V15 Partner/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

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jbagelboy
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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:18 am

itbdvorm wrote:A few thoughts in no particular order:

1) If you are below our grade cut there are a number of circumstances where we may be forced to interview you. Maybe lottery, maybe partial lottery/pre-select, etc. You know how the day is rough on your end? It's rough on our end too. Why should either of us waste our time? Or even if you are above our grade cut, maybe we have 6 potential callbacks to give out and we know within the first five minutes that you're not going to make it based upon others with whom we've already met. What's the point? You're not going to change my mind.



No disrespect intended whatsoever - I'm just curious and you are knowledgeable - but If you're at a "V15", doesn't that imply a pretty large class size? (Unless this is like Boies or Wachtell or another idiosyncratic hiring pattern, but you seem to be targeting a more mainstream audience with your advice). So at your primary feeder schools, aren't we talking more like 60-100 CB's? Or do you mean just 6 on your schedule of like 13-15 interviews in one day?

Also, do you really form your complete impressions based on the first five minutes of the interview? I understand this time is crucial, but realistically you are evaluating past interviewees based on present performance and vise versa. Still, this seems crude (could be both crude and true).

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:49 am

jbagelboy wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:A few thoughts in no particular order:

1) If you are below our grade cut there are a number of circumstances where we may be forced to interview you. Maybe lottery, maybe partial lottery/pre-select, etc. You know how the day is rough on your end? It's rough on our end too. Why should either of us waste our time? Or even if you are above our grade cut, maybe we have 6 potential callbacks to give out and we know within the first five minutes that you're not going to make it based upon others with whom we've already met. What's the point? You're not going to change my mind.



No disrespect intended whatsoever - I'm just curious and you are knowledgeable - but If you're at a "V15", doesn't that imply a pretty large class size? (Unless this is like Boies or Wachtell or another idiosyncratic hiring pattern, but you seem to be targeting a more mainstream audience with your advice). So at your primary feeder schools, aren't we talking more like 60-100 CB's? Or do you mean just 6 on your schedule of like 13-15 interviews in one day?

Also, do you really form your complete impressions based on the first five minutes of the interview? I understand this time is crucial, but realistically you are evaluating past interviewees based on present performance and vise versa. Still, this seems crude (could be both crude and true).

[Different interviewer than the one that made the assertion, but I generally agree]

First, V15 does not imply a large class size. The designation refers to the firm as a whole. Callbacks/interviews are generally decided office-by-office (at least they are at my firm and I believe that's pretty standard). So, while the NY office may be looking for a class of ~25, the SF office may be looking for a class of 2. (Estimates of actual targets I heard bantied about in the hospitality suite over lunch. And no I won't say what firm...).

So, if you take it to the extreme of the class of 2, the partner conducting the interviews expected to make at most one call-back offer at the T10 where we interviewed--he still had 13 other T-14s to visit plus some other solid regional schools in the area. Grades or no grades it was going to take someone objectively special (not a subjective special snowflake) to pry a callback from that guy.

I interviewed for a larger office within the firm. But even so, out of our 20 interviews (plus whatever gets added on the side from the hospitality suite), we knew in the back of our heads we would only be able to call back 3 to 5. We didn't know in the first 5 minutes whether you would get a call back-- but I'd say in most cases we knew in 5 minutes that you would NOT get a call back. After each interview we gave a rough assessment of placement. We placed packets into two piles: Definite No and Maybe. We then discussed roughly where the person stacked relative to those in the Maybe pile. Our office doesn't have a grade cutoff-- but you'd be crazy to think that grades didn't matter. Remember--> the day after we conduct interviews, we meet with the hiring partner and have to justify who we are going to call back. We would have to have great justification to take someone from the bottom 1/3 of the class and generally a 20 minute interview does not present sufficient justification.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:A few thoughts in no particular order:

1) If you are below our grade cut there are a number of circumstances where we may be forced to interview you. Maybe lottery, maybe partial lottery/pre-select, etc. You know how the day is rough on your end? It's rough on our end too. Why should either of us waste our time? Or even if you are above our grade cut, maybe we have 6 potential callbacks to give out and we know within the first five minutes that you're not going to make it based upon others with whom we've already met. What's the point? You're not going to change my mind.



