'Life Experience' during interviews

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273445
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:55 am

Background: T-14, approx top 1/3rd, good resume/WE, aiming at secondary markets, married with 1 child.

So here's my situation... my spouse has been struggling with some very serious medical/psych/substance abuse issues over the past couple years, which has dramatically impacted my ability to perform in (or even attend) school and work. All things considered, I am very happy with my performance, and I feel like I will perform even better when my spouse finishes treatment... if she does successfully.

My question is this: should I even consider mentioning this 'life experience' during interviews? My inclination is that firms will either see me as resiliant and a hard worker, or as a huge liability b/c of my unstable home life. I probably would not mention the substance abuse issues, but even saying 'serious medical issues' might keep me at arm's length.

Thoughts? Any help would be appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273445
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Background: T-14, approx top 1/3rd, good resume/WE, aiming at secondary markets, married with 1 child.

So here's my situation... my spouse has been struggling with some very serious medical/psych/substance abuse issues over the past couple years, which has dramatically impacted my ability to perform in (or even attend) school and work. All things considered, I am very happy with my performance, and I feel like I will perform even better when my spouse finishes treatment... if she does successfully.

My question is this: should I even consider mentioning this 'life experience' during interviews? My inclination is that firms will either see me as resiliant and a hard worker, or as a huge liability b/c of my unstable home life. I probably would not mention the substance abuse issues, but even saying 'serious medical issues' might keep me at arm's length.


i wouldnt say anything like that. your maturity will probably be apparent anyways.

Thoughts? Any help would be appreciated.

User avatar
lilybbloom
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:19 pm

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby lilybbloom » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:20 am

why do you want to mention it? your grades are already good, it would be weird to apologize for them. i guess if they ask you how your first year went, you could say "well, despite facing some serious medical issues in my family, I was able to do well..." but I don't really know how much that adds to your interview.

User avatar
TommyK
Posts: 1309
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:08 pm

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby TommyK » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:24 am

0L here, so take that into consideration when deciding whether my advice has any merit.

I am in corporate recruiting, though, so I do have experience interviewing thousands of candidates. I just don't think this plays well in interviews. You went to a top school, achieved good grades. And if you talk about the spouse's medical issues, it may come off as too excuse-y. It also indicates that you may have distractions later down the road - whether that is with a relapse or divorce.

I've had candidates do this and it doesn't always hurt them. But it absolutely never helps them.

Just my $.02*

*keeping door open for flood of responders to tell me I'm wrong.

Bumi
Posts: 947
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby Bumi » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:01 am

TommyK wrote:0L here, so take that into consideration when deciding whether my advice has any merit.

I am in corporate recruiting, though, so I do have experience interviewing thousands of candidates. I just don't think this plays well in interviews. You went to a top school, achieved good grades. And if you talk about the spouse's medical issues, it may come off as too excuse-y. It also indicates that you may have distractions later down the road - whether that is with a relapse or divorce.

I've had candidates do this and it doesn't always hurt them. But it absolutely never helps them.

Just my $.02*

*keeping door open for flood of responders to tell me I'm wrong.


I completely agree with this take. I'm entirely disqualified to offer advice on law hiring, but I am a manager at a large company. I want to hire people who make me confident in their ability, consistency, and positivity. The question is, can you do this without mentioning your domestic issues? I'd believe that you could, given your resume. Mentioning your trouble would add nothing to the table but it could take some things off the table.

Other than that: that sounds very rough. I hope things go well for your family in the future, and I wish you well! I really hope she finishes treatment successfully!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273445
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:22 am

TommyK wrote:0L here, so take that into consideration when deciding whether my advice has any merit.

I am in corporate recruiting, though, so I do have experience interviewing thousands of candidates. I just don't think this plays well in interviews. You went to a top school, achieved good grades. And if you talk about the spouse's medical issues, it may come off as too excuse-y. It also indicates that you may have distractions later down the road - whether that is with a relapse or divorce.

I've had candidates do this and it doesn't always hurt them. But it absolutely never helps them.

Just my $.02*

*keeping door open for flood of responders to tell me I'm wrong.

OP Here... thanks for the feedback. It makes sense. I guess the only reason I might bring it up now is to explain why I dropped a class, if they reference it. Other than that, I think I'll follow your advice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273445
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 'Life Experience' during interviews

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:25 am

Bumi wrote:
TommyK wrote:0L here, so take that into consideration when deciding whether my advice has any merit.

I am in corporate recruiting, though, so I do have experience interviewing thousands of candidates. I just don't think this plays well in interviews. You went to a top school, achieved good grades. And if you talk about the spouse's medical issues, it may come off as too excuse-y. It also indicates that you may have distractions later down the road - whether that is with a relapse or divorce.

I've had candidates do this and it doesn't always hurt them. But it absolutely never helps them.

Just my $.02*

*keeping door open for flood of responders to tell me I'm wrong.


I completely agree with this take. I'm entirely disqualified to offer advice on law hiring, but I am a manager at a large company. I want to hire people who make me confident in their ability, consistency, and positivity. The question is, can you do this without mentioning your domestic issues? I'd believe that you could, given your resume. Mentioning your trouble would add nothing to the table but it could take some things off the table.

Other than that: that sounds very rough. I hope things go well for your family in the future, and I wish you well! I really hope she finishes treatment successfully!

You're probably right. Thanks for the advice and support.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.