Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy | Terms | FAQ

The Hall Staffing Group

The Callback Interview

Callback interviews are generally held in an employer's office following an initial screening interview.
Employers will usually call to extend an invitation for a callback interview.
If you use an answering machine, and we recommend that you do, make sure your message is clear and professional.
When scheduling callback interviews, you first need to decide how many interviews to accept.

It is important to balance interviewing with other factors such as school, extracurricular activities, and work.
You don't want to overextend yourself or the quality of your interviews will suffer. You also don't want to accept a callback interview with an employer with whom you are sure you would not accept an offer of employment. It is unfair to the employer and other interviewing Applicants to do so.
When scheduling a callback interview you want to respond to the employer promptly so that your travel arrangements can be made as cost effectively and conveniently as possible. Make sure you keep a complete calendar so that you don't schedule interviews when you have other commitments such as on-campus interviews, competitions, or exams.
Avoid rescheduling interviews, but if you must cancel or reschedule an interview, do it as far in advance as possible. Applicants often find it advantageous to schedule several interviews in one city at the same time. It is important to inform the employers about your other interviews so that, together, you can decide on a convenient appointment time and so that the employers can share travel expenses.
In general, law firms will reimburse you for expenses you incur for a callback interview (transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals). Guidelines and limits vary among employers.
Many Applicants want to schedule callback interviews in conjunction with a visit to see family or friends. That is permissible. However, you must make sure that the expenses incurred by the employer(s) don't exceed what they would normally pay.
Occasionally an employer will fail to mention travel arrangements and/or the reimbursement of travel expenses. It is perfectly acceptable to inquire about these arrangements.
Some employers will make all of your travel arrangements while others will expect you to do it yourself. If you have any questions about what constitutes a reasonable expense, you should call the employer for clarification before incurring the expense. Let the employer know if you have any reasonable special requests, such as taking the latest flight possible. Do not abuse the reimbursement policy by ordering pay-per-view movies in your room or raiding the mini-bar.

Preparing for the Interview
Before an interview, make sure you know how to get to the employer's office and who to ask for when you get there. You should arrive at the employer's office at least five minutes early.
A callback interview is usually structured into several 20-30 minute interviews with one or two people at a time. If you would like to meet with particular people or attorneys from certain practice areas, be sure to let the recruiter know when you schedule the interview. However, do not be offended if they cannot accommodate you or if they have to make last minute changes to your interview schedule. You can call the recruiter a day or two before your interview to find out who will be interviewing you.
Preparing for a callback interview is similar to preparing for a screening interview. As always, it is important to be prepared and professional. You should learn as much as you possibly can about the employer by researching them. If possible, you should also research the interviewers for each employer with whom you will be interviewing. Practice interviewing out loud with another person (roommate, spouse, study partner).
Answering questions in your head is not the same as actually talking to someone and articulating your strengths, goals, interests, and concerns out loud. Inevitably, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions and you should have at least a few questions ready, but do not use a prepared list. Ask questions that reflect your strong interest in the position and that will initiate further discussion, rather than questions that are answered in their recruiting literature or that can be answered in a single sentence.
Show off the research you have done; it will impress them.
Be prepared to sell yourself! One of the most important goals you have during an interview is to convince the employer that you are the best choice for that position. Let the interviewers know what your personality is, what your strengths and accomplishments are, and what skills you have.
They need to see that you are someone they would like to work with day in and day out.
Show them your human side.
Interview Basics
  1. Body Language
    • Greet the interviewer(s) with a solid handshake
    • Sit up straight
    • Maintain eye contact
    • Smile
    • Speak clearly and slowly (people tend to talk faster when they are nervous)
  2. General Tips
    • Tailor the interview to the employer
    • Answer honestly while highlighting your strengths
    • Use good manners
    • Treat everyone you meet with respect and friendliness
    • Dress conservatively and professionally—bring appropriate clothes for the city's
    • weather and pack an extra tie, shirt, pair of hose, and a coat and an umbrella
  3. A Few Don'ts
    • Don't appear bored—stay interested and enthusiastic
    • Don't disparage previous employers
    • Don't pretend to know more than you do or exaggerate experiences
    • Don't eat foods that will leave an odor on your breath
  4. The Paper Chase
    • Bring a few extra copies of your resume, transcript, list of references, and writing sample
    • Don't take notes or use a prepared list of questions during the interview
    • Write personalized thank you notes to each interviewer
    • We strongly encourage you not to send your thank you via e-mail
    • Keep careful records of your job search—who you met, particular points that were discussed, and your perceptions
Differences from a Screening interview
During a callback interview, you have a unique opportunity to see the interviewer's office environment. Try to get a feel for the office culture and watch for subtle differences between employers.
For example, are most of the attorneys' doors closed or open?
Do the associates seem to enjoy their work or do they all look harried and overworked?
Do nameplates on office doors say "Michael Smith" or "Mr. Smith"?
While you're waiting for your interview to begin, pay attention to activities at the reception desk and observe interactions among staff members and attorneys.
Is the staff friendly to one another and to you?
Are the attorneys respectful to the staff and to one another?
All of these factors can give you an insight into what working for a particular employer might be like.

At a callback interview you have a chance to ask more specific questions about the employer and the position.
You may want to discuss the firm's plans for the future. However, it is important to remember that while you are interviewing them, they are also still interviewing you so avoid appearing arrogant or rude.
If you really want the position, let the employer know that. That is not the time to be coy or to play hard-to-get.
Lunch, dinner, or drinks are sometimes included as part of a callback interview.
This can be awkward, so here are a few tips to get you through: follow the attorney's lead as far as what to eat, whether to order an appetizer, which fork to use, and when to start eating.
Order a mid-priced entrée that's easy to eat (avoid spaghetti or fish with bones), use good manners, and either don't drink alcohol at all or limit yourself to one glass of wine regardless of how much everyone else drinks.
NEVER order an alcoholic drink unless the interviewer does. Remember, this is not solely a social outing; rather, it is a continuation of the interview.

Timing of Offers and Decisions
Callback interviews are expensive to employers because of the cost incurred in getting you to their office and in the attorney-time that is dedicated to the interview.
Therefore, in general, if you are asked for a callback interview, you are qualified to receive an offer. The offer is within your reach, so you want to be as prepared as possible.
Applicants often ask how good their chances are for an offer after receiving a callback interview.
Unfortunately, there is no "rule" regarding the number of offers given as a percentage of the number of Applicants interviewed.
Also, some employers make a first round of offers, see how many Applicants accept, and then make a second round of offers, if necessary, to fill their program.
Firms will usually extend offers within two weeks; however, some firms will wait until they have interviewed all of their candidates before making a decision, while others will make an immediate offer during the interview.
If you are unsure of an employer's time frame, it is appropriate to ask an employer when you can expect to hear back from them.

Copyright © 2010-2015 The Hall Staffing Group, all rights reserved.