Preparing for ‘call day’

Preparing for ‘call day’
With the arrival of fall and interview season in full swing, Canadian Lawyer 4Students will be running a series of articles over the coming months to assist students with the recruitment process. In part III, we get a current student at a large, commercial law firm to give advice on how to prepare for “call day” on Bay Street.

Now that the stress of on-campus interviews has worn off, the anxiety of anticipating which firms will invite you back for interviews awaits you. Relax. Like every other step in the recruitment process, some careful planning can make the transition to “call day” smooth sailing.

What is ‘call day’?

Call day is where firms partaking in the Bay Street recruitment process call applicants they are interested in doing in-firm interviews with during the first week of November. Call day this year is on Oct. 26 at 8 a.m. (note: this is eastern time, so if you are expecting a call in Vancouver, set your alarm clock accordingly).

How long are these calls?

Calls typically last a maximum of 30 to 45 seconds. A member of the firm will call you, ask you when you are free to schedule an interview — as well as potentially a lunch or dinner — and then get off the phone immediately.

No matter how many interviews you schedule, the entire process of scheduling should take no longer than 15 minutes (assuming you have to call a firm back because you were on the line with another firm). Be ready for the calls to start on the dot at 8 a.m.
You mentioned a schedule . . . should I plan ahead for this?

Absolutely. The recruitment process in Toronto this year is from Nov. 5 to 7.

In theory, there are 10 available spots to schedule your interviews for the Monday and Tuesday of that week: 8 to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In practice, however, you should be scheduling no more than six interviews.

Wait, why?

Securing a job in November is not so much about “blowing your interviewers away” during one interview, but rather showing interest in the firm by coming back for multiple visits and meeting as many individuals at the firm as you can.

With this in mind, you want to structure your interview schedule such that there is ample room on Tuesday afternoon to go back for subsequent visits. Therefore, if you are in the fortuitous position of having more than six interviews, you should structure your schedule such that you fill in four slots on Monday and the two morning spots on Tuesday.

Are there ‘coveted’ spots for interviews?

Generally, scheduling interviews on Monday — particularly Monday morning — will be received by firms as an initial, positive signal of your interest in their firm. By scheduling a Monday interview, you are giving yourself the maximum number of opportunities to go back to a firm for subsequent visits.

That said, if your Monday suddenly fills up on call day and you only have Tuesday morning slots available, do not panic. Many people have received job offers from firms that they had their first interviews with on Tuesday morning.

Is it possible to know how many interviews I have before call day?

Yes, the majority of firms — if not all — will notify you via e-mail at least two days in advance of whether or not they intend to call you on call day.

Should I respond to the firms when they e-mail me?

A simple, one-line verification that you have received a firm’s offer is acceptable; there is no need to let a firm know that you will “definitely” be accepting their interview invitation.

That said, if the day before call day you are in the lucky position to know that you have too many firms that are interested in you (i.e. more than six), it is prudent to let the firms that you are not interested know via e-mail you will not be accepting their invitation for an interview. This is the polite thing to do, and frankly, saves you time during call day to schedule the interviews you want.

Will I know about dinner offers beforehand?

The majority of firms will let you know in advance if they are interested in offering you a dinner or inviting you to a cocktail reception, which should allow you to plan your schedule beforehand.

That said, be ready for some firms to spring a dinner invite on you over the phone. Don’t panic if you cannot fit their dinner in; letting them know that your schedule is full but you are amenable to making alternative arrangements is sufficient at this stage of the game.

Overall, a little bit of planning beforehand will make your 10 to 15 minutes on call day go by without any major glitches. The bigger preparation, then, will be getting ready for November interviews.

Like many students, Kap Rooney entered law school in 2010 to delay getting a real job for three years. He will soon need to find another way to avoid growing up.

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