How do you stop giving canned answers...

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby sebastian0622 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:10 pm

That's a very cute response, anon OP. But last I checked, you aren't paying me. If you want to hear that the whole interview system is contrived, the need to answer the same questions from similar firms with supposedly exciting and distinct answers is asinine, and that it is difficult to sound excited over boring stuff, then fine. Everyone agrees. But that's not going to help you get a job.

If it suits you, take the advice to say more "ums," rehearse less, and work in more personal stories and see how well it serves you. Nobody is advising you to see a shrink; if you think introspection and effort to improve certain areas necessitates going to a shrink, you're beyond help on a message board. Your posting is one strawman after another, so I don't know exactly what you really expected to hear. Say more "ums," that's it. Keep doing the same thing, keep getting the same results, and keep getting angry at people who try to help by insisting they are not trying to help. It's obvious to me at this point you just wanted to vent, not seek substantive advice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:40 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:That's a very cute response, anon OP. But last I checked, you aren't paying me. If you want to hear that the whole interview system is contrived, the need to answer the same questions from similar firms with supposedly exciting and distinct answers is asinine, and that it is difficult to sound excited over boring stuff, then fine. Everyone agrees. But that's not going to help you get a job.

If it suits you, take the advice to say more "ums," rehearse less, and work in more personal stories and see how well it serves you. Nobody is advising you to see a shrink; if you think introspection and effort to improve certain areas necessitates going to a shrink, you're beyond help on a message board. Your posting is one strawman after another, so I don't know exactly what you really expected to hear. Say more "ums," that's it. Keep doing the same thing, keep getting the same results, and keep getting angry at people who try to help by insisting they are not trying to help. It's obvious to me at this point you just wanted to vent, not seek substantive advice.


And I can draw distinctions between the interviews and the client situations you used- your analogy was useless (actually the analogy was very good at insulting me and implying I wasn't "cut out" for this profession based on two comments I made on a message board). And I've gotten some very good advice ITT, just not from you. If you can't see why a) you actually gave no advice at all, b) you came off as rude and insulting, you have a serious problem that you might want to look into. You may think you have some insight into human interaction I don't, but from the way you've conducted yourself ITT you may want to look in the mirror.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby sebastian0622 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:45 pm

Well, if we can act like we're done exchanging insults for a bit...I certainly had and do have advice, but it was necessary for you to accept (or at least be open to the possibility) that there may be some deeper issues here than just missing out on one or two basic interview tactics. If you were amenable to receiving any of that advice, we could have had that discussion. Unfortunately, were weren't able to, and it would probably be a waste of time for me to introduce them now, as you wouldn't give them any credibility anyway.

If you think all advice or criticism is going to presented to you euphemistically throughout your career, you've got another thing comin'.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:22 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:Well, if we can act like we're done exchanging insults for a bit...I certainly had and do have advice, but it was necessary for you to accept (or at least be open to the possibility) that there may be some deeper issues here than just missing out on one or two basic interview tactics. If you were amenable to receiving any of that advice, we could have had that discussion. Unfortunately, were weren't able to, and it would probably be a waste of time for me to introduce them now, as you wouldn't give them any credibility anyway.

If you think all advice or criticism is going to presented to you euphemistically throughout your career, you've got another thing comin'.


I would accept any specific advice you care to offer, and if I think it doesn't apply I'm not going to pick it apart on this forum like I'm picking apart your statements right now. However, a bunch of assumptions about my social skills, with the implication that I might not be cut out for this profession (or seemingly for civilized life in general), and then an invitation to be more "introspective," doesn't count as advice. That's just uninformed criticism, and then the generalizing about work experience and "only in law school," makes it seem like a rant.

Other posters took what I said at face value (a recruiter told me some of my answers sounded canned) and tried to give specific advice to that situation. If you have any stories about how you approach an interview that worked for you I'd love to hear them. Or (and take it from someone who has represented clients before, this is a really good skill to have) you could ask some questions and try to get more information that would help you give advice.

TheFriendlyBarber
Posts: 258
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:13 am

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:29 pm

sebastian0622 is a paragon of sociability.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby sebastian0622 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:34 pm

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:sebastian0622 is a paragon of sociability.


What can I say? I'm a lot of fun at parties!

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: How do you stop giving canned answers...

Postby sebastian0622 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:Well, if we can act like we're done exchanging insults for a bit...I certainly had and do have advice, but it was necessary for you to accept (or at least be open to the possibility) that there may be some deeper issues here than just missing out on one or two basic interview tactics. If you were amenable to receiving any of that advice, we could have had that discussion. Unfortunately, were weren't able to, and it would probably be a waste of time for me to introduce them now, as you wouldn't give them any credibility anyway.

