Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

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Matlock31
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Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby Matlock31 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:46 pm

Curious how others have responded to this question from the interviewer... More specifically, the "why" follow-up to your response.

I can probably think of my least favorite class, but I'm not sure how to articulate why without diving into how the class was presented by the prof.

rynabrius
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby rynabrius » Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:50 pm

If you have decided on a specific practice area to plump for, you might consider naming a class that is irrelevant to that practice area.

You might give an answer of the form,

"Well, all my classes were wonderful, but if I had to pick my least favorite, it would be [XYZ]. The reason is that [list problem with the class in neutral way, without seeming bitter.] I know I won't have problems with that in your firm, because [list positive qualities about the firm you have gleaned from your research.]"

I think that this question is probably a trap designed to get you to fess up to a weakness that would impair your ability to do the job. Instead, try to turn in an answer that highlights your interest in the firm, as well as your strengths.

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jayn3
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby jayn3 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:25 pm

rynabrius wrote:"Well, all my classes were wonderful....."

I would definitely not say that because it's about 99% likely to be an obvious, blatant lie. It would probably be better to say something like, "Overall, I'm really enjoying studying at XYZ, but ABC class wasn't as interesting to me as most, for such and such reason...."

You could probably transition nicely into why another class relevant to the firm's practice area was oh so awesome and you'd like to do that for the rest of your life.

Jessep
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby Jessep » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:30 pm

If it had to do with the professor's teaching style, I think it's valid to include it in your answer as long as it is not overly negative. If your professor opened up the class to a lot of discussion and you found this unhelpful in learning the material, I see no reason not to say it. Everyone learns differently though. It is valid to not enjoy a class as much because it doesn't cater to your specific learning style.

I'm not sure you really need to justify why it wouldn't be a problem at the firm, because classroom is totally different than working and to compare the two shows some naivete. If it were me, I'd also answer based upon the professor's teaching style and stay away from personal attacks on the professor (you never know if the interviewer knows them). Although, I'd probably start my answer that I really enjoyed all of my classes but if I had to pick....

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napolnic
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby napolnic » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:32 pm

This is one of those questions that you should think real hard about, but not have a clear winner (or rather, loser). When you name the class, things you should not do: bad mouth the professor, blame it on something other than yourself. Personally, I would go with a class that I thought the professor was terrible, but I would never say that. Pick something else about the class and if at all possible, pick something about yourself that you have since fixed. Kinda like a greatest weakness question.

hithere
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby hithere » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:56 pm

Are all your classes at the same time? Maybe you could say you liked the class, but just didn't like when it was held (e.g., you're a morning person and you had to take a night class). I'd rather be negative about something like the schedule than the substance of the class (i.e., might not be wise to say you can stand dealing with civ pro issues).

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Jarndyce
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby Jarndyce » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:25 pm

Last semester, I thought I handled this question really well. I hated my criminal class due to the teacher, but I got an A (and the CALI) in the class. I always said the criminal class was my least favorite, which made them raise their eyebrow. I then explained that the teacher's style did not work as well for me personally, which required me to work extra hard out of class to better learn the material on my own. Even though the material didn't pique my interest as much as some other classes, my dedication caused me to do well in the class.

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kalvano
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby kalvano » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:04 pm

I doubt they care much about the class you pick.

It's a question designed to see how you handle yourself. Do you make cogent points, or do you trash the professor and get, for lack of a better term, gossipy?

It's possible to not like something and say so without being offensive about it. I bet people would be shocked at how many don't manage that, though.

Anonymous User
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:15 am

I say the one that I CALI'd, and then tell them that it exemplifies my perserverance -- that I can succeed even when I dislike the subject matter.

rynabrius
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby rynabrius » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:46 pm

Great answer re: the CALI'd course. I wish I could use that.

Regarding the 'obvious [. . .] lie' of all my classes being wonderful---I really thought all my 1L classes were wonderful! But I should insert a proviso that it would be very foolish to use unaltered boilerplate you get from TLS in interviews.

I had one other thought about this question: whatever you do, don't say legal research or legal writing. That would be the kiss of death, given that those are the major responsibilities of the job you are interviewing for.

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thinkbig
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby thinkbig » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:00 am

Jessep wrote:If it had to do with the professor's teaching style, I think it's valid to include it in your answer as long as it is not overly negative. If your professor opened up the class to a lot of discussion and you found this unhelpful in learning the material, I see no reason not to say it. Everyone learns differently though. It is valid to not enjoy a class as much because it doesn't cater to your specific learning style.

I'm not sure you really need to justify why it wouldn't be a problem at the firm, because classroom is totally different than working and to compare the two shows some naivete. If it were me, I'd also answer based upon the professor's teaching style and stay away from personal attacks on the professor (you never know if the interviewer knows them). Although, I'd probably start my answer that I really enjoyed all of my classes but if I had to pick....


dum dum dum dummmmb...

Anonymous User
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Re: Answering the "least favorite class" question at interview

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:43 am

I said LRW was my least favorite and used that as an excuse to talk about how much more I learned about legal research during my summer RA gig.




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