Behavioral questions in interviews?

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chitown825
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Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby chitown825 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:27 pm

Every non-law job I've interviewed for in the last 5 years has asked these really annoying "behavioral" interview questions. Examples:

Tell me about a time when... you failed
Tell me about a time when... you handled multiple project under a tight deadline
Tell me about a time when... you were working in a group not smaller than 4 but not larger than 12 and one member had an asthma attack and you had to assume partial leadership alongside a blonde Catholic female

Do these come up in OCI or callback interviews?

I hate them because they are usually so specific that I can't think of a time that fits the question. Anyways, I'm yet to encounter them in law school, but our OCI hasn't started yet.

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summertimechi
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby summertimechi » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:45 pm

ugh, i HATE those questions. luckily for me they were few and far between. I only had two (out of a total of 22 interviews, most from oci, a few from a career fair i did) interviews where ppl wanted these answered. my callbacks start next week so i can't speak for those just yet, but in the callbacks I had for 1L firm jobs, these were definitely not asked, so i'm hoping for more of the same :) Good luck with OCI!

Anonymous User
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:54 pm

I was warned I would get a lot of these, my career services office said that legal employers are really into behavioral questions these days. Out of 14 OCI interviews with big law firms in a big city, only one screener asked these types (Bingham). The guy I had asked me like 3 behavioral questions in a row, all about teamwork. :| Not surprised I got a Bingham ding.

I start my callbacks this week, so we'll see if there are any this week. Hope not. Even when I have a real and ready answer for them, they always sound like such bullshit.

Anyone whose gone through CBs notice any differences between screeners and CBs with regard to behavioral questions?

chitown825
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby chitown825 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:02 pm

I only had about 5 interviews for 1L jobs and none of these questions popped up. I'm just wondering if its different at 2L OCI.

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Zugzwang
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Zugzwang » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:03 pm

Got asked such a question once in all the interviews I had.

Indubitably
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Indubitably » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:08 pm

I had 24 interviews, and did not get asked a single one. I think it is a good strategy to have a couple pre-canned stories practiced, though. Just try to think of a time that you showed ambition, leadership, and solved a difficult problem under time pressure with conflicting deadlines. Then just tell it if you get asked. Even if it doesn't fit what they're asking, they aren't going to care if it's a good enough story.
Last edited by Indubitably on Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:10 pm

I've been on two of my CBs so far after about 20 screeners, and these awkward questions only came up in two screener interviews. I also conducted interviews in my prior career so I have some decent experience with interviews and I think it's pretty common knowledge that the only interviewers that ask these questions are inexperienced/awkward and not people you want to be working with.

Whenever I got the feeling that the interviewer might ask these questions (trust me, you'll know - the interview will seem ultra formal and structured), I tried to take lead of the convo and either asked questions or tried to sell myself (e.g., "here's something about me that you won't get from my resume..."). This seemed to put the awkward interviewer at ease and end in a relatively more casual conversation instead of sticking to a question sheet.

The only one of these questions that does come up more often and seems more acceptable is "what's your greatest strength/weakness?" Always prepare for that. I wouldn't stress much on anything else though.

Indubitably
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Indubitably » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:13 pm

^^ This is good advice.

Questions like "why this firm?" and "why law school?" and "what practice area are you interested in?" come up in like every single interview, so make sure you are totally polished on those. </unsolicited advice>

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Zugzwang
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Zugzwang » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The only one of these questions that does come up more often and seems more acceptable is "what's your greatest strength/weakness?" Always prepare for that. I wouldn't stress much on anything else though.

lmao i've been to at least 40 interviews in my entire life and nobody has ever asked me that stupid pointless worthless sack of shit question

chitown825
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby chitown825 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:22 pm

I just remember college where I would interview at big companies with formal internship programs (Motorola, Ford, Caterpillar, 3M, etc. etc. etc.) and they always had these formal, pre-written questions. Such awkward interviews.

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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:52 pm

They are rare. You should think about three or four different events from previous work or school experiences that you can use for any "tell me about a time when..." questions. If the interviewer asks a particular tough behavioral question, you can drag it out for a bit while you think of something. For example, "well, as you can see on my resume, I spent a couple of years working on the Hill, so I had a lot of interesting experiences...."

shmoo597
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby shmoo597 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:53 pm

The most behaviorallish question I got was: say you have 2 assignments due, to 2 different partners, at the same time. You only have enough time to complete one assignment. What do you do?

I asked and the interviewer said he was getting all kinds of answers, and that many just refused to accept the premise (I'll work twice as hard, stay up late, etc). He said the best answer was the most real and reasonable - talk to both partners, and try to work something out.

rynabrius
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby rynabrius » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:01 pm

shmoo597 wrote:The most behaviorallish question I got was: say you have 2 assignments due, to 2 different partners, at the same time. You only have enough time to complete one assignment. What do you do?

I asked and the interviewer said he was getting all kinds of answers, and that many just refused to accept the premise (I'll work twice as hard, stay up late, etc). He said the best answer was the most real and reasonable - talk to both partners, and try to work something out.


I WOULD BIFURCATE INTO TWO LAWYERS BECAUSE I AM WILLING TO BECOME AN AMOEBA FOR THE GLORY OF THE COMPANY.

chitown825
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Re: Behavioral questions in interviews?

Postby chitown825 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:06 pm

shmoo597 wrote:The most behaviorallish question I got was: say you have 2 assignments due, to 2 different partners, at the same time. You only have enough time to complete one assignment. What do you do?

I asked and the interviewer said he was getting all kinds of answers, and that many just refused to accept the premise (I'll work twice as hard, stay up late, etc). He said the best answer was the most real and reasonable - talk to both partners, and try to work something out.


Kill a partner.




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