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,
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.