As a law student, the end of summer can be extremely stressful. As you complete your summer clerkship and begin to wind down from the various summer festivities, something terrifying lurks around the corner, On Campus Interviews (OCI’s). In addition to being an overall nerve wracking experience, OCI’s can be extremely hectic, especially if you have several scheduled in one day. If this is your first go-round, I hate to break it to you, but the interview itself won’t be the most stressful part of this process. Once you’ve prepared and applied these tips, I have no doubt that you will do a good job. However, the most stressful part of the OCI process comes after the interview. It appears during the long waiting period that you must endure before hearing back or in some cases hearing nothing at all from a prospective employer.
So what do you do after you’ve sent your thank you letters and you have no other reason to justify corresponding with your interviewer? You must wait. Sometimes this wait could be for just a few days before getting the good news that you’ve received a call back interview or sometimes this wait can be a few months before you receive a standard rejection letter in the mail. Regardless of what the outcome is, the instant gratification of an offer on the spot is unlikely. Therefore, waiting will be a necessary evil before receiving contact from a prospective employer.
So what do you do during this time?
1. Be Patient
This goes without saying, but being patient and channeling positivity, will be crucial during this waiting period. Fight the urge to give up on this job prospect, after not hearing from an employer for over a month and fight the urge to harass a prospective employer by repeatedly contacting them to check in on your status. Yes, following up with an employer, is reasonable as I will discuss below, but contacting them on a frequent basis will only turn them off and likely hurt your chances of employment.
Keep in mind that if offered a position, you will not be filling this role until almost a year from your interview date. Therefore, employers have time to make a calculated decision and, trust me, they will take it. For example, during my OCI process, it took two months for me to hear back from an employer after completing a call back interview. Yes, this waiting period was daunting, but just remember that it’s normal for employers to take a long time to give offers for summer employment.
So as you wait, maintain the positive thought that you did your best and if this job is the right one for you, you’ll get an offer. In the meantime, preoccupy yourself with the below tips so that the time will go by faster.
2. Don’t get too Comfortable. Keep Applying!
After doing a few OCI’s, don’t just kick back and assume that you will get an offer from one of these employers. Keep applying for jobs! I mean it’s awesome that you were selected for several interviews, but keep in mind that you’re competing with a ton of stellar options. These employers conduct OCI’s on several campuses before selecting just a handful of students. Therefore, you should hold on to the possibility of receiving an offer but also keep your options open.
In addition to applying to open positions on job search sites, I recommend also applying to employers who are not participating in OCI’s on your campus. Oftentimes employers only participate in OCI’s at target schools. These are schools at which they primarily recruit students based on a variety of reasons including, geography, ranking, and alumni on the firm staff. Therefore, if there’s a firm that you’re interested in but they aren’t conducting OCI’s at your school, still apply. Although, you may not attend a target school, you could still be an excellent recruit based on ties to the location where the firm is or maybe simply based on your academic record. Make sure you exercise this option early in the fall because most law firms are done with OCI recruitment before the fall semester ends. Don’t lose momentum and keep applying for jobs even when you’re done with your OCI interviews.
3. Send a Follow-up Email
During the waiting period, you can also send a follow-up email to your prospective employer. This is considered acceptable within the appropriate time frame and shouldn’t hurt your chances at all if drafted correctly. In fact, this could possibly help your chances of being given an offer because you will appear enthusiastic about the position. Enthusiasm is a trait that employers love to see in a prospective employee.
So when’s the right time to send a follow-up email?
I recommend sending this out two weeks after your interview. You can send this email to the HR manager or maybe even directly to the associate who interviewed you if you had a strong connection with this individual. Make sure to watch your tone within this email and don’t allow your anxiety to come across within your words and rub the employer the wrong way.
Now, I can’t guarantee that you will receive an immediate response or even a response at all, but there’s no harm in giving this option a try. If you receive a response, then abide by this response carefully. Maybe they’ll tell you that they’re still reviewing their options and that you will receive a response in “x” time. If that’s the feedback you receive, be sure not to contact the employer again until “x” time has passed. If no one responds after two more weeks have passed, then I think you should be safe sending another follow-up email at this point. But after sending two or three follow up emails, if you haven’t gotten a firm response, I think it’s best to back down and just allow the employer to get back to you in their own time. Sometimes you may never receive a response, but it’s important to not take that personally. Don’t allow that to damper your chances of receiving employment elsewhere.
So as you wait, continue to be proactive and keep hope alive. Good luck!
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