview.
Today, we’ll cover more in-depth how to handle yourself during an interview. (It should be noted while this is focused on law school admission interview’s, this article applies universally to nearly all interviews.)
5 Tips on How to Handle Yourself During an Interview
1. Stay Calm, You May Be Tested
This next piece of news may come as a surprise. There’s a little “secret” about some “tricks” the interviewer uses to learn some things about the interviewee that normal questions wouldn’t.
The first, they may try to purposely cut you off or disagree with what you say to see how you respond. What they are looking for is whether you can keep your cool or if it is easy to get under your skin. As a future law school student and attorney, it’s important to be able to remain calm and handle pressure.
For a good example, watch videos of politicians when they are faced with confrontation.
Regardless of your views on politicians, the majority of them are highly skilled keeping their cool in the face of confrontation. Now,you may now what to respond in the exact same way during a law school interview, but you do what to stay calm in the same way.
2. Be Confident
One of the most important ways to handle yourself during an interview is to be confident. While it’s normal to be a little nervous, make sure you remain self-confident and relaxed during the interview.
Avoid fidgeting and other nervous gestures. Hold confident eye contact and project your voice. Speaking softly indicates a lack of confidence as well. Ideally, you want your voice to project just slightly beyond the interviewer, this will ensure you speak loud and clear (without going overboard).
3. Develop Rapport
Building rapport is easier than most people think. Just by smiling and being warm you can build rapport. We’re not talking a cheesy salesman smile, but more showing you feel relaxed and comfortable with yourself and in the interview. Similar to building a relationship with a professor, build rapport in a natural manner.
Also be sure to listen to the interviewer and use key words he/she uses.
For example, if you’re asked:
“What do you feel is the most important aspect of being an attorney?”
Rather than just answering the question, you could begin your response by saying:
“I feel the most important aspect of being an attorney is…”
4. Ask Open Ended Questions
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, make sure you have a few open-ended questions prepared. Try to avoid yes or no questions, as they may only get you a yes or no answer. Open-ended questions on the other hand will require a more elaborate response.
A few good examples of open ended questions for your law school interview:
“What would you say are the most important qualities for a candidate to posses?”
“Is there anything during the interview you feel I should have expanded more upon?”
This is a great 2 set question as it allows you to first find out the specific qualities the interviewer is looking for, and then verify or re-elaborate on these specific qualities for the areas the interviewer wants you to expand upon.
Other open ended questions:
“What changes do you expect to see with the schools’ law program over the next few years?”
“What would you say distinguishes this school from its rivals?”
“What would you say are the 3 classes every student should take?”
5. End with Enthusiasm
When it comes time to end the interview, smile and shake hands. Thank him or her for taking the time to interview you. Also, be aware as long as you are still in the building, the interview may not be officially “over”.
In both law school interview’s and interview for jobs, the secretary or someone else outside the interview office may ask how you think you did. No matter how you feel, don’t say anything negative. They are sometimes asked by the interviewer to ask this question and inform the interviewer of your answer.
The best response is a simple “I really enjoyed the interview” and not much else.
*Make sure to send a thank you note after the interview (email works too). Write about something specific that occurred in the interview, so it doesn’t appear you just copy and pasted a thank you template.
For example, if the two of you connected over being from the same city, mention that in the thank you. If the interviewer told you an important or interesting piece of information about him or herself, or the law school, mention that. The point is to show you were listening during the interview and put some thought into your thank you note.
Lastly, it is absolutely important to make sure you get the persons title correct. If they have a doctorate, address them as Dr. If you know anyone who has a higher degree (J.D, Dr., etc.), you know how offended they can become when they are not addressed by their appropriate title.
5 Tips on How to Handle Yourself During an Interview Recap
- Stay calm
- Be confident
- Develop rapport
- Ask open ended questions
- End with enthusiasm
Law School Rankings