Career Development Office

Hours:
MWThF 8am-5pm
Tuesday 8am-6pm

Career Development Office
4604 Calhoun Road
Bates Law Building, Suite 8
Houston, Texas 77204-6054
Phone: 713-743-2090
Fax: 713-743-2091
lawcareer@uh.edu


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On-Campus Interview Program (OCI)

Below you will find the most frequently asked questions regarding the On-Campus Interview Program (OCI). If you attended the OCI Program information session, you can view the PowerPoint presentation here. If after reviewing the information below you still have questions, please contact your assigned Career Development Office (CDO) counselor.

General On-Campus Interview (OCI) Related Questions

  • What is the On-Campus Interview Program (OCI)?

    The On-Campus Interview Program (OCI) allows students the opportunity to interview with legal employers on campus.  OCI takes place in two stages: 1) Fall OCI: Session I and 2) Fall OCI: Session II. The first stage, Fall OCI: Session I, occurs the week before classes begin. This stage is the largest with over 60 employers participating. The second stage, Fall OCI: Session II, occurs in mid-October and is usually smaller than the first stage with 10–15 employers participating.

    You should read the very informative NALP Open Letter to Law Students which gives detailed and specific instructions about what to expect and etiquette for on and off-campus interviews, callback interviews, travel reimbursement, and accepting and declining offers.

  • Who is eligible to participate in OCI?

    Fall OCI: Session I is open to rising 2Ls and 3Ls currently enrolled at the Law Center. Fall OCI: Session II is open to all students currently enrolled at the Law Center.

    Students who have completed the first year of the part-time program are considered 2Ls and are eligible to participate in Fall OCI: Session I.

    Transfer students are also eligible to participate in Fall OCI: Session I. For more information, please contact the CDO.

  • How will I be notified about news regarding OCI?

    Any OCI information will be emailed to the email address listed in your Symplicity account. If using your school email account, please be sure to empty your inbox and deleted items to have sufficient room for emails from the CDO.

  • What are the important terms to know for OCI?

    Accept/Decline Interview Period – The period when preselected students may accept or decline interviews granted by employers.

    Alternate Interview Sign Up Period – The period when alternate students may accept interviews based on available interview schedule space.

    Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program – The period when CDO counselors and outside attorneys conduct mock interviews for students in preparation for on-campus interviews.

    Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program Sign Up Period – The period when students sign up to participate in the Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program.

    Bid – An application for a specific employer. The application includes a resume and any other documents requested by the employer.

    Bidding Period – The period when students can place bids for employers participating in OCI.

    On-Campus Interview Period – The period when employers come to campus to conduct interviews of the students who have accepted their interview request.

    Resume Collection – A collection of application materials that an employer gathers from interested students and in lieu of coming to campus to interview viable candidates, the employer chooses to follow up with the candidates at the employer’s convenience and schedule interviews at the employer’s location.

    Resume Review Deadline – Students must submit their resumes to their assigned counselor by this date in order to receive feedback prior to the first day of the Bidding Period. Resumes submitted after this date are not guaranteed to be reviewed before the Bidding Period begins.

    Student Review Period – The period when students can log on to Symplicity and view the employers who have signed up to participate in OCI.

  • When are the important dates for OCI?

    Below are the important dates for the 2017 Fall OCI: Session II

    September 25– September 27: Student Review Period

    September 28 – October 1: Student Bidding Period

    October 10– October 12: Student Accept/Decline Period

    October 13: Alternate Interview Sign Up Period

    October 20: 2017 Fall OCI: Session II

  • What documents do I need to prepare for the OCI bidding process?

    The following documents should be prepared before the Bidding Period begins:

    Resume – GPAs should be brought out to the thousandth; do not round up. You may update your class rank, but only if utilizing your spring GPA. If you choose to update your resume with your summer GPA, you may not include a class rank (which is based on spring grades) and you must use the following format “GPA through Summer 2015: _____”.). Finally, do not calculate between percentages (e.g., Top 12%) when denoting your class rank.

    Cover Letter – If an employer requests it, you must provide a cover letter to bid for that employer (Symplicity will not accept your bid unless a cover letter has been uploaded.). Cover letters should be addressed by name (e.g., “Dear Mr. Smith”) to the hiring attorney or recruiter at the firm. If a cover letter is not requested, it is not necessary to include.

    Transcript – Employers have agreed to accept unofficial transcripts. Please use the Unofficial Transcript Form found in the Career Resource Library on Symplicity as a template. Be sure your transcript includes your name, the name of the school and a cumulative GPA.

    Writing Sample – The preferred page range for a writing sample is 5 to 10 pages.

  • How do I upload documents to Symplicity?

    1.    Log in to Symplicity.

    2.    Click on the “Documents” tab located on the left navigation bar.

    3.    Click on the “Add New” button to upload a new document.

    4.    Enter the title of your document in the “Label” field. Remember to include your name in the title for all documents (e.g., “Resume – John Doe”). Also, for cover letters, be sure to include the name of the employer in the title (e.g., “John Doe Cover Letter – Smith & Smith LLP”).

    5.    Select a “Document Type”.

    6.    Under “File”, click on the “Choose File” button to select a file to upload.

    7.    Choose the document and click “Open”.

    8.    Once you select the document click on the “Submit” button.

    Please note that you cannot bid unless you have uploaded all the documents requested by an organization.

    If you have the ability to convert Word documents into .pdf documents, always convert your documents to .pdf prior to uploading them to Symplicity. This will eliminate any conversion errors with Symplicity. Symplicity will add a header and footer to the resume when it is sent to employers. Thus, you should make sure your resume has at least a .5” margin.

    If you do not have .pdf conversion software (such as Adobe), you may upload your Word document to Symplicity, which will convert it for you. However, please be aware that if your Word document contains excessive formatting or macros, or if it was created using a template, the format may be altered during the conversion process.

    Once your document is uploaded and converted to a .pdf, be sure to open and view the .pdf document to ensure that there have been no format alterations. If the format on your document changes during the conversion, you may need to modify the format of your Word document and re-upload it to Symplicity. If you continue to have difficulties, please contact the CDO.

  • Which employers participate in OCI?

    2017 Fall OCI: Session I employers will be available to review in Symplicity on July 1. Keep in mind that you should check Symplicity frequently after July 1st, as employers will continue to be added as they register. You can also view participating employers from the 2017 Fall OCI: Session I in pdf format located here. An Employer pronunciation guide is provided for your convenience here.

    Students will be able to view employers for Fall OCI: Session II once the Bidding Period begins for those stages.

  • How can I research employers that participate in OCI?

    A great place to start is the employer’s website. Additionally, you can review employer profiles on Symplicity. Finally, these websites provide valuable information on large law firms:

    National Association of Law Placement (NALP)

    Chambers Associate

    Vault

    Martindale-Hubbell

    Bloomberg

    When researching, remember to investigate the following:

    Hiring criteria (and manage your bids accordingly)

    Practice areas and sizes

    UHLC alumni presence

    Recent press (mergers, office openings/closings, high profile cases, etc.)

    Work environment/culture

OCI Bidding Questions

  • How do I bid for an employer?

    1.    Log in to Symplicity.

    2.    Click on the “Recruiting” tab on the left navigation bar.

    3.    Select the “Employers/Bidding” tab on the left-hand side under “on-campus interviews”. (Your web browser should automatically default to this tab when you click on the “Recruiting” tab.)

    4.    Select your desired session from the “Session” drop-down menu. The resulting list of employers contains only those that have requested your class year. These are employers you are eligible to submit your resume to. Note that by clicking “More Filters” you can search employers by size, type, state, date, practice area, or by location if the employer has provided this information.

    5.    Review relevant information about an employer by clicking on the “Review” button to the left of the desired organization.

    6.    To bid for an employer, click the “Review” button located to the left of the desired organization or the “Apply” button to the right of the screen. You will then be redirected to a review screen.

    7.    To apply, click the “Apply” button at the right of the “Bid Details” box to the right of the screen. Please pay close attention to this box. If a document type is listed here, it is a REQUIRED document for this specific employer. For example: If “Cover Letter” is in this box, and “none found” is to the right, you must return to the “Documents” section and upload a cover letter.

    8.    Your default resume* will be included with each application. To change your resume (or any required documents), select the appropriate document from the drop down menu in the “Bid Details” box.

    *In the Symplicity “Documents” tab in the top navigation bar, you can select one of your resumes to become your default resume for all employers you apply to by clicking “Make Default”.

  • What should my bidding strategy be?

    When you have a limited number of bids and a limited number of interviews you may accept, you want to bid strategically. Some things to look for when considering which employers to bid on:

    What are the employer’s listed requirements?

    The largest firms are typically the ones that have strict GPA cutoffs and are going to be the most competitive. Keep an open mind and be cognizant of your GPA. If you do not fall within 5 to 10% of their listed GPA cutoff, consider bidding on other smaller to mid-size firms that may have more relaxed GPA requirements.

    Is the firm’s summer associate program the first or second half of the summer?

    Most firms’ summer associate programs will be for either the first of second half of the summer. Distribute your bids between first and second half programs. Employers are generally not flexible when it comes to the dates of their summer programs.

    What kind of work does the Houston office of this firm do?

    Most large firms list all of their practice areas on their website. But do your research! Take a look at what type of work the partners and associates in Houston are doing. A great place to get this type of information is on the NALP website. Find the profile of the firm’s Houston office, then click “Practice Areas”. All practice areas conducted in that particular office of the firm will be listed along with the number of associates and partners participating in those practice areas. Make sure that your interests and background speak to that type of work.

  • How many bids do I have?  How many interviews can I accept?

    For Fall OCI: Session I, students have a limited number of bids to submit and a limited number of interviews to accept. You will be informed of the maximum number of bids and interviews prior to the bidding period. For Fall OCI Session II there are no limits to the number of bids or interviews you may accept. Note that you may bid on as many Resume Collection employers as you like as Resume Collection bids do not count towards your total number of bids.

  • I changed my mind about an employer I previously placed a bid for. How do I delete my bid?

    To delete a bid, log back into Symplicity, click on the “Recruiting” tab and ensure that the session is set to your desired session. Below your desired session, you will see your employers, interview dates, documents, and bidding status. Simply click "Withdraw" on the right-hand side of the screen to delete a bid.

    Remember that you can bid and withdraw bids at any time during the Bidding Period. Your bids are locked in once the Bidding Period ends.

  • I want to place a bid but Symplicity won’t allow me to upload any additional documents. What do I do?

    In order to bid on an employer, you must have all application materials requested by that employer uploaded to the “Documents” tab. For example, if the firm of Smith & Smith LLP requires a resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcript, then all three must be uploaded to the “Documents” tab before Symplicity will allow you to bid on Smith & Smith.

    However, Symplicity will only allow you to upload 10 application materials at a time. This means that once you bid on Smith & Smith LLP, you may need to delete your existing application materials in the “Documents” tab in order to make room for new application materials tailored to another employer. Rest assured that deleting your application materials from the “Documents” tab will not affect your previously submitted bids.

  • I have updated my resume since I bid on employers. How do I send the employers I previously bid on my updated resume?

    To update your resume, log back into Symplicity, and upload the revised resume under the “Documents” tab. Then click on the “Recruiting” tab and ensure that the session is set to your desired session. Under the “Default OCI Resume” box, you will be able to update your default resume by clicking “Update Default”. If you want to submit an updated resume to all of the employers you previously bid on click “Update All”. This will update your resume on all of your bids. Note that you can only update your resume during the Bidding Period. After the Bidding Period ends, all bids are locked in and you cannot make any additional changes.

  • What documents do I need to prepare for the OCI bidding process?

    The following documents should be prepared before the Bidding Period begins:
    Resume – GPAs should be brought out to the thousandth; do not round up. You may update your class rank, but only if utilizing your spring GPA. If you choose to update your resume with your summer GPA, you may not include a class rank (which is based on spring grades) and you must use the following format “GPA through Summer 2016: _____”.). Finally, do not calculate between percentages (e.g., Top 12%) when denoting your class rank.

    Cover Letter – If an employer requests it, you must provide a cover letter to bid for that employer (Symplicity will not accept your bid unless a cover letter has been uploaded.). Cover letters should be addressed by name (e.g., “Dear Mr. Smith”) to the hiring attorney or recruiter at the firm. If a cover letter is not requested, it is not necessary to include.

    Transcript – Employers have agreed to accept unofficial transcripts. Please use the Unofficial Transcript Form found in the Career Resource Library on Symplicity as a template. Be sure your transcript includes your name, the name of the school and a cumulative GPA.

    Writing Sample – The preferred page range for a writing sample is 5 to 10 page

OCI Interview Questions

  • How do I accept an employer interview?

    During the Accept/Decline Interview Period, you must log into Symplicity to see whether or not you have been chosen for any interviews. Keep in mind that you will not receive email notifications from Symplicity.

    Log in to Symplicity and go to your desired session under the “Recruiting” tab and look for the following options:

    If you have been selected by an employer for an interview, you will see two buttons under the “Invitations” column; the buttons will read “Accept Preselect” and “Decline.” Once you click on “Accept Preselect” you will be prompted to choose an interview time. Interview times are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.

    If you have been selected by an employer for an alternate slot, you will see two buttons under the “Invitations” column; the buttons will read “Accept Alternate” and “Decline.” You will have to wait until the Alternate Interview Sign Up Period begins to log back in and sign up for any available interview slots.

    If you were not selected by an employer for either an interview or alternate slot, you will see the words “Not Invited” in the “Invitations” column. There is nothing you need to do in the system for these instances.

    Employers who participate in Resume Collection will contact students directly to schedule interviews at the employer’s location.

  • What does “no multiple interviews” mean?

    If more than one office of an employer participates in OCI, then you may only bid on one office. For example, if the Houston and Dallas offices of Smith & Smith LLP are both participating in OCI, you can only apply to one Smith & Smith LLP office. However, if the employer grants you an interview, you will have the opportunity to express your interest in multiple offices.

  • How do I conduct myself in an OCI interview?

    The best way to prepare yourself for OCI interviews is to participate in the Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program. The Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program pairs career counselors with practicing attorneys from the local legal community to conduct the interviews. To sign up for the Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program, log on to Symplicity and sign up during the Attorney/CDO Mock Interview Program Sign Up Period. Times are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Also remember, that you can sign up for a mock interview with your career counselor at any time during the year.

  • What do I wear to on-campus interviews?

    The most important thing to remember is that the interviewer should be focusing exclusively on what you have to say and the substance of your resume – no aspect of your dress or personal appearance should distract the prospective employer from the matter at hand. Men should wear dark suits, white shirts, and conservative ties. Generally, men should also be clean-shaven (or have very neat facial hair). Women should wear dark skirt suits with pantyhose. The most predominate complaints regarding women’s attire are suits that are too tight, sheer blouses, low-cut neck lines, and skirts that are too short.

  • When do I arrive for my on-campus interview?

    Arrive at your interview location (Career Development Office, Finnell Rooms, or 2nd floor TUII (Red Printer Room)) at least 10 minutes before your interview. If you have back-to-back interviews, please let one of the CDO staff know so we can inform the recruiters/employers if you are delayed.

  • What if I cannot make my scheduled interview time?

    It is in the best interest of both students and the school that students attend all scheduled interviews. If you must cancel an interview we ask you to do so at least 48 hours in advance.

    If you miss an interview and you do not provide 48 hours advance notice, to remain in good standing and continue to participate in the career programs, you must prepare a letter of apology to each interviewer. The letter must be brought to Dean Allison Regan within 48 hours of the missed interview for review and mailing by the office. More information on the CDO’s good standing policies can be found here: http://www.law.uh.edu/career/policies/goodstanding.asp.

  • Should I send a thank you note after the interview?

    We recommend handwritten thank you notes for interviewers and recruiters. Personalize the note to each interviewer, as they may all end up in one file. Some students find it useful to bring stationary on interview days and write the notes between interviews. Remember to check your spelling and grammar and make sure your handwriting is legible.

  • When should I expect to hear from employers after I interview?

    Some firms may make decisions very quickly and contact you very soon (within 24 hours) after the OCI interview to schedule a callback interview. Others may need more time to discuss candidates and may call much later.

    Be prepared to receive these calls by making sure your outgoing telephone message is professional and up to date. Messages with music, background noise, or utilizing jokes are seen as unprofessional.

  • What should I expect from the callback interview?

    The callback interview is the chance for more people at the firm to meet you in order to decide if they would like to make an offer for you to join the firm for the summer. Callbacks usually last several hours and could include lunch or dinner. Typically, you will interview with numerous attorneys during the callback. While Early Week Fall OCI interviews occur the week before the semester begins, callback interviews happen throughout the school semester.

    Refer to the NALP Open Letter to Law Students for detailed and specific instructions about callback interviews.

  • How do I seek firm reimbursement if I travel out of the area for an interview?

    If you travel outside the area for a callback interview, some employers will reimburse you for expenses you incur, such as transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals. Discuss expense reimbursement policies and procedures before you travel to meet with the employers. The employer may have its own reimbursement forms. Refer to the NALP Travel Expense Reimbursement Form and Instruction Sheet for an idea of what information you will need to obtain for reimbursement and read the NALP Open Letter to Law Students for tips on navigating firm reimbursement.

  • What happens once I have an offer?

    Most large law firms are members of the National Association of Law Placement (NALP). The NALP Principles and Standards specify how and when firms can make offers to law students and how and when law students must accept offers from NALP member firms. For example, employers offering positions for the following summer to 2L or 3L candidates not previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 28 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first. Review these guidelines here: http://www.nalp.org/fulltextofnalpprinciplesandstandards, and talk to your career counselor if you have any questions.

    It is important to note that the NALP guidelines only apply to NALP members. Some OCI employers are not NALP members, which means that they are not required to follow the aforementioned guidelines. For example, non-NALP employers offering positions for the following summer to 2L or 3L candidates not previously employed by them are not required to leave the offer open for 28 days and may request an answer sooner. You can determine which firms are NALP members by reviewing the firm’s profile on Symplicity or by visiting the NALP website. Always speak to your career counselor if you have any questions or concerns regarding offer timelines and please read the NALP Open Letter to Law Students and the NALP Student Professionalism During the Interview Season handouts for more specific tips about accepting and declining offers.