No disrespect intended whatsoever - I'm just curious and you are knowledgeable - but If you're at a "V15", doesn't that imply a pretty large class size? (Unless this is like Boies or Wachtell or another idiosyncratic hiring pattern, but you seem to be targeting a more mainstream audience with your advice). So at your primary feeder schools, aren't we talking more like 60-100 CB's? Or do you mean just 6 on your schedule of like 13-15 interviews in one day?

Also, do you really form your complete impressions based on the first five minutes of the interview? I understand this time is crucial, but realistically you are evaluating past interviewees based on present performance and vise versa. Still, this seems crude (could be both crude and true).

[Different interviewer than the one that made the assertion, but I generally agree]

First, V15 does not imply a large class size. The designation refers to the firm as a whole. Callbacks/interviews are generally decided office-by-office (at least they are at my firm and I believe that's pretty standard). So, while the NY office may be looking for a class of ~25, the SF office may be looking for a class of 2. (Estimates of actual targets I heard bantied about in the hospitality suite over lunch. And no I won't say what firm...).

So, if you take it to the extreme of the class of 2, the partner conducting the interviews expected to make at most one call-back offer at the T10 where we interviewed--he still had 13 other T-14s to visit plus some other solid regional schools in the area. Grades or no grades it was going to take someone objectively special (not a subjective special snowflake) to pry a callback from that guy.

I interviewed for a larger office within the firm. But even so, out of our 20 interviews (plus whatever gets added on the side from the hospitality suite), we knew in the back of our heads we would only be able to call back 3 to 5. We didn't know in the first 5 minutes whether you would get a call back-- but I'd say in most cases we knew in 5 minutes that you would NOT get a call back. After each interview we gave a rough assessment of placement. We placed packets into two piles: Definite No and Maybe. We then discussed roughly where the person stacked relative to those in the Maybe pile. Our office doesn't have a grade cutoff-- but you'd be crazy to think that grades didn't matter. Remember--> the day after we conduct interviews, we meet with the hiring partner and have to justify who we are going to call back. We would have to have great justification to take someone from the bottom 1/3 of the class and generally a 20 minute interview does not present sufficient justification.


This is exactly right. Especially at schools where we can't pre-select, we see tons of students who have zero chance due to being (a) below our grade cut, (b) completely wrong for us or (c) other reasons. We often have more than one schedule going and are pretty selective, so we can have at least a general idea of the range of possibilities. If our recruiters have told us we have a total of 30 callback slots from a school for an office and we have 5 schedules of people interested in that office (for example), then each person has roughly six available callbacks to give (+/-).

If our grade cut is 3.5, I have 6 callbacks to give, and my morning has included 7 kids with 3.8+s who are perfect for us and ask brilliant questions, and you seem "OK" in my 2:30 PM interview with a 3.51, you're not going to have a real shot. Is this a realistic/frequent occurrence? Of course not. But variations happen.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby First Offense » Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:25 pm

During a callback, is it appropriate to ask how often an associate is required to travel? It's not a negative thing for me, but I'm wondering if it could come off as it sounding like it's a negative aspect.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:10 pm

How likely is it to get an offer after being placed on hold

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:16 pm

First Offense wrote:During a callback, is it appropriate to ask how often an associate is required to travel? It's not a negative thing for me, but I'm wondering if it could come off as it sounding like it's a negative aspect.


I don't think it's a bad question, but it is useless. The reason it's useless is that you'll get such a variation in answers that it won't be revealing of anything. If you're genuinely curious, ask OP how much he travels. As an associate, I haven't had to travel once for my job, and I'm a midlevel. However, I knew/know associates at my former firm and current firm who've had to travel a lot. Locations? Texas, Illinois, the UK, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Iowa, and more. It just really depends on your practice and what kind of cases and deals you're on.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby First Offense » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:21 pm

zweitbester wrote:
First Offense wrote:During a callback, is it appropriate to ask how often an associate is required to travel? It's not a negative thing for me, but I'm wondering if it could come off as it sounding like it's a negative aspect.


I don't think it's a bad question, but it is useless. The reason it's useless is that you'll get such a variation in answers that it won't be revealing of anything. If you're genuinely curious, ask OP how much he travels. As an associate, I haven't had to travel once for my job, and I'm a midlevel. However, I knew/know associates at my former firm and current firm who've had to travel a lot. Locations? Texas, Illinois, the UK, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Iowa, and more. It just really depends on your practice and what kind of cases and deals you're on.

