In previous years flocks of students clad in black suits were a common sight during the fall, when the Law School held its interviewing season. This year the suit may become an endangered species during the academic year, as Career Services is moving about two-thirds of its interviews to the week before school starts.
“I’m excited. I think it’s going to work,” said Steve Hopson, Senior Assistant Dean for Career Services. With the season only a week away, Hopson is surrounded by a stack of interview schedules and has spreadsheets open on his computer. Despite the front-loaded season, his office is two days ahead of schedule, even with 352 participating students averaging more than 18 interviews each during the pre-school week. So far Hopson has scheduled an average 1,300 interviews each day and is on track to trump past years’ total, which hovered just above 7,000.
“I have every expectation that this season will be very strong,” he said.
When the faculty curriculum committee shifted the academic schedule to a 13-week fall semester for second- and third-year students, an extra week was available for upperclassmen when 1Ls started their 14-week schedule. Surveyed students told the faculty curriculum committee that they “approved the idea of somehow ameliorating the impact of on-Grounds interviewing on academics,” explained Hopson. While on-Grounds interviews were scheduled around students' classes, the pressure of having multiple interviews on a school day might distract them from their school work.
The change “made sense,” Hopson said. Now interviews don’t have to compete with classes, and “that’s wonderful for us—the [automated] scheduler will pop in nine or 10 interviews per student, no problem.”
Because Virginia is the only school among national law schools that allows employers to pre-screen applicants, students submitted more than 33,000 sets of resumes and transcripts by the July 18 deadline. “The students did very, very well in adhering to the deadlines,” Hopson said.
To accompany the compact schedule, Career Services is using 31 rooms in addition to its 17 interview rooms, including seminar rooms, empty offices, and classrooms. Darden has also offered 39 rooms for interviews, as well as parking space, and Darden’s Sponsors Hall will help house some interviewers. Teams of students will be on hand at Darden and in Scott Commons to direct interviewers to their rooms.
The second part of on-Grounds interviews will happen during Sept. 22-28, leaving a gap between the two phases for both the Career Services Office and students to prepare.