On Campus Interview Disasters: 5 Mistakes Not to Make During OCI

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 10, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

OCI is here and there's plenty to fear. If you're a rising 2L gunning for a high paying, high profile job, this can be your make it or break it moment. That means, don't stress about your 2L classes, the end of your summer internship, or the future of the Supreme Court: right now, you should be devoting yourself fully to OCI prep.

Of course, prep means knowing not just what to do, but what not to do. With that in mind, here are five disastrous mistakes we beg you not to make during OCI:

1. Don't Be too Desperate to Make an Impression

You'll have 30 minutes, if you're lucky, to create a lasting impression. Use that time to let your interviewer know that you're prepared, knowledgeable, committed, etc. If you follow FindLaw's earlier OCI tips, you should be able to nail an interview. What you don't want to do, however, is make an impression the wrong way, using distracting gimmicks in order to leave a mark. Don't bring your interviewers baked goods. Don't be the guy in the neon orange tie. Don't print your resume on scented paper. It's not clever, it's desperate.

2. Don't Summarize the Firm Website

You may feel tempted to show how "in the know" you are by reciting some "insider" information you gleaned from the firm's website or a quick Internet search. Don't do it. Your interviewers probably know nothing about their new Hong Kong branch, the dismissal of a class action, or most of what a goes on in a giant firm. Instead, ask them about their practice and let the conversation grow from there.

3. Don't Barge In

You're waiting outside to interview and the interview room's door is closed. Do you knock? No, at least not until it's a good two minutes past your scheduled interview time. Then you can consider knocking. If you do knock, do you open the door and start walking in? No -- a thousand times no. If the door is closed, the interviewers are interviewing. They may have lost track of the time, so a quick knock isn't the rudest thing. But barging in is. If they want you to step right in to the room, they'll leave the door open.

4. Don't Bash the Profession

Maybe you don't want to work in a firm but are doing OCI to hedge your bets. Maybe you think data analytics and computer intelligence are going to make firms obsolete in ten years. Maybe you have no passion for the law and are planning to move to Mexico to raise horses, once Fred gets back from the army. Great! But keep these things to yourself. No one will give you a call back, let alone an offer, if it looks like you'll soak up all their training and development only to jump ship in a year or two.

5. Don't Get Confused

It always helps to have a quick cheat sheet with a firm's name and simple notes on hand before an interview. Glance at it before you go in for the interview. That way, you can be sure that, yes, this 10:30 interview is with the real estate boutique in Chicago, not the BigLaw firm in New York. Confuse the two during the interview, and you're toast. The firm simply has too many candidates to chose from.

So, if you accidentally go on about how excited you would be to spend the summer in San Francisco, when the firm is based out of Seattle, feel free to take a deep breath, laugh it off, and end the interview right then. There will be others anyway.

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