How to Survive a Kira Interview

Hi, everyone! I am MachoOutgoingLoon, a Class of 2025 applicant that Mike found due to this Reddit post. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a guest blogger for the Spivey Consulting Group and talk about my experiences during this admissions cycle.

Even in the Before Times (back before COVID-19 turned the word “Zoom” from a fun thing puppies did at dog parks to the bane of my existence), there was the Kira: an online asynchronous interview platform utilized by Northwestern, Cornell, and Texas, amidst others.

Each law school approaches the Kira differently. Northwestern sends a Kira invite to anyone who requests it on the application. Cornell and Texas are more selective in who receives them. Cornell’s Kira includes not just recorded answers, but also questions requiring a written response. Northwestern focuses on behavioral questions; Cornell tries to examine how you think.

Kira interviews all have one thing in common, however: there is something uniquely terrifying about responding to pre-recorded questions. There’s none of the immediate feedback of facial expressions or clarifying questions that we receive with a live interviewer. The time limit means we can get cut off mid-sentence and not reach the resolution of a particular anecdote. Even running through the Kira practice questions didn’t truly prepare me for the process itself; the practice prompts give more time to think and answer than the actual live questions, and the practice doesn’t include any written prompts.

I am just another Type-A overachieving applicant, which means I have overwhelming anxiety about the things I can’t control. There’s a lot we can’t control in the Kira: what questions we will receive (although both Reddit and 7Sage have done a pretty solid job of collecting examples), the mindset of whoever ends up reviewing our responses, and more.

There are things we can control though, that can help ease some of the anxiety. Here are some minor tips and tricks on how to survive a Kira:

  1. Prepare specific anecdotes that you would want to bring up or that can be easily tailored to a variety of behavioral questions. That way, your prep time before the interview can be used thinking of which anecdote would be best for that particular question, and you can hit the ground running. Read sample behavioral questions.
  2. Because you can record the Kira at any time of day, pick the time of day that works best for you, your energy levels, and your lighting.
  3. Consider putting a lamp behind your laptop for a soft diffuse glow on your face. Consider dimming your screen’s brightness if you wear glasses to avoid the glare.
  4. Also consider stacking books under your laptop to get the best angle on your face.
  5. Choose your location carefully, and make sure it is clean, with minimal distractions.
  6. Put your cat away. Mr. Fluffers will make an appearance at the least opportune time. Loud meowing protests in the periphery may not be ideal, but it is better than Mr. Fluffers shaking his tail all over your screen in the middle of a very intense question about solving world hunger.
  7. Don’t dress like a slob. Wear school colors. I know it seems silly, but it can put you in the mindset of actually being a student, and it is a little bit of extra effort for whatever AdComm ends up reviewing your interview.
  8. Put a sticky note on the wall behind your laptop with a joke or a reminder to smile. Not only will it give you something to glance at instead of staring deeply into your webcam straight on for the entire experience, but it is also good just to. Y’know. Smile. Interviews are meant to put a face to a name; let them see that you’re fun. Flash those pearly whites.
  9. The Cornell questions can be weirdly specific, but they aren’t anything where Googling would help; using a search engine will just cut into your very precious time.
  10. When it is over, let it go. Shut your laptop, go outside for some fresh air, grab a drink with a friend, whatever. You can’t do anything about it after the fact, and replaying it over and over again in your mind accomplishes nothing.
  11. Remember that interviews are not a bad thing. AdComms are taking the time to get to know you outside of the four corners of your application; they just want to know more about you. It isn’t a trap or a trick, it is genuinely an opportunity to demonstrate your personality as more than just words on a page.

In the end, there is only so much we can control about the process. Everyone understands that Kiras can be weird and awkward; it is another step forward in your application and the admissions process, and will be forgotten the moment the acceptance from our dream schools arrive.