FAQ: On-Campus Interviewing and Independent Job Search
Beginning each August and continuing through the school year, employers review the resumes and transcripts of 2L and 3L students across the country. During the Fall Recruitment season, employers participate either through OCI or through a process called Resume Collection.
- What is “Fall Recruitment” season?
- What is "OCI?"
- What is Resume Collection?
- Who can participate?
- What are the 2011 participation dates?
- What types of employers participate?
- Why is OCI directed at 2Ls and not 3Ls?
- What is the application process?
- What documents are required?
- When will employers see my documents?
- What should I do if an employer has a rank requirement?
- What if I am applying to employers who are not familiar with Pitt Law, but they require that I supply a class rank?
- Should I include journal memberships and Moot Court competitions on my resume if these activities are to take place later in the school year?
- Is there a limit on the number of employers that I can apply to through OCI or Resume Collection?
- How do I know if I have been selected for an on-campus interview?
- If I am selected, how do I sign up for an interview slot?
- What happens if I do not show up for my interview?
- Where are interviews held?
- How will I know who my interview is?
- I am a 3L and my summer employer has not made an offer of full-time employment yet, should I participate in Fall Recruitment?
- How should I dress for my interviews?
Fall Recruitment season is the period of time, generally August – October, when employers review resumes and conduct interviews for employment opportunities during the following summer.
OCI stands for On-Campus Interviewing. Employers who participate in OCI visit the law school (or our Philadelphia and/or Washington D.C. sites) to interview students. Although the bulk of employers are interviewing 2L students for summer positions between the 2L and 3L year, some employers interview on campus for internships and for employment opportunities after graduation. By participating in OCI, employers are able to interview a lot of students on campus in a short period of time.
For employers who are unable to interview students on campus, but still wish to receive application materials from students, the Symplicity system will collect student materials and the Career Services Office will then forward them to interested employers.
Any 2L or 3L (including joint degree candidates) in good standing may participate.
Students will have access to the list of participating employers on Friday, July 15, 2011 via Symplicity (https://law-pitt-csm.symplicity.com/students)
Generally, mid-size firms, large firms, and government entities participate in OCI during the Fall Recruitment season. Small firms and companies with in-house legal departments generally wait until the Spring Recruitment season because they are unable to project their staffing needs as far in advance.
The bulk of the positions are for summer jobs between the 2L and 3L summer. Employers select students hoping to offer permanent employment positions to these student employees after the student has worked for the summer. Summer positions are a way for the employer and student to see if they like working together.
Beginning July 15, 2011, Symplicity will begin populating the OCI portion of the software program. Here, you will find information regarding employers who will be coming on-campus to interview and employers who have requested that CSO collect resumes.
- Review the types of opportunities and then spend some time researching the employers.
- Decide which employers interest you. Remember, if you submit application materials and are selected for an interview, you are expected to appear at the interview. Therefore, do your research. If you are not interested in an employer, don’t apply.
- Prepare your resume, cover letters, transcript and any other requested documents. Spend the time between July 15 and the respective deadlines writing, proofing, and revising your documents. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure all spelling, formatting, and grammatical errors are corrected.
- Make an appointment with Career Services to have your resume and cover letter reviewed. Contact Patricia Wysor in the writing center if you need assistance with your writing sample or your cover letter.
- Symplicity limits each file size to 200kb. You should have no trouble uploading your resume, cover letters, or writing samples. You will not be able to upload your official transcript because the school seal and watermark put the file size over 200kb, regardless of the resolution. Therefore, upload either an unofficial transcript or your grade report that you download from “my.pitt.edu.”
Employers request different application materials, so review each employer’s requirements carefully. At the very least, employers require a resume and cover letter.
Employers are not able to view your materials until the stated Fall Recruitment deadlines:
- Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 4pm for Philadelphia
- Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 4pm for Washington, D.C.
- Thursday, August 11, 2011 at noon for Pittsburgh
- Thursday, August 18, 2011 at noon for Resume Collection
If you do not upload your materials and select employers by these deadlines, then employers will not receive your materials.
