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Know your Application Materials
Reread your resume and writing sample and be prepared to answer questions about them. If you have a publication listed on your resume, be prepared to summarize its thesis succinctly. Refresh your memory about your prior work and scholastic experiences. The underlying question in the interviewer’s mind is, “why should we hire you?” List the three or four things you most want an employer to know about you and make sure to bring these qualities up during your interviews. These qualities may include writing, research, problem solving, leadership, oral advocacy, attention to detail, and dedication/enthusiasm to name a few.
Know your Online Image
Prospective employers may research you online to learn more about you than what you’ve shared through your application materials. It is important for you to maintain a professional online image. Google yourself—are you concerned with what you see? If it is content you posted, look into taking it down. Consider restricting access to your online content whenever possible. For advice on developing your LinkedIn profile, log into LinkedIn Learning (using your CAS credentials) and search “Learning LinkedIn” for a useful tutorial.
Know the Employer
Read the employer’s web site and other online resources. Talk to students who have worked for the employer and consult the Student Summer Employment Evaluations in CMS. Read recent news items discussing the employer so that you know about current issues for them. Know why you want to work for the employer.
Know the City
Be able to articulate your interest in and connection to the city in which you are interviewing.
Be Prepared to Ask and Answer Questions
Review CDO’s Sample Interview Questions. Prepare answers to your most difficult questions. Think in advance about what questions you wish to ask. Ask questions that reflect your interests and research.
Some employers will ask behavioral interview questions, such as “Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it”; “What do you do when a team member is not holding up her end of the work?”; or “Describe a stressful situation in a prior work setting and how you handled it.” In responding to questions of this nature, use the STAR Method: Situation – describe the event or situation that you were in; Task – explain the task that you had to complete and what you were trying to accomplish; Action – describe the specific actions you took to complete the task; Result – close with the results of your efforts and explain how your efforts contributed to the organization.
Participate in CDO Interview Skills Programs
Take part in CDO programs, including the interview skills workshops and mock interview training, to brush up on your interview skills before the real thing.
Know What to Expect on Interview Day
Make sure you know the logistics—the time, location, length of your visit, names of attorneys you will meet, and what materials you should bring (although it is probably wise to bring a resume, writing sample, list of references and transcript even if not requested). Look the interviewers up on the employer’s website. Map out your travel route in advance and be sure to arrive a few minutes early.
Your attire should contribute to your professionalism. Although employers may have different dress codes, err on the conservative side when interviewing.
- A suit is the most typical form of business attire. Dark colored suits are the most conservative. Solids or subtle pin-stripes are preferable to patterns.
- Wear a plain, light-colored shirt—white or light blue work well. Button-down shirts with collars should be long-sleeved. Avoid shirts that are too low-cut. Tank tops are too casual.
- If worn, skirts should be around knee length. Wearing pantyhose (as opposed to bare legs) is the more conservative approach.
- If worn, ties should be tasteful in color and design.
- Shoes should be polished. If worn, socks should complement the suit. If worn, heels should be on the shorter side. Avoid sling backs, open toes, elaborate bows and buckles.
- Keep jewelry simple. Consider removing your nose ring.
- Use a light hand in applying makeup, nail polish, perfume, cologne and aftershave.
- Keep what you carry to a minimum – best to have only a briefcase, purse or folder that contains your interview materials.
For more in depth attire advice, refer to CDO's program, Dress For Success.
If you are on financial aid (loans and/or grants), you may request a one-time loan of $500 to purchase a suit. If you enter the COAP program after graduation, this loan will be covered. Talk to Financial Aid before purchasing the suit.