Checking to see reject reason

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Anonymous User
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Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:48 pm

I was declined at the initial interview stage for a big,aw firm that I thought I was a good fit at - i.e. one of the partners had emailed me and told me a couple times how impressed he was with me, etc. I interviewed with a different partner and thought it went well, but received a form reject the next week. Is it appropriate to contact first partner (one who liked me) to get reasons for rejection. If nothing else, I'm actually curious and I wonder if I'm doing something really inappropriate in my interviews which is why I might be doing so poorly.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:50 pm

I was wondering the same thing about firms that I really seemed to click with. I accepted an offer this week at a big firm in a primary market, so I obviously am not going to find out now the reasons for some rejections. But there was definitely a time where I was like you and thought about the idea that I might be doing or saying something that was harming me.

The probable answer? It's a tight job market, particularly in primary markets, and firms are being forced to make microdistinctions. I've been told that sometimes it even comes down to undergrad institution and/or accomplishments.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was wondering the same thing about firms that I really seemed to click with. I accepted an offer this week at a big firm in a primary market, so I obviously am not going to find out now the reasons for some rejections. But there was definitely a time where I was like you and thought about the idea that I might be doing or saying something that was harming me.

The probable answer? It's a tight job market, particularly in primary markets, and firms are being forced to make microdistinctions. I've been told that sometimes it even comes down to undergrad institution and/or accomplishments.
But does it make sense to ask? I mean my few callbacks are over at this point but I may have some additional interviews coming up through alternative sources. Really worried I am coming across as a boor in my interviews.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:55 pm

I personally think it's a lost cause.

No one is going to say, "Well, you answered Question X this way." Even if there was something, my guess is they are just going to spout cliches about it being a tight market, that they interview a lot of qualified candidates, etc., etc.

Basically the law firm version of, "It's not you, it's me."

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've been told that sometimes it even comes down to undergrad institution and/or accomplishments.

I think that (the undergrad institution and grades) is basically what it comes down to in this market. If you're coming from a "top law school," everyone is presumably smart. What firms care about, just as much as your job performance, is how you look to clients. If a candidate A and B has similar grades from similar schools but A is from HYPS and the other is not, the firm is almost always going to pick A.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:02 pm

I doubt you could get an honest answer from an employer as to why they chose someone else over you, especially since such an answer could form the basis of an employment discrimination suit (whether it has merit or not). There's probably a natural instinct to give "honest enough" but generalized answers that aren't actually helpful in order to avoid such liability.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:16 pm

vanwinkle wrote:I doubt you could get an honest answer from an employer as to why they chose someone else over you, especially since such an answer could form the basis of an employment discrimination suit (whether it has merit or not). There's probably a natural instinct to give "honest enough" but generalized answers that aren't actually helpful in order to avoid such liability.


This. In fact, in my experience for jobs I applied to pre-law school it's actually more opaque than this. Firms will likely say something to the tune of "we appreciate your concern but it's firm policy not to discuss such matters with applicants." They won't even give you the generalist-but-unhelpful answer.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've been told that sometimes it even comes down to undergrad institution and/or accomplishments.

I think that (the undergrad institution and grades) is basically what it comes down to in this market. If you're coming from a "top law school," everyone is presumably smart. What firms care about, just as much as your job performance, is how you look to clients. If a candidate A and B has similar grades from similar schools but A is from HYPS and the other is not, the firm is almost always going to pick A.


As the person who conjectured that, I'm glad to hear someone doesn't think it's outlandish - or excuse-making.

I was actually talking to a friend who just left biglaw for midlaw the other day. She said that she used to interview candidates at her biglaw firm in Chicago at call backs, and her evaluation sheet included several categories rated 1 to 5. One of them was "Undergraduate School."

ITE, if you lose even a couple points on something like that, say you went to an unknown UG or a lower-ranked state school, that small distinction between candidates can be the difference. My guess is that it often is.

270910
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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby 270910 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:00 pm

It's possible there wasn't a reason why you were rejected. The way these interviews work, firms will callback so few people that they pick their favorites. You can do everything right and be just a hair too far down the list of people who did everything right.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:49 pm

I wouldn't suggest this at the screening interview stage - 20 minutes with one or two people will probably not yield a substantive impression of your're professional potential/personality fit for the firm. lol, duh.

On the other hand, after the callback stage is a different story. After you've met with a group of people within the firm/practice area/whatever the designation, they will (presumably, this includes maybe one or two of the people that you've met with, along with the rest of the hiring committee and the recruiting department) have held a meeting to discuss each interviewer's evaluation sheet. At that time, they'll probably hash out whether you're a good fit/worth an offer. If you're offered, yay. If you're rejected, however, then I do think it could help to send a nice, brief email (the key here is brevity, however) asking if there were any "glaring" issues/mannerisms/whatever that dun gotz u dinged. The worst that could happen is (1) "we don't usually do that," or (2) radio silence.

Otherwise, you might just get a candid, thoughtful email explaining some internal aspects of the process and the deliberations as they pertained to your candidacy. I mean, the people on the hiring committee are people, too, and if you feel like you had a good impression/rapport with someone, they might just be willing to divulge some of the bright-line issues that surrounded your rejection.

Full disclosure - I can confirm these results, and people are generally quite nice about it. hth, and GL snaggin an offer, OP.

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Re: Checking to see reject reason

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:51 pm

Ask your career services office if they can contact the firm for you. Our's offered to do this so you can know what not to do on future interviews, so yours might as well. However, they said more often than not, they said the answer was "they did nothing wrong, there are just too many qualified people." Still, can't hurt to ask your career services folks.




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