On-campus interviewing (OCI) looks a little different this year. Just like so many aspects of our lives during the pandemic, everything is virtual. But for most firms, the purpose of OCI remains the same: to show candidates who they are and how they are different, and to find candidates who best align with their firm’s needs, culture, and goals.
After running successful virtual summer programs, many firms are getting creative in their approach to virtual events--viewing this as an opportunity to cast a wider net, both in terms of the number of schools visited and the number of lawyers that can participate in the OCI process and recruiting events. Many firms are hoping that hosting virtual hospitality suites, meet-and-greets, and happy hours will help them continue to bring in a more diverse group of talent, as well as give more opportunities to showcase different practices.
"While it seems like it would be unnatural, our lawyers really liked the virtual meet & greet and found it to be more productive. Instead of finding groups of students resorting to hanging out at the bar with their friends, lawyers are able to rotate into different "rooms" with students, giving them the ability to interact in a meaningful way during the time. Everyone can be more purposeful about how they use the time."
- Recruiting Team at Am Law 10 Firm
Another positive, is that firms are much more open to candidates contacting lawyers directly for informational interviews or to learn more about the firm. Law firms encourage candidates to be clear about their purpose for reaching out, and to try to seek out people that might have a common connection or background or align with their values and career goals, rather than someone who just simply went to the same law school. This open access to lawyers provides candidates with the ability to create a more holistic and complete picture of prospective employers.
There are also a number of law firms who are expanding their candidate pool outside of the traditional OCI process. The absence of traveling and geographic limitations allows for recruiting teams to engage with more schools than in prior years.
With the reduction of hospitality suites, traveling costs, etc. recruiting expenses have dropped 40%, according to Bloomberg Law, but that’s not stopping law firms from expanding their historical reach. Without geographic limitations, some firms are actually expanding the number of schools they are going to and the number of candidates they are willing to interview.
By leveraging technology this OCI season, law firms are expanding their reach, streamlining their process, and reducing costs. While a virtual program certainly has its limitations, incorporating remote screening interviews and events into future years might not be a bad idea.