The firm I'm curious about it's probably more relevant than most. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't one of those questions that signals anything beyond the question itself.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:02 pm

First Offense wrote:
zweitbester wrote:
First Offense wrote:During a callback, is it appropriate to ask how often an associate is required to travel? It's not a negative thing for me, but I'm wondering if it could come off as it sounding like it's a negative aspect.


I don't think it's a bad question, but it is useless. The reason it's useless is that you'll get such a variation in answers that it won't be revealing of anything. If you're genuinely curious, ask OP how much he travels. As an associate, I haven't had to travel once for my job, and I'm a midlevel. However, I knew/know associates at my former firm and current firm who've had to travel a lot. Locations? Texas, Illinois, the UK, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Iowa, and more. It just really depends on your practice and what kind of cases and deals you're on.

The firm I'm curious about it's probably more relevant than most. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't one of those questions that signals anything beyond the question itself.


Zweitbester's formulation is still better.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:20 pm

Is it poor form to respond to a rejection email for a top choice by saying something along the lines of "I'm still interested...if anything changes and you need to hire more people, contact me"?

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it poor form to respond to a rejection email for a top choice by saying something along the lines of "I'm still interested...if anything changes and you need to hire more people, contact me"?


Poor form? Not really. Might not do anything for you but always worth a flier.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:49 am

Is there a waitlist post screener of candidates who you don't callback immediately, but also don't reject. Been in limbo with some firms for a few weeks. Others were quick to either reject or give me a CB.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:54 am

Is it a bad sign when you had a screener over a week ago and heard nothing, and someone you know had one a couple days after and received an offer the next day? Does that mean a ding is almost certainly coming, or should I still have a shred of hope?

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it a bad sign when you had a screener over a week ago and heard nothing, and someone you know had one a couple days after and received an offer the next day? Does that mean a ding is almost certainly coming, or should I still have a shred of hope?


If someone received a summer offer from a screener at a vault firm, you weren't competing in the same arena as them anyway

But yes if others have received callback invites and you haven't, in my experience that means you're fucked - sorry

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby kcdc1 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:52 pm

my morning has included 7 kids with 3.8+s who are perfect for us and ask brilliant questions

It kills me that the primary measuring stick by which interviewees are measured is the quality of questions they ask. I have now been through approximately fifty 20-30 minute interviews, and quite literally, the most difficult question I've been asked was "What movie character do you most identify with?" It's hard for me to understand why firms do not place more emphasis on checking the intellect and problem-solving ability of candidates beyond comparing their GPA against a cut-off line. Perhaps firms are just comfortable hiring in bulk and firing those that can't keep up, but wouldn't it be more efficient to hire less of those that can't?

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:04 pm

kcdc1 wrote:
my morning has included 7 kids with 3.8+s who are perfect for us and ask brilliant questions

It kills me that the primary measuring stick by which interviewees are measured is the quality of questions they ask. I have now been through approximately fifty 20-30 minute interviews, and quite literally, the most difficult question I've been asked was "What movie character do you most identify with?" It's hard for me to understand why firms do not place more emphasis on checking the intellect and problem-solving ability of candidates beyond comparing their GPA against a cut-off line. Perhaps firms are just comfortable hiring in bulk and firing those that can't keep up, but wouldn't it be more efficient to hire less of those that can't?


2L caveat - if this is just for OP/other interviewers to offer thoughts and advice, mods let me know and I'll delete this.

Do you have good grades? In my limited experience, just having been through OCI (as someone who also had good grades) and having talked to a bunch of people at my school across the grade spectrum, is that interviewees on LR/with high GPAs tended to get more softballs while others were drilled a bit more. But everyone was surprised at how unsubstantial the questions were across the board. Maybe this is something OP can address, whether grades affect the type of questions asked.

The other thing with this is that firms are competing for candidates almost as much as we're competing for spots. There's incentives on both sides to just make the interview "fun". So maybe also the firms that drill people get more of the intense people that are, you know, a pure joy to work with. "Intellect and problem-solving ability" aren't everything.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:
my morning has included 7 kids with 3.8+s who are perfect for us and ask brilliant questions

It kills me that the primary measuring stick by which interviewees are measured is the quality of questions they ask. I have now been through approximately fifty 20-30 minute interviews, and quite literally, the most difficult question I've been asked was "What movie character do you most identify with?" It's hard for me to understand why firms do not place more emphasis on checking the intellect and problem-solving ability of candidates beyond comparing their GPA against a cut-off line. Perhaps firms are just comfortable hiring in bulk and firing those that can't keep up, but wouldn't it be more efficient to hire less of those that can't?


