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10 Tips to Survive a Law Firm Phone Interview

Phone Booth
(Photo by wallyg)

Interviews aren’t just done in person, especially these days. Phone interviews are fairly common, and video interviews are even cropping up.

How do you excel in one of these interviews? Does it matter if it’s a law firm?

Fortunately for you, Penelope Trunk has written 5 tips for phone interviews. My favorite tip is to dress up. It’s a subtle point, and some people may laugh at this idea. But attire really does influence our demeanor. If you wear a suit while on the phone, your language will naturally be more formal and appropriate.

I’ve done a few phone interviews myself, so I thought this would be a good time to provide some more thoughts on the subject. Thus, here are my 5 tips for phone interviews.

1. Schedule carefully. Penelope touches on this, but I wanted to emphasize it. Always feel free to schedule phone interviews, even if the employer calls you wanting to talk.

Most importantly, make sure to provide a buffer zone around the interview time itself. You don’t want to run in the door only to have an interview in 2 minutes. People can tell when you’ve got a strong urge to urinate. Make sure you have time to take care of life’s necessities before the call.

2. Have a phone ready. I say this because we use VoIP for our home phone. Our internet service is now so slow that we can’t use the internet and the phone at once. The call ends up choppy and virtually useless.

Whatever phone you want the interviewer to call, make sure the line is free and you have the phone handy. You don’t want to be scouring the house for the cordless handset while the phone is ringing.

3. Be efficient. This applies especially for law firms, but also to other busy professionals. The people who are calling you have lots of things to do. They don’t want you to ramble on like you do with your sister or best friend.

Treat it like any other scheduled interview. Talk with the interviewer, but don’t stay on the phone longer than needed.

4. Picture the interviewer. When you’re talking over the phone, it’s hard to relate to the person with whom you’re talking. Fortunately, most lawyers have online bios and pictures. You should find out your interviewer in advance, and look him/her up. Then you can put a face to the name and voice. This will help you feel more comfortable and be more personal during the call.

5. Follow up. Penelope points out the importance of a thank you note. But you should also follow up a courtesy phone call (or email) a couple weeks after your interview. It never hurts to tell the employer that you’re still interested. This especially applies with big firms who are considering many candidates. Keep your name in their minds, without driving them crazy.

Your tips?

Do you have any ideas for phone interviews to help each other out? Leave a comment or drop me a line.

[tags]penelope trunk, brazen careerist, phone, telephone, interview, law firm[/tags]

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2 Responses to “10 Tips to Survive a Law Firm Phone Interview”

  1. bilal
    April 15th, 2007

    السلام عل٠كم ا٠ا المحام٠بلال حم٠د عراق٠ابحث ع٠عمل واطلب مساعدتكم Ù?٠ا٠جاد عمل وشكرررا

    translation by Google:

    Hello I am an Iraqi lawyer Bilal Hameed looking for work and ask your assistance in finding work and Shkrrra

  2. Andrew Flusche
    April 15th, 2007


    I’m glad you commented on the blog. I’m not sure how to help you, but I will try.

    A good general legal job board is available at FindLaw.

    If you are currently in Iraq, I’m not sure what the legal job market is like. Perhaps you can do some internet searches and find something helpful.

    Good luck,

    translation by Google:

    بلال ØŒ ا٠ا مسرور م٠كم على الكحول. لست متأكدا ÙƒÙ Ù? لمساعدتكم ØŒ ولك٠سأحاول. ج٠دا القا٠و٠٠العام لعمل المجلس هو متاح Ù?Ù Ù?٠٠دلاو. اذا ك٠ت حال٠ا Ù?٠العراق ØŒ ولست متأكدا ما هو قا٠و٠٠مثل سوق العمل. ربما ٠مك٠ك الق٠ام ببعض عمل٠ات البحث على الا٠تر٠ت والبحث ع٠ش٠ء Ù…Ù?٠د. حس٠الحظ ØŒ ا٠درو

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