I suck at interviewing

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Anonymous User
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I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:14 pm

1L here. I just blew an interview with a firm I really want to work for. Really bummed.

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Ludo!
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Ludo! » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:18 pm

What happened? How do you know you blew it?

Metaread
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Metaread » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:19 pm

That sucks, OP, but what can you do? The only way out is to get better at interviewing, and keep applying. Also, sign up for lots and lots of practice interviews. You may already have known all this though.

Note that there's some luck as far as how well you "mesh" with your interviewer. If they have a similar background or interest or cause they are interested in to you, you'll find the interview to be friendly and insightful. If not, you may find it painful. I've had interviews which were friendly, and others which were painful. I got denied for the ones I found painful, and callbacks from those firms/etc for which the interviews were friendly.

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superhands
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby superhands » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:31 pm

Have you considered asking them why they didn't accept you for the position? I haven't tried this myself because I can't overcome the urge to tell the interviewer to piss off, but I can see how some feedback on your interviewing skills would be helpful.

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Pato_09
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Pato_09 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:39 pm

Interviewing is like anything else. Practice makes perfect. I thought the same as you as a 1L; I thought I was a bad interviewee. I read books about interviewing and did many mock interviews, and did very well at OCI. Keep practicing.

Anonymous User
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:42 pm

They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.

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Ludo!
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Ludo! » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:58 pm

That's why it's good to practice interviewing. You should have answers ready to go for common questions. What you did or didn't like about law school is an extremely common question to get asked. You shouldn't have to think about an answer for that. (I would always answer that I didn't like how litigation-focused 1l was and since I knew I wanted to go into transactional law I'd wished there was a transactional equivalent of our school's mandatory advocacy class. I think I stole that answer from thesealocust and it served me well at OCI). Do practice interviews, with real attorneys if you can. Or at least sit down with a friend or family member and have them ask you questions.

You will click with some interviewers more than others and some interviews will be awkward no matter what. But if you prepare well and practice, you can get better.

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RVP11
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby RVP11 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


WOW. Are you socially awkward generally?

Anonymous User
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


I had an interviewer look like she just drank a glass of vomit once. Conversation was going well until she asked a gotcha question that I hadn't prepared for, gave an honest answer, and that was the end of my chances there.

Generally though there are lists either online or through OCS or whatever of tough questions interviewers are going to ask. The one you got asked is one of them, others might be something like "tell me about a time that you failed," "tell me about a time that you didn't get along with someone," "so if you like X, why don't you want to work for firm Y in Z city," stuff like that. There's no reason not to have a good, non-awkward answer to those questions the night before your interview.

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ajscalingi
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby ajscalingi » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:37 pm

I can only speak from experience, but having lived in Los Angeles pursuing acting for a few years, I can say that it's just a numbers game. I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed with auditioning, but after a few auditions it clicked.

I've had to do all sorts of crazy things in auditions; crying, singing, etc. That said, I still feel a bit uncomfortable sitting down and interviewing with people. Remember that there's no one who totally overcomes the jitters of an interview. Repetition is key!

Keep your head up.

Anonymous User
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:46 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


WOW. Are you socially awkward generally?


Generally no. Are you a douche generally?

goodolgil
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby goodolgil » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


I had an interviewer look like she just drank a glass of vomit once. Conversation was going well until she asked a gotcha question that I hadn't prepared for, gave an honest answer, and that was the end of my chances there.

Generally though there are lists either online or through OCS or whatever of tough questions interviewers are going to ask. The one you got asked is one of them, others might be something like "tell me about a time that you failed," "tell me about a time that you didn't get along with someone," "so if you like X, why don't you want to work for firm Y in Z city," stuff like that. There's no reason not to have a good, non-awkward answer to those questions the night before your interview.


Have to say (as someone who has done around 50 law firm interviews in the last year) that those types of questions aren't all that common. In fact I never got asked the first two. You will get asked some variation of "why this firm?" very often however, and considering how similar most firms are, it's not as much of a softball as