You may use the grade distribution bar graph (http://www.law.pitt.edu/resources/grades/distribution ) to estimate if you meet the employer’s hiring criteria. Because this is not an exact science, you should apply to those employers with whom you think you are close to or meet their criteria. The Career Services Office (and the software program Symplicity) does not screen your submissions and all materials submitted via Symplicity are sent to the employers.
What if I am applying to employers who are not familiar with Pitt Law, but they require that I supply a class rank?
If you are conducting an independent job search, in addition to the application materials, you are strongly encouraged to include a copy of Pitt Law’s grade policy and the grade distribution bar graph for your class. The Career Services Office provides the grade policy and grade distribution bar graphs to those employers participating in OCI and Resume Collection.
Should I include journal memberships and Moot Court competitions on my resume if these activities are to take place later in the school year?
If you know with certainty that you will participate in a journal or moot court competition, or other law school activity or program, you may include the listing on your resume even though the activity or program has not commenced.
No. However, remember that you should only apply to employers where you meet the hiring criteria. Do your research for each employer. Make sure that your practice interests align with the employer’s practice areas. Don’t apply to a firm that does only litigation if you want to do transactional work.
Employers identify students selected for interviews about 5 days prior to the posted interview date. You should log into Symplicity and select the “OCI” tab and then select the “Scheduled Interviews” tab to see if you have been selected for an interview. Once “bids” have been placed (i.e., students have applied), your status will automatically indicate “Pending.” An employer’s decision will be indicated as follows:
- Pre-Select – Employer has selected you for an on-campus interview
- Alternate – Employer has placed you on a wait list. Career Services will notify you by email if you are moved from the wait list to pre-select.
- Not Selected – Employer has not selected you for an on-campus interview
If you are selected, you will need to sign up for a convenient interview time via Symplicity through the “Accept Pre-Select” tab. Interview times are scheduled on a first-come, first served basis. If another student has already selected a particular time, then you will not be able to select that time. Make sure you do not schedule two interviews at the same time. Look to schedule interviews when you do not have class. Make sure that if you schedule two interviews on the same day, that you have at least a 30 minute break between interviews just in case an interview runs late. You must sign up for an employer’s interview slot at least 24 hour prior to the start of an employer’s interview schedule, otherwise your invitation to interview will be revoked and given to the employer’s first choice on the wait list.
Failure to participate in an interview where an interview time has been scheduled may result in exclusion from the Fall Recruitment program.
On-campus interviews usually take place on the second floor of the William Pitt Union in the interviewing suites of the undergraduate Career Services office. There will be signs directing you to the interview site and a Career Services staff person will be present at all times to assist students and employers. Since interviews may take place at the Law School or other sites within the university, make sure to check the interview schedule to see where your interview is to be held.
- Tip #1 – Give yourself plenty of time to get from the Law School to the William Pitt Union (or other interview location).
- Tip #2 – Build in some flexibility to your interview schedule. Interviews can start earlier or later than scheduled. Arrive a few minutes early and make sure you allow at least 30 minutes between scheduled interviews.
- Tip #3 – Bring a copy of your cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and any other documents that the employer requested on Symplicity to each interview.
Most employers indicate who will conduct their interviews on the posted interview schedule. You should research the employer and interviewer to learn as much information as possible prior to your interview. After all of your research, you may arrive at your interview to find out that your interviewer has changed. We will try to post that information on Symplicity as soon as we receive it.
I am a 3L and my summer employer has not made an offer of full-time employment yet, should I participate in Fall Recruitment?
? If you are a third-year student awaiting a full-time offer from your summer employer, you may still participate in Fall Recruitment. If you receive a full-time offer and accept it, please notify the Career Services Office. Your name will be removed from any further interviews without penalty.
Legal employers, on the whole, are conservative organizations. You do not want to be remembered for how you were dressed at an interview. For men, we recommend conservative, single-breasted suits in dark grey or navy with a white shirt and tie. Shoes should be freshly polished. Women should also dress conservatively. Skirts should be close to the knee and blouses/tops should not expose any cleavage. Dresses with jackets, pant suits, or skirt suits are appropriate. Simple jewelry is appropriate, as is a conservative hairstyle. Shoes should be a basic, comfortable pump – avoid platforms and sky-high heels. For both men and women, avoid perfumes and other fragrances.