The One Thing That Needs to Be on Your Résumé to Ace a Callback Interview (and It’s Probably Not What You Think)

CheeseWhen you sit down across from a law firm interviewer, she immediately starts trying to answer two questions:

  1. Is this a person I’d want to have in the room at 3 AM, when the pressure’s on?
  2. Is this someone I could introduce to a client without fearing for my job?

If you don’t get a “yes” for both of those questions, you’re unlikely to get the job.

But What About How Smart I Am?

Let’s differentiate between a first interview and a callback interview. If you’re at the initial interview stage, your perceived intelligence does matter. However, the screening mechanism here is your grades, not how smart you appear to be in an interview. Once you’ve reached the callback stage, you’ve already passed the “smart” test – otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten a callback. Now your task isn’t to appear smart, it’s to appear personable.

What Are Law Firms Really Looking For?

Basically, law firms are looking for someone they’d like to date, but can still take home to Mother. As an interviewee, you want to present yourself as solid and hard-working, easy to get along with, calm under pressure, and slightly, but not overly, interesting.

How do you do this?

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