Friday 7 January 2022

Look for a Firm That Includes Students in Decision Making

Ottawa recruitment is coming up and I remember how daunting the OCI process is. For those that aren’t aware, OCIs are when second-year law students apply for summer jobs, in hopes that the employer will ask them to article. 

"The amount of time, energy and pressure facing students during recruitment is unmatched in any other hiring process that I’m aware of."

Students write firm-specific resumes and cover letters, they submit them through the web portal and they eagerly wait to see which firms will interview them. In my year, this process was done in person. The first interview was held at the convention centre. Every 15 minutes, you’d rush off to the next interview. It’s speed dating reinvented for employment. This process went on for two days, yet classes kept going. After the initial interview, you were invited to the firm to meet more people and continue the interview process. Each firm met with selected candidates three to four times. At the end of the interview period, students eagerly wait for call day to find out if they landed a job.

The process is so stressful and cumbersome for students. I was shocked to learn it is equally taxing on the firms that participate in the program. The recruitment process is unreal. In an industry that is all about hourly targets and billables, it’s amazing how much time and effort is spent ensuring they hire not only the best candidates but the best fit for their organization.

McCague’s Student Program is spearheaded by Ashley Faust. Although a team effort, Ashley goes above and beyond to make sure the program runs smoothly. Ashley calls on current students and encourages them to be part of the interview process. That just shows how dedicated McCague is to the program. If they weren’t certain they offer their students a rewarding and challenging mentorship program, they’d never encourage current students to talk to future ones. Not only did McCague encourage our participation, but they also considered our comments when discussing who they wanted to hire. To me, that spoke volumes about the kind of collaborative, open and equal environment that McCague offers. 

 While this process was in person for me, the firms have done an excellent job mimicking the experience through zoom. This is advantageous for students because they aren’t rushing to and from firms. Plus, they may get an opportunity to meet more lawyers. I do recommend that students prepare as thoroughly as they would had the interviews been in person and not read from a script while they are on zoom.

All that being said, I recommend students look for a firm that puts them in touch with their students. That demonstrates confidence in what they have to offer and remember, you’re interviewing them as much as they are you.