The Phases of OCI: Phase 2 – Preselection & On-Campus Interviews

Now that you have submitted all of your bids, what’s next?  The following is what you can expect over the next few weeks:

1. Pre-Selection and Scheduling Interviews

July 20-26:  OCI employers and their hiring committees will review all applications and make decisions on whom to select for a first-round interview by July 26.  Some employers may need additional time and might not make their selections by July 26.  Applicants should check their Symplicity accounts regularly for updates.

July 27:  Beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, applicants can view the status of their bids and whether they have been selected for an interview.  Please follow these instructions:

  • In Symplicity, go to the Fall 2017 OCI session.
  • You will see a new “Invitations” column to the right of the “Interview Dates” column.  See example below.
  • Students offered interviews will see “Accept Preselect” and “Decline” buttons.  “Preselect” is Symplicity’s terminology for being selected for a first-round, on-campus interview.
  • Students not offered interviews will see “Declined.”
  • If you see “Pending,” this usually means that the employer either (1) has not yet made any selections, or (2) has made selections but did not select “Decline” for your application. Keep checking Symplicity for updates.  If you still see “Pending” the day prior to the interview date, check with the CDO for clarification.
  • If you see “Alternate,” this means that if a preselected student declines an interview, the employer may offer that interview spot to you.
  • If you were selected for an interview and wish to accept, click “Accept Preselect.”  The next screen will show all available interview time slots for that employer.  Interview time slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27.  Please make arrangements to have access to Symplicity at that time.  See “Tips for Scheduling Interviews” below.

preselect

2. Tips for Scheduling Interviews

  • If you are offered multiple interviews, PLEASE DO NOT schedule back-to-back times on the same day.  Instead, try to reserve time in between interviews to reset and refocus. The CDO recommends a minimum of 30 minutes between interview times (preferably an hour) in case an employer is running behind.
  • After you select your interview slot, make sure to note the date, time, and location of your interview, especially if you are managing multiple interviews.  Symplicity will have a record of all of your scheduled interviews, but be sure to also add them to your calendar.
  • If you end up having a conflict, it is your responsibility to contact another preselected student to ask if s/he will switch interview times with you.  Both students must inform the CDO of the change.
  • Some employers will conduct first-round interviews after the first day of class.  To increase your chances of signing up for an interview slot that does not conflict with your class schedule, we recommend selecting an interview spot as soon as you are able to in Symplicity.

3. Interview Tips

Once you have been selected for an interview, you need to begin your preparation.  Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare for initial interviews:

  • Know your resume. Every single word on your resume is fair game for the interviewer. Go over your resume line by line and make sure you are ready to answer questions about each item.
  • Research the employer in depth.  Know their organization/office, areas of practice, number of attorneys, locations, diversity, and representative clients.  Check Symplicity for updates on the names of the interviewers.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early.  Better to be early than late! However, please keep in mind that based on our experience, employers tend to fall behind.  Therefore, please allow sufficient time for your interview.
  • Dress for Success.  Interview attire (suits) required.
  • Be prepared and take copies of all your application materials to the interview.
  • Participate in Mock Interview Day or schedule a mock interview with a CDO counselor.
  • Be YOU and be honest.  You should be professional, but not cold or stiff.  Being a well-rounded, personable human being is important to being a good lawyer.  In addition, interviewers will assume that you researched their employer, but no one expects you to know everything about the actual practice of law or specific areas of practice. Pretending to know more than you do or inflating your qualifications will make you seem less credible.
  • Ask questions.  The interviewers are expecting you to have questions, so be prepared!  It is always good to develop at least 3 questions using resources available to you such as the employer’s website, the attorneys’ bios, or recent news.
  • Get a business card or write down the name(s) of the interviewer(s) to send them a thank you note after the interview. On-campus interviews are extremely short screening interviews, and most employers are hoping to make their decisions under a tight timeline. Therefore it is usually not necessary—nor will you probably have the time—to write an individual thank you note for each initial interview.  In that case, sending a “thank you” email is sufficient.  Be sure to personalize the note to each interviewer.

While the OCI process can be daunting, please remember the CDO is here to help.  We are available to meet with you throughout the summer, answer your questions during the process, and assist you in your job search (whether it is through the OCI program or not).

By Felicia Ho
Felicia Ho Career Consultant Felicia Ho