Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Getting through the nerves of the OCI process

image from pixabay

Preparing and participating for recruit is no easy task. From perfecting your resume to practicing interviewing in your mirror, there is a lot of nerves, excitement, and learning involved. When I was going through the recruit, I spent a lot of time worrying about what was going to happen. 

Once it was over, I realized how much stress I unnecessarily caused myself. 

Here are my insights on how to have a successful and stress-free recruitment.

Application Materials

When it comes to preparing your cover letter and resume, make certain they capture not only the experiences you have had but also the skills you have gained. You must find a balance between providing enough information on your application materials for firms to have a sense of the highlights you bring, but not too much information to the point that it is over-cluttered. What is the point of interviews if you have nothing further to talk about?

Proof-reading is very important. Ask a friend, a parent, anyone you can find to read over your materials. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors looks like you put little effort into your application, which can be a negative factor when it comes to having your application compared to hundreds of others.

OCI/In firm Interview

So, you scored the interview(s). That is so exciting! Make sure to research the firms you will be interviewing with. Look at what areas of law they practice, their recent cases, and watch out for any buzzwords the firm uses frequently across their websites. Buzzwords can give a good inclination of what the firm finds very important.

A good way I found to practice interviewing was practicing with a friend. My roommate and I practiced interviewing each other, and the first couple times I could not get through the whole 17 minutes without feeling awkward and laughing. But if you can get through the awkwardness of doing a serious interview in front of your friend, you will be a pro by the time the real thing comes around.

An interviewer may ask about one of your past work experiences or an extra-curricular you participated in. This is an opportunity for you to tell a story, starting from an experience you had, a skill you developed, and how that will transfer into the work you hope to do for the firm. Do not just restate what you have already written down in your submission materials because they have already read that!

Bring questions for the interviewers. While they are interviewing you, you are equally as much interviewing them! My OCI interviewers left up to half the allotted interview time just for me to ask them questions. This is a great opportunity to show what research you have done on the firm, and what you would like further information on. Do not ask any questions that a quick look on their website could have answered.

Pep Talk

At the end of the day, always make sure to be yourself! It can be too easy to get caught up with imposter syndrome and to think you need to act like someone you are not, just to come off as cool, calm and collected. The problem is that interviewers can see right through it. They want to get to know the real you, so let that person shine on through! The right firm for you will be the one where the real you can be appreciated and accepted.

Something that helped me with managing stress during the OCI process was refraining from speaking about it to my friends in law school. As tempting as it is to run to others and compare who got interviews where, it is important to be mindful that the process is different for everyone. By refraining from speaking about it, when my friends and I were hanging out we were truly just having a good time and there were no stressful conversations about the latest OCI news. Of course the day after call day when everything cooled down a bit, everyone told each other the mix of news. But by refraining from these conversations during the midst of recruit, we were all able to balance our stress to a manageable level without feeling pressured or compared further by our surrounding classmates.

I wish all the incoming 2L’s the best of luck in the 2021-2022 recruit, and hope it is a memorable and fun experience to look back on as one of the milestones of law school.