How to prepare for OCI

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soft blue

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How to prepare for OCI

Postby soft blue » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:17 am

I've gotten a bunch of different advice for OCI, ranging from "be able to talk about your favorite class + why" to "just be likable" to "have good answers to standard behavioral questions." Does it just vary a ton from firm to firm? My OCS has been really unhelpful in helping me think about how to prepare for this stuff and the two "practice" interviews I've done have been with junior associates and were just friendly conversations -- didn't feel like a traditional interview at all.

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Wild Card

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby Wild Card » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:32 am

Correct, it's just a friendly conversation. Keep doing mock interviews. You'll do great.

icansortofmath

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby icansortofmath » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:42 pm

Other than the “walk me through your resume” (translation: I don’t know any other ice breaker/I am looking at your resume for the first time) almost every interview was just a chat about my life, interviewers’ lives, and how to succeed as a new associate.

I had two technical questions out of like 100 interviews with like 50 firms and they were pretty basic.

soft blue

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby soft blue » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:45 pm

Got it -- by technical you mean "anything related to law school," right?

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UnfrozenCaveman

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby UnfrozenCaveman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:24 pm

It varies a ton from interviewer to interviewer. Don't be surprised when an interviewer isn't prepared themselves. Be prepared to walk through your resume, have a couple talking points for each line on your resume if asked about specifics, keep everything positive, being able to say "why" to an answer is helpful.

Try to figure out a few things the firm is known for (bonus points for anything beyond chambers) or at least don't go into an interview and want to talk about a practice area the firm doesn't do or barely does. This can be harder than it seems. Firm websites will make it seem like they do it all.

icansortofmath

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby icansortofmath » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:19 pm

soft blue wrote:Got it -- by technical you mean "anything related to law school," right?


Nah. More specific than that. What’s 351 reorg? What’s a 10b-5 violation? In both cases the interviewer only wanted the bare minimum answers.

There were more (still less than 50%, maybe less than 25%) broad questions that can get technical (if you aren’t careful) like what is most interesting/important thing you learned in M&A?

In all cases, the interviewer weren’t really interested in long and technical answers. They just wanted to make sure I went to class and had put some thought into (had interest/understanding in) relevant laws. Most the interviews were still just general chats.

JHP

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Re: How to prepare for OCI

Postby JHP » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:09 am

icansortofmath wrote:Other than the “walk me through your resume” (translation: I don’t know any other ice breaker/I am looking at your resume for the first time) almost every interview was just a chat about my life, interviewers’ lives, and how to succeed as a new associate.

Obviously, be prepared to do a standard elevator pitch introduction of yourself. They'll almost always start with the above, or something like "so, tell me about yourself." Work in stuff from your resume that you want to draw their attention to, or drop in a little interesting tidbit about yourself that maybe draws their attention away from your resume if you don't think you are that strong on paper.

UnfrozenCaveman wrote:It varies a ton from interviewer to interviewer. Don't be surprised when an interviewer isn't prepared themselves. Be prepared to walk through your resume, have a couple talking points for each line on your resume if asked about specifics, keep everything positive, being able to say "why" to an answer is helpful.

Try to figure out a few things the firm is known for (bonus points for anything beyond chambers) or at least don't go into an interview and want to talk about a practice area the firm doesn't do or barely does. This can be harder than it seems. Firm websites will make it seem like they do it all.

I absolutely second all of this. I once had an interviewer sit down and just say "So, hello." and then stare at me, not even looking at my resume--clearly did not read my resume, would not be reading it, and just wanted to see how I handled it. It did not go well. That was the most "shocking" interview I had during OCI. Otherwise, I had practiced a lot on subtly bringing things back to certain items on my resume I really wanted to focus on, and felt that my practicing made me a really strong interviewee.

Definitely know details about what's on your resume. Some people will gloss over things, other people will hang onto one little bullet point you forgot in your resume, and now you're on the spot and can't remember for the life of you what that project was. I also got asked about my writing sample once (in a callback), and I hadn't read it in SO long and it was the tail end of OCI, so I balked and fudged my answers--it wasn't awful, but it wasn't good.

Some firms have focused on implementing non-biased interviewing which means relying on standardized interview questions, which may mean that those interviewers may be tempted to pry into personal questions that they are personally interested in (e.g. favorite sports teams, shared backgrounds, etc.), but the firm's interviewing policy will restrict them from delving too far into those. You can probably pretty quickly identify which interviews will be like that (sometimes they'll straight up tell you at the start of the interview), and it's just about making yourself seem polished, thoughtful and as personable as possible when asked a slightly stiff pre-formulated interview question.

Long story short, practice practice practice. You don't have to have answers memorized (in fact, sometimes that sounds really stilted and weird), but practicing a lot means that if you're ever caught short by a question, your autodrive will kick in and pieces of your rehearsed answers will float back and bring you back to ground.



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