2L caveat - if this is just for OP/other interviewers to offer thoughts and advice, mods let me know and I'll delete this.

Do you have good grades? In my limited experience, just having been through OCI (as someone who also had good grades) and having talked to a bunch of people at my school across the grade spectrum, is that interviewees on LR/with high GPAs tended to get more softballs while others were drilled a bit more. But everyone was surprised at how unsubstantial the questions were across the board. Maybe this is something OP can address, whether grades affect the type of questions asked.

The other thing with this is that firms are competing for candidates almost as much as we're competing for spots. There's incentives on both sides to just make the interview "fun". So maybe also the firms that drill people get more of the intense people that are, you know, a pure joy to work with. "Intellect and problem-solving ability" aren't everything.


Would love to hear what sorts of questions we can ask to figure out whether or not someone's going to be a good associate. Any suggestions would be interesting...maybe

But the reality is that I don't have time/energy to do a full mental probe of every OCI screener. All I can do is assess whether your grades are good enough (proxy for intellectual capabilities) and you've prepared (proxy for hard-working). And, of course, whether I think I'd like having you around.

If you can't wow your interviewer that's on you, not on them.

Additional note - sometimes I ask seemingly softball questions while I'm actually being highly critical internally. Just because you think I'm a nice guy doesn't mean I am. Softball questions aren't your chance for softball answers - they're your opportuniy to hit it out of the park

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:55 pm

What are good questions to ask on a callback? I feel like I've done well so far in screeners just curious if you think there are good questions that keep the conversation going, provide useful info to the interviewee or at least don't make you roll your eyes. Thanks a lot.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are good questions to ask on a callback? I feel like I've done well so far in screeners just curious if you think there are good questions that keep the conversation going, provide useful info to the interviewee or at least don't make you roll your eyes. Thanks a lot.


I interviewed with a partner recently on a callback at a V10 - when I asked him about his current deals and followed up by asking for examples of things his junior associates were doing for him on those deals, he scoffed and said "Um, everything." and then was silent. I'm not saying it was a great question (no shit, they're doing due diligence and possibly drafting some ancillary documents) but that response immediately killed any interest I had in the firm. Needless to say, though, I could use some tips on good callback questions to ask...

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are good questions to ask on a callback? I feel like I've done well so far in screeners just curious if you think there are good questions that keep the conversation going, provide useful info to the interviewee or at least don't make you roll your eyes. Thanks a lot.


I interviewed with a partner recently on a callback at a V10 - when I asked him about his current deals and followed up by asking for examples of things his junior associates were doing for him on those deals, he scoffed and said "Um, everything." and then was silent. I'm not saying it was a great question (no shit, they're doing due diligence and possibly drafting some ancillary documents) but that response immediately killed any interest I had in the firm. Needless to say, though, I could use some tips on good callback questions to ask...


i think these are pretty fair questions. I often asked about current interesting work and then lead onto how juniors were involved. Idk. Sounds like the guy wasn't very conversational to begin with.

then again while I got plenty of callback action I evidently tanked a lot of CB's despite great conversations so maybe steer clear of my advise. but I can't help but feel like this was more random chance than anything else since I snagged more selective firms and shit the bed on others

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:47 pm

what's your experience like at CBs when you're interviewing students from schools that usually don't go to your firm? ie I'm from USC, will be exact with that, so for the most part barely any of us go to NY. I've gone 0 for 3 on cbs there so far.. Honestly I've felt most of them went well, and they weren't V10s, V30 the highest. do you judge like hardcore for such people or something? Do I really have to sell myself for these or can I still keep it conversational? I've tried the latter but it seems to not be working...

