Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: juliemccoy on January 25, 2008, 06:57:27 PM

Title: interview tips?
Post by: juliemccoy on January 25, 2008, 06:57:27 PM
I have an interview next week with a mid-sized firm. I am meeting separately w/4 partners in 30-min increments, followed by a lunch with a few associates. Any advice about what to expect or the types of questions to be prepared for/to ask of them?

Thanks!
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: 1Lchica on February 03, 2008, 08:33:14 PM
How did this go? I have an interview with a mid-size firm this week also, and I'm nervous about it.
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: KC#11 on February 03, 2008, 08:52:31 PM
Above all, be yourself...but be prepared, and have a theme going in that you want to focus on. Make it something very general that everything could relate to somehow, but that doesn't come off as BS. And make sure to send detailed thank-you notes to everyone you meet expressing your enthusiasm in the position. Good luck.
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: 3Loser on February 04, 2008, 10:28:20 AM
Know your table manners. But most of all, know that this is complete bull--and treat it as such. Be as fake as the partners you are meeting with. They are all full of sh*t and expect you to be as well. Good luck.
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: GGI on July 01, 2008, 10:05:06 AM
Any news on this? How did it go? I would be interested to find out! If you wish I can give you some tips on interviews and table etiquette! Let me know if you are, so that I can copy and paste here an extract from my book "Soft Skills for Lawyers" (www.chelseapublishing.com) which you can read for free! :)
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: Orbits on July 02, 2008, 04:20:02 PM
Above all, be yourself...but be prepared, and have a theme going in that you want to focus on. Make it something very general that everything could relate to somehow, but that doesn't come off as BS. And make sure to send detailed thank-you notes to everyone you meet expressing your enthusiasm in the position. Good luck.

haha
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: Best-Legal-Aid.com on July 05, 2008, 07:14:32 AM
Make sure that you research each person you are interviewing with and try to find something in their background that either relates to yours, or something that you can ask them a question about.  People love to talk about themselves.
Title: Re: interview tips? Revealed!
Post by: GGI on July 18, 2008, 09:13:03 AM
The best tip I have ever been given is to speak as little as possible and ask as many questions as possible.  ??? It may seem absurd but I can assure you that it actually works (and trust me, I have been practising as an attorney for more than 8 years now). :o

The friend who gave the the tip explained that as a rule of thumb the more questions you ask a potential employer at a job interview, the more chances you have of getting the job because it’s all about them (and what they are looking for) and not about you. It is true that, to a certain extent, they are there to get interviewed by you and not the other way round.  ???

He gave me the following example. Imagine that you are looking for a babysitter to take care of your children while you are at work. The first potential babysitter tells you about what kind of a person she is, how often she does babysitting, how scrupulous she is to ensure that the children are taken care of and how she usually addresses
their needs while the children’s parents are away. >:(

The second potential babysitter asks you instead what you are looking for in a babysitter, what concerns you have about leaving your child while you are at work, how you take care of your children when you are there and what you would like her to do to address the needs of your children while you are away. :)

Assuming both babysitters have equal training and experience, whom would you hire? ;)

Title: Re: interview tips? Revealed!
Post by: pd112aux on July 18, 2008, 07:24:34 PM

Assuming both babysitters have equal training and experience, whom would you hire? ;)



Just how are you supposed to know that the second one has any training or experience?
Title: Re: interview tips? Revealed!
Post by: rohan on July 24, 2008, 10:42:43 AM

Assuming both babysitters have equal training and experience, whom would you hire? ;)



Just how are you supposed to know that the second one has any training or experience?


So, speaking as someone that has recruited, hired and fired more share of attorneys, legal assistants and PLs than I ever cared to.. I get the experience from the resume and from interviewing their references over the phone. Assuming that everyone has the same experience on paper, I am (and have) going to hire the candidate that LISTENS instead of using the interview to pitch canned responses that have been so rehearsed that the candidate is incapable of expanding beyond their self-congratulatory statements without falling apart. These are those lovely soft skills that everyone tells you are important but you're not sure why or what they really are.

I want candidates to be able to sell themselves with confidence and clarity of thought and speech that demonstrates maturity. Too often, I see younger applicants presenting rehearsed answers but unable to expand them because the applicant seems to have spent so much time crafting responses to the generic questions that he/she is unable to really keep a conversation going with these canned answers. For example, in response to, "Why do you want to work in this particular field?" I often hear, "Well, I am a people person and I like to help people." My typical response to this question,  "What do you mean by 'people person'?" is usually greeted with a bumbling and inelegant answer ... "uuummm... I like to help people?"

 What I think applicants don't realize is that a recruiter or interviewer is not looking for a "right" answer. They are trying to get a feel for you as a person and a good interviewer will carry on a conversation with you to get a feel for your maturity. The canned, "right" answer is phony and transparent. When you let the interviewer talk you are giving them a chance to set the tone for the interview and see how well you pay attention, can carry along the conversation and handle the unexpected.

