Interviews are like a long black. The mix of water and coffee is best when that perfect ratio is hit, less than perfect is admissible, and watery is… gummon, this is Wellington mate!! 2015 posed to be a do-all, be-all, apply-for-all-the-positions year. I got a few interviews throughout the year. Sadly I didn’t get as much as I would’ve liked to put on my CV, but I gained a few life lessons.
Interviewing for a fancy research position
I was way over my head here, not entirely sure what the research was about, and to top it off, I was sick. I was told: always dress for the position you want, not the position you have. So I wore my best suit (the best I could find). When you feel you look good, it can boost your confidence—which is vital in interviews. Pro tip: you might be able to find a suit jacket that looks like it came right off the runway at the Salvation Army. Also if you’re sick, do everything you can to liven up. I didn’t do this and looked like I was uninterested in international arbitration clauses in international contracts, and needed a nap (which to be fair, I did…).
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Do your homework; whether it’s about the life and times of a deceased international law professor or the main service lines of that big three firm—research is crucial. Be aware of what they are looking for. The safest route is to portray the all-rounder; academic, sports, leadership, volunteer work. Pro tip: never forget to emphasise your financial need. It’s so important to remind them of how much of a difference this is making to you.
Long story short, I didn’t get the above jobs. However, all the jobs ended up going to some close friends, and so the heartbreak wasn’t so bad. I was finally successful at the last interview I did and it was a summer position working on the durability of treaty settlements—one of the best summers I’ve ever had, making lifelong friends.
So, be confident for interviews. If it doesn’t work out, keep on keeping on, something better is always waiting around the corner.