2L Job Interviewing (a.k.a. Speed Dating for Jobs)
The summer before 2L year (and 3L year if a student so desires), law students have the exciting opportunity to participate in the Fall Interview Program. The program is affectionately known by students on campus as “FIP.” I myself prefer to call it “Speed Dating for Jobs.”
During FIP, representatives from large law firms interview and recruit students for jobs for the next summer. The program begins with an intense five-day period during which attorneys flock to New Haven to interview, as well as wine and dine, law students. Students usually participate in 10-15 interviews as well as several dinners and cocktail receptions during those five days. After that, students are usually invited to callback interviews where they meet with four to six additional interviewers at each firm’s office, culminating with coffee or lunch at a local establishment. In total, students generally participate in 20-60 interviews over the course of FIP.
Although I was initially terrified out of my mind about FIP (I had very little experience interviewing, but quite a lot of experience saying dumb things when people asked me questions), I quickly found that I loved the whole process. I was able to meet and ask questions of some of the top lawyers in my field of interest. I got to visit amazing cities and eat wonderful food (for free!). Best of all, I finally found myself in an environment where it was socially acceptable for me to share my proudest moments and my greatest accomplishments with complete strangers.
I think I was uniquely prepared for FIP since I had, just recently, been initiated into the art of making a good first impression. Namely, just last winter I participated in Speed Dating (for real) at the Graduate and Professional Student Center of Yale (GPSCY). My roommates and I, clad in skirts and smiles, participated in about ten fast-paced dates over the course of an hour. And although the experience did not pan out as well for me as FIP did (though I did meet some really nice people), my roommates and I compiled a few universal truths about Speed Dating that, it turns out, were also 100% applicable to FIP:
- the best opener is a warm “Hi”;
- if you want someone to really get to know you, it’s important to dress appropriately, and to not wear anything too distracting;
- people love talking about their day-to-day lives, so asking them open-ended questions about their work and/or hobbies is a great strategy for getting to know more about them; and finally,
- you can never predict what someone is going to find endearing (and/or employable), so don’t sweat it if something goes a little bit wrong.
(This last truth is something that, thankfully, was applicable to a number of my FIP interviews.)
Overall, Speed Dating and FIP were both fantastic experiences in my YLS career (FIP a bit more than actual Speed Dating), and it is my dearest wish that future YLS-ers look forward to both with anticipation. If you are at all nervous about either, just re-read the universal truths above.