how can i possibly ace this interview?

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Anonymous User
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how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:50 pm

I just graduated from low T14 (cum laude) but did not get a job via OCI. I sent my resume randomly to several financial service firms because I reckoned that I would need experience anyway. I got a response from a small-mid-size firm immediately even though it was a Saturday. Meeting/interview scheduled with the directors and heads that very evening....

However, I do not have a finance background and did not even take securities law as a 3L. I was quite honest to them in emails, but they said they want to talk to me anyway.

How can I possibly convince them to offer me a chance?

If I do get this job, will I have a hard time because I know virtually nothing? (about securities, M & A, compliance ... etc.)

schooner
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby schooner » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:35 pm

Here's a tip. Early in the interview, ask who is their idea of the perfect candidate. Then shape all your subsequent responses accordingly.

They already know about your academic background, so the interviewer will probably give you some clues why they are still interested in you. Play up those strengths. Good luck.

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Bronte
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:48 pm

I'm unclear to what type of position you're applying. Is it a law firm or a financial services firm? Is it a legal position or a finance position?

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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:57 pm

a legal position in a finance services firm.

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Bronte
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:a legal position in a finance services firm.


I doubt you'll really need a finance background to understand the work they do. You got the interview, so just give em hell.

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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:24 pm

I did not take securities litigation... etc.
to be honest, do you think you learned anything useful in these classes?
should I be honest to them that I did not take those classes -? I mean, they would say, if you are so interested, why didn't you take those classes?

elmagic
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby elmagic » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did not take securities litigation... etc.
to be honest, do you think you learned anything useful in these classes?
should I be honest to them that I did not take those classes -? I mean, they would say, if you are so interested, why didn't you take those classes?


Anytime you interview somewhere where you don't really have experience in the field the place that is intending on hiring you is probably aware of this, but the way you get the job is by showing how the skills you already have will translate into their particular field. For example do you have any work experience where you had to learn on the fly? That can translate into=> I'm a quick learner, don't need a lot of supervision etc. Also what did you do during your summers? If it is at all related try to play it up as much as you can. Take a look at your resume and try figure out how your experience can translate into the field and just play it up as much as you can.

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Rock-N-Roll
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:40 pm

Congrats on the interview OP.

There was a time when the world of finance was hiring accomplished people with non-finance backgrounds with the plan to train them on the job, and finishing with honors from a T-14 is nothing to sneeze at.

Obviously learn everything you can about the firm beforehand and I wouldn't mention your lack of a finance background, they know.

LoyalRebel
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby LoyalRebel » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Looks to me like they just want a smart guy. Finance is really easy to learn, I'd say someone with your credentials would be a much better candidate than someone with a finance undergrad because finance is so intuitive.

Also, many finance jobs are sales positions (selling insurance, etc), in which case you'll simply need good people skills.

schooner
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby schooner » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did not take securities litigation... etc.
to be honest, do you think you learned anything useful in these classes?
should I be honest to them that I did not take those classes -? I mean, they would say, if you are so interested, why didn't you take those classes?


Just step around the issue and BS them. You know, say something like "As a result of my legal education and previous WE, I have the strong grasp of the legal fundamentals that this position will demand 2, 5, 10 years from now. Because of the complexities of this industry, new attorneys aren't going to succeed in this position just because they took some semester-long course. I believe that long-term success in this position will depend far more on the skills and qualities that I do bring to the table, including X, Y, and Z. As for interest, I look forward to a career being immersed in these issues, which is why I am here today talking with you."

Voyager
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Voyager » Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:55 pm

You need to demonstrate that you have the core skills to succeed at the job. How do you do so? NOT by simply telling them so. You need stories which prove your ability.

You need 4-5 stories that you have memorized COLD and rehearsed over
and over again to yourself and others. How do we build a good story?

1) Think about how the firm views itself and its people. The
website is a good place to start. List out some adjectives the organization
uses to sell itself and describe its people/product.

2) From there extrapolate what the firm is looking for in its
candidates. What are the core traits it is looking for? Get ideas from the recruiting materials as well. Some
initial thoughts: team player, who can handle
stress, confident, diligent, takes the initiative, detail oriented.

3) Ensure that each of your stories is built to demonstrate as many
of the above traits as possible.

4) You need 4 stories. For a business interview you want:
-2 stories about improving an organization/solving a
problem/succeeding as a member or leader of a team (leading is good).
-Another story about working with someone who disliked you and/or your
idea and selling them on your plan.
-A fourth story discussing your biggest weakness/a time you failed (don't fuck this one up... it is
easy to... some quick thoughts... you want it to focus on an event
that happened years ago and you want to show how you have
learned/improved since then). I doubt you will get asked about the
latter.

For legal interviews you can can swap out a problem solving story for a finance-related/math-related example and another for a legal issue related example.

5) The goal in each story is to show that you are a perfect fit and that your entire life has been pointed towards that job.