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby maxiguess » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:56 pm

So I made Law Review and one of the big firms threw members a post-OCI party at their office. The partners at this firm asked why I hadn't applied, and when I told them their cutoff was above my gpa they said I should do it anyways. Next day I applied and was given a screener at the firm with a young associate who is a member of the hiring committee. By reputation he was their hardest interviewer, but it seemed like a pretty normal interview to me. He just asked me real questions and wasn't trying to flatter me.
Anyways, by the end of the interview he was saying he thought I was great, perfect for the firm, and that he was going to go recommend me for a cb immediately, etc...
Flash forward one week and I get my Dear John letter. Can't help but be a bit confused (unless the associate was just a sadist). Was there ever a chance? Why waste both our time?

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:58 am

maxiguess wrote:So I made Law Review and one of the big firms threw members a post-OCI party at their office. The partners at this firm asked why I hadn't applied, and when I told them their cutoff was above my gpa they said I should do it anyways. Next day I applied and was given a screener at the firm with a young associate who is a member of the hiring committee. By reputation he was their hardest interviewer, but it seemed like a pretty normal interview to me. He just asked me real questions and wasn't trying to flatter me.
Anyways, by the end of the interview he was saying he thought I was great, perfect for the firm, and that he was going to go recommend me for a cb immediately, etc...
Flash forward one week and I get my Dear John letter. Can't help but be a bit confused (unless the associate was just a sadist). Was there ever a chance? Why waste both our time?


Honestly I have been given just short of binding oral offer agreements from partners after incredible CB interviews that did not materialize into actual offers. No one person, or even one cadre of interviewers for that matter, has full control over the decision. The randomness is as endemic to the process as any other element. Certainly even if this associate was honest with you, they would have no idea how you fares relative to your interview type within your grade range within your school tier within the market across the firm

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:40 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are good questions to ask on a callback? I feel like I've done well so far in screeners just curious if you think there are good questions that keep the conversation going, provide useful info to the interviewee or at least don't make you roll your eyes. Thanks a lot.


I interviewed with a partner recently on a callback at a V10 - when I asked him about his current deals and followed up by asking for examples of things his junior associates were doing for him on those deals, he scoffed and said "Um, everything." and then was silent. I'm not saying it was a great question (no shit, they're doing due diligence and possibly drafting some ancillary documents) but that response immediately killed any interest I had in the firm. Needless to say, though, I could use some tips on good callback questions to ask...


i think these are pretty fair questions. I often asked about current interesting work and then lead onto how juniors were involved. Idk. Sounds like the guy wasn't very conversational to begin with.

then again while I got plenty of callback action I evidently tanked a lot of CB's despite great conversations so maybe steer clear of my advise. but I can't help but feel like this was more random chance than anything else since I snagged more selective firms and shit the bed on others


Nah, I agree with this. What are you working on, what do people do, etc., these are all good qs

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:what's your experience like at CBs when you're interviewing students from schools that usually don't go to your firm? ie I'm from USC, will be exact with that, so for the most part barely any of us go to NY. I've gone 0 for 3 on cbs there so far.. Honestly I've felt most of them went well, and they weren't V10s, V30 the highest. do you judge like hardcore for such people or something? Do I really have to sell myself for these or can I still keep it conversational? I've tried the latter but it seems to not be working...


Probably worth convincing why NYC. But otherwise seems just like any other.

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Re: V15 Senior Associate/OCI Interviewer Answering Questions...

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:43 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
maxiguess wrote:So I made Law Review and one of the big firms threw members a post-OCI party at their office. The partners at this firm asked why I hadn't applied, and when I told them their cutoff was above my gpa they said I should do it anyways. Next day I applied and was given a screener at the firm with a young associate who is a member of the hiring committee. By reputation he was their hardest interviewer, but it seemed like a pretty normal interview to me. He just asked me real questions and wasn't trying to flatter me.
Anyways, by the end of the interview he was saying he thought I was great, perfect for the firm, and that he was going to go recommend me for a cb immediately, etc...
Flash forward one week and I get my Dear John letter. Can't help but be a bit confused (unless the associate was just a sadist). Was there ever a chance? Why waste both our time?


Honestly I have been given just short of binding oral offer agreements from partners after incredible CB interviews that did not materialize into actual offers. No one person, or even one cadre of interviewers for that matter, has full control over the decision. The randomness is as endemic to the process as any other element. Certainly even if this associate was honest with you, they would have no idea how you fares relative to your interview type within your grade range within your school tier within the market across the firm


Sounds right. It's weird - you never know.




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