If you think all advice or criticism is going to presented to you euphemistically throughout your career, you've got another thing comin'.


I would accept any specific advice you care to offer, and if I think it doesn't apply I'm not going to pick it apart on this forum like I'm picking apart your statements right now. However, a bunch of assumptions about my social skills, with the implication that I might not be cut out for this profession (or seemingly for civilized life in general), and then an invitation to be more "introspective," doesn't count as advice. That's just uninformed criticism, and then the generalizing about work experience and "only in law school," makes it seem like a rant.

Other posters took what I said at face value (a recruiter told me some of my answers sounded canned) and tried to give specific advice to that situation. If you have any stories about how you approach an interview that worked for you I'd love to hear them. Or (and take it from someone who has represented clients before, this is a really good skill to have) you could ask some questions and try to get more information that would help you give advice.


If I were in your position, the first thing I would do would be to have some candid conversations with close people who I trust. Just bring up that you're having a hard time in interviews carrying on conversations that flow normally. I would try to get honest feedback on whether I'm awkward in general--in all or most social settings--or whether this is unique to interviewing.

If it's just something that happens in interviewing, the question is why? Is it because there is pressure or stress? Is it because the people are strangers? Is it because you have a really, really hard time being even the slightest bit dishonest or disingenuous? You have to get answers to questions like this to find out your next move. This would be a good time to talk to anyone you know in fields like law and sales and ask them how they "sell" themselves to strangers. Ask them how they can either misrepresent themselves or otherwise successfully mislead the other party about their level of interest and enthusiasm (because for all the ways we can discuss interviewing, these tactics are certainly present). I feel like talking to people who know you well is the best way to get specific, good, and tailored advice. There are also books on selling, negotiating, networking, etc. that you could read and learn from the parts that may apply to you. The point is that selling and negotiating are enormously complex fields, so I'm not sure you're going to get the specific advice you seek here, just more general advice and shots in the dark. I guess that's the thesis of my original post: that you won't find what you seek ITT, but you may get on the right path if you accept it might be something that is more difficult to solve.

If having normal conversations is something that is an issue more generally for you, this becomes even more difficult and complex. You would want to do everything in the previous paragraph but also take a look at your overall social life. Do you have enough face-to-face interaction with other people? With strangers? Within pressure situations? How, in general, do you handle conflict or confrontation or interrogation? Obviously if you identify a deficiency in this area you would need to seek out and schedule more social situations and try to get a better balance in your life. You would have to ask yourself whether you are a person who sees every relationship as instrumental, every interaction as a check in the box or a means to an end. This is common with law students, and when that comes out in interviews, it is fatal to job prospects. You have to approach these interactions as a more full and rich experience, or at least successfully misrepresent that such is your approach. In other words you have to be (or be able to sell that) you're interested in the interviewers, in your conversation with them, and of course the law firm itself, not that you just want them to like you so you can get a job.

Also, are you selling yourself or are you selling what you think the firm wants you to be? Some of the best advice I've seen on TLS (in a thread I unfortunately can't identify) is to be sure you're selling yourself. This means personalizing your answers, as mentioned here, but it's also broader and more theoretical than that. It is more than any single action or rhetorical tactic. It's a mindset that you are comfortable with yourself, you have accepted your strengths / weaknesses / interests, and that you're willing to go out on a limb as yourself and face rejection. Besides, you don't want to get a job because an interviewer liked somebody who you aren't. Lawyers are professionals at identifying dishonesty and misrepresentation, so you have to limit what you misrepresent and be really good at the select things you may decide to misrepresent.

The main thing is that you have to invite criticism from people who interact with you. You can go to the CSO, but if they think you won't handle criticism well, they are unlikely to tell you all you need to hear. Really seem open to criticism and press them on things. Ask specific questions that invite criticism (to use an obvious example: "Do I have any particular verbal or physical habits that are distracting?") instead of general questions like "What am I doing wrong?" or "What can I do better?" or "Why don't interviewers like me?"

I know this is all a bit more than most others have posted. This is NOT psychoanalysis, as I'm not suggesting specific deficiencies. I'm just saying that your first post was a red flag to me that there might be some deeper communication problems because of the facts, circumstances, and emotions present. If you go through a deeper analysis, you WILL find ways to improve your communication even if it's overkill. If you just try to take one-off suggestions from random posters on a message board, you'll be going through an unpredictable trial and error process indefinitely. The stakes are high, so I think your willingness to put in thought and effort to this should be high as well. If it turns out you were just a bit unlucky, the only thing you will be "out" is some time invested in some important skills.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.