GUEST BLOG By Harrison Thorne, 2L at UCLA School of Law
On Campus Interview (“OCI”) week is unlike anything I have ever done.
It starts with a long bidding process, where you pick which firms you want to apply to based on where you want to work and their threshold requirements. Once you bid, the school’s system spits out an interview schedule. I received 13 interviews. Over three days.
So, I did what any good law student would do. I ironed my suit, dry cleaned my shirts and frantically emailed everyone who has worked at any of these firms. I researched each firm and found out that they are … ALL. THE. SAME
So, after finding one or two differences, and after reciting my “elevator speech” ad nauseam, I was ready.
The interviews were held at a large hotel near my school and everyone was going to be stationed on the top three floors. The first day started great. I arrived early, looked like James Bond in my black suit and black tie, and was ready to take on the world.
However, I immediately spilled coffee on my white shirt. Not to worry, though – I can adapt. I buttoned up my coat and decided it was not coming off all day. Okay. Ready to get after it.
The first interview. I knock on the door, swallow the gum I forgot I was chewing and slowly step in. I’m surprisingly calm. I guess after interviewing at various places for the past few years, I have sort of faked it ‘til I made it.
After chatting for a few minutes, I get the sense that I should ask him some questions. So I do. I feel confident. I’m hitting all my prearranged talking points, and did I mention I look great in my suit? (Except for the coffee stain.)
The next few interviews, and three days in general, were very similar. I interviewed with 12 more firms and spent the remaining time walking into various hospitality suites and dropping off my resume. I probably recycled the same anecdotes and jokes to 65 or more people between Monday and Wednesday.
However, I learned something about myself. I like networking. A lot. I have always been outgoing and I have always liked meeting new people. I never realized just how important these skills would be in my initial job search and, most likely, for the rest of my career.
I also learned that the students at my new school are cordial, receptive and genuine. I was worried that the students would not want to associate with me – a lowly transfer student. However, in the past couple weeks, I have made several close friends and have had nothing but positive experiences. I look forward to starting school, meeting more people and networking harder than ever!