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sunynp
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby sunynp » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:01 pm

Don't tell them why you aren't good for this job. It makes it look like you don't really want it. Look, no one is going to give complex securities litigation to a new grad even if they took every class. They don't care about how well you know this subject now. They care about how smart you are, how quickly you can learn, and how well you can fit into their office.

schooner
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby schooner » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:04 pm

Also, buck up, OP. You need to project confidence, not just hide your insecurities. Confidence and an articulate, smooth speaking style is hugely important. First impressions and all that.

The interviewer will mainly want to know 1) does this person have the skills that my firm needs, and 2) will this person be a good fit for the company. Who knows - maybe the firm's legal team has a hole in their collective skill set somewhere (like HR). The firm obviously thought you have the potential to fill it, otherwise you wouldn't gotten the interview.

traydeuce
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:24 pm

One thing to be wary of is that, unlike law firms, financial companies actually ask people real questions in interviews. But then, this can potentially help you, as you'll have opportunities to actually impress them with something substantive you say. I'm surprised to learn from comments above that finance is incredibly intuitive; I've never found that to be the case, but I'm probably just financially impaired.

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Bronte
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:35 pm

traydeuce wrote:One thing to be wary of is that, unlike law firms, financial companies actually ask people real questions in interviews. But then, this can potentially help you, as you'll have opportunities to actually impress them with something substantive you say. I'm surprised to learn from comments above that finance is incredibly intuitive; I've never found that to be the case, but I'm probably just financially impaired.


My comment at least was not meant to convey that finance is incredibly intuitive. It's actually extremely cryptic, and one can spend a lifetime learning the nuances of it. My point was just that in both pure finance and legal finance, much of the learning will be on the job. A lot of analysts at big investment banks are ivy league kids with degrees in English, and the same can be said of the attorneys that work on their deals.

traydeuce
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:46 pm

Bronte wrote:
traydeuce wrote:One thing to be wary of is that, unlike law firms, financial companies actually ask people real questions in interviews. But then, this can potentially help you, as you'll have opportunities to actually impress them with something substantive you say. I'm surprised to learn from comments above that finance is incredibly intuitive; I've never found that to be the case, but I'm probably just financially impaired.


My comment at least was not meant to convey that finance is incredibly intuitive. It's actually extremely cryptic, and one can spend a lifetime learning the nuances of it. My point was just that in both pure finance and legal finance, much of the learning will be on the job. A lot of analysts at big investment banks are ivy league kids with degrees in English, and the same can be said of the attorneys that work on their deals.


I guess I was referring to the person who said "finance is so intuitive"... I agree that there are probably a lot of people who don't need a finance background to understand finance, just as most good lawyers really could be doing exactly what they're doing without law school.

Anonymous User
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:50 pm

As someone in a similar position in a year from now, how did you not end up with a job as cum laude? You say you did not get something from OCI, what other stuff did you try?

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Bronte
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As someone in a similar position in a year from now, how did you not end up with a job as cum laude? You say you did not get something from OCI, what other stuff did you try?


Cum laude is usually top third right? Class of 2010 and 2011 had it the worst in terms of the economy.

Anonymous User
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:04 pm

well I did not have very good grades after my first year. But I worked very, very hard in my second and third years. I have to admit, though, taht I am a much better researcher than exam-taker. I even authored 3+ seminar papers and placed them in a higher-ranked T14's secondary journal and a "T16's" well-regarded journal.

traydeuce
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:well I did not have very good grades after my first year. But I worked very, very hard in my second and third years. I have to admit, though, taht I am a much better researcher than exam-taker. I even authored 3+ seminar papers and placed them in a higher-ranked T14's secondary journal and a "T16's" well-regarded journal.


You know, you might be a good brief-writer/motion-writer in some firm's motions practice group, appellate practice group. That's pretty impressive. Research and writing are wonderful skills to have in the right area of the law. Of course, it'd be tough to land in the right spot if you only graduated in the top third of your class.

Anonymous User
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:27 pm

hmmm :roll:
I was in the top 25% ... it does not matter really.... I was not great enough to be in the top 10%
I do not like our securities/corporate law professors ... surprisingly though, it was the barbri lecturer who made me feel slightly interested in business law/corporations... etc.

I guess/hope I will probably do "ok" finally and things will fall into places. But I was just under so much stress the earlier on this year.

Voyager
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Re: how can i possibly ace this interview?

Postby Voyager » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:hmmm :roll:
I was in the top 25% ... it does not matter really.... I was not great enough to be in the top 10%
I do not like our securities/corporate law professors ... surprisingly though, it was the barbri lecturer who made me feel slightly interested in business law/corporations... etc.

I guess/hope I will probably do "ok" finally and things will fall into places. But I was just under so much stress the earlier on this year.


So I again reiterate the importance of preparation. Do not just go in there cold. Treat this like the last inteview you will ever have. See my post above. If they invited you in, you are under serious consideration. You can do it. Good luck!




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