Screening Interviews

Once you get a screening interview, the process of landing a job remains the same whether you went through AALS Faculty Recruitment Services or contacted the school directly. Screening interviews on campus or via video conference will be conducted in much the same way. The main purpose is an effort to determine whether you and the law school are a good fit for each other.

In this simulation of a typical 20-30 minute screening interview, the participants address some of the most common interview questions and offer tips on the best ways to answer tough questions from law faculty hiring teams.
In this simulation, the participants demonstrate more difficult questions and topics that may arise in a law faculty screening interview.

Sample Interview Questions

Q: Why do you want to be a law professor?

A: Your answer should include references to writing and teaching.

Q: Please identify the three or four courses that would constitute your ideal teaching package.

A: Be prepared to explain how this package fits in with your research plan and practical experience.

Q: Is there a professor that you had that you would use a model for your teaching? What would be your style of teaching?

A: To answer this question, discuss with your faculty mentor different styles of teaching.

Q: Please briefly tell us about your job talk paper or topic.

A: Have a short, concise statement (around 2-3 minutes) that you have rehearsed. Twenty minutes is not much time, and this is one thing you want to be sure to share with the committee. Be prepared for any follow-up questions.

Q: Please tell us about current or future research projects listed in your research plan.

A: Have a short, concise statement that you have rehearsed. Be prepared for substantive questions about any of your published papers.

Q: What interests you in our law school?

A: Be sure to have reviewed the law school’s website, including its mission statement, and identified one or two distinctive features. If you have a particular interest in this school, be sure to convey it. Note: you may want to avoid saying “you are my top choice!”

Q: What can we tell you about our law school? Do you have any questions for us?

A: You always want to have questions ready to ask each hiring committee. Indeed, it may be helpful to have a cheat sheet for each school with questions about specific programs or features unique to this school.

  • What is the process following the screening interview? What are next steps (e.g. when can you anticipate hearing back from the school)?
  • How would the committee members describe the culture of their school?
  • Any questions that reveal your knowledge or curiosity about their particular school.
  • What do you think makes your school unique or special?
  • Where do you see the school going over the next several years?

This is an opportunity not just to ask questions but to make comments revealing depth of understanding about their school.

This webinar is designed as a primer on initial interviews with law school hiring teams, whether conducted in person or virtually. We assembled a group of faculty, both subject-matter and clinical, ready to share their experiences and advice about these screening interviews.

Tips for a Successful Interview

  1. Be sure to review the law school website and the faculty profiles of your interviewers. Familiarize yourself with the scholarship of your interviewers, particularly in your field of scholarly interest.
  2. Prepare a short, concise statement (2-3 minutes) of your scholarly agenda and the topic of your job talk paper.
  3. Moot as much as you can: the interview, the job talk, the elevator pitch.
  4. Maintain professionalism throughout the conference, including those times when you are not in an actual interview.
  5. Send thank you emails to the committee chairs of each school with whom you interview.
Professor Deborah Epstein offers advice regarding time management during a screening interview.