It's expected that you're a good student with the proper training and experience for a SA position  -- I have your grades, transcripts, and ranking. I don't need much more than this to determine for an entry level law job whether or not you can actually do the work. But I do need to know whether or not you are a PITA, how you handle yourself with people, how you maintain composure in an uncomfortable setting (and a good way to do this is to listen and absorb, rather than keep interrupting to sell me on your canned answers).

In my experience, more people get fired because of their attitude and let me explain what I mean. When you have zero people skills or a bad attitude, it affects your work and what you're willing to do, the types of hours your willing to put in. The results are poor performance reviews and warnings, etc. Eventually, you get fired for poor performance, but more often than not, (and again, in my experience) the poor performance emerged from a bad attitude that the employee never turned around. When I'm interviewing, I'm looking for signs that you can go with the flow and not turn sour just as we've finished investing the resources to train you. Believe it or not, I can figure that out by how well you listen to me go on and on while you are dying to sell me canned "right" answers. It's not just your verbal answers that are important, but your body cues, too.

I think the babysitting example is a perfect analogy. In the exact scenario presented above, I have hired the second sitter because --- she listened to what I was looking for and asked questions based on my needs.

So, if you asked me to give a quick tip,  ;D I'd say that I agree with the tip to "be yourself" to an extent --- be your professional self: confident, willing to listen, pleasant, ready to be instructed in what you need to know (which you show by listening) and able to demonstrate that you can ask good questions as the conversation takes its various turns.

GL!
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: rohan on July 24, 2008, 10:56:26 AM
One thing I want to make really clear, tho.. is that you need to follow the pattern of the interviewer. It's disappointing and annoying, but there are A LOT of really bad  and really strange interviewers out there. You'll find them in every field, they are not a particular beast of the legal field. What this means is that If you get an interviewer that only wants to drill you on your experience, then by all means .... sell your heart out on your skills and experience. Usually, in this scenario, the interviewer isn't really interested in the details (but give them). What he/she is trying to do is intimidate you or gauge your confidence and ability to assert yourself with people in positions of power over you. You want to play along with whatever style they have going. If you (still) have Anna Ivey's book for getting into LS, she has some brief sections on admissions interviews that I would say are very applicable to interviews in general. Check it out from the library if you've sold or ditched your copy.
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: CamelMan on July 24, 2008, 03:28:35 PM
tag
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: rohan on July 24, 2008, 05:04:05 PM
Another tip that I wanted to share (ya'll can tell me to sit down at some point).. be able to provide specific examples and be able to speak about these examples at length. This is very similar to the suggestion of using action oriented phrases for when you craft your resume. For example, rather than just saying "I am a hard worker, I'm a diligent proof reader, etc.." be able to support these statements with concrete examples. Give an example of you putting in tough work and seeing a project, rather multiple projects through, give a detailed answer on how you proof read. When you are practicing your interview answers (and you should practice, just don't give canned responses "... and people love me!" ) carry on a conversation with yourself about this particular example. A good time to do this is while your driving - and yes at first you might feel goofy. But what it will do for you in the long run is help you to speak comfortably about this example without your nervousness getting in the way of providing a great answer or additional fodder for a tangent that the interviewer starts on this subject. Think about the type of question you might be asked and start answering it in a conversation format -- like you're speaking with the parents of your BF (assuming a casual but respectful tone and you want to impress them a little without being arrogant). Get the basics of your response in a format that you can remember, say three elements,  but also, let your mind wander about some of the wider implications of your answer. You're bound to get some additional elements in your mind that you can discuss if the interviewer starts a long rambling tangent/conversation about your answer.

ok, my baby is pulling on power cords, gotta go!
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: pikey on July 25, 2008, 05:50:14 AM
Thanks for the advice, Rohan!
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: GG on July 29, 2008, 07:12:38 AM
Rohan

Thank you for the extremely helpful contributions. I am glad you liked the baby sitter example above and I fully agree with you when you stress the importance of people skills in the legal profession. In fact, I have been training law students and junior attorneys this side of the Pond about the importance of soft skills for a number of years now. I truly believe (and experience is proving me right) that the ability to deal with people effectively and politely (also known as “soft skills”) is for an attorney just as important as, if not more important than, technical skills. Most law students, however, still fail to understand this concept probably because law schools give them the idea that outstanding technical skills is all you need to become a successful attorney. How wrong this is.

If you give me your e-mail address, I would be very pleased to send you a complimentary copy of the new edition of my book, Soft Skills for Lawyers (www.chelseapublishing.com). I would be very interested to find out what you think about it. I have been practising as an attorney for almost 10 years myself.

Giuseppe
Title: Re: interview tips?
Post by: Orbits on July 29, 2008, 08:14:05 PM
rohan, maybe you already stated this in one of your posts, but in what capacity do you interview lawyers? that is, what type of legal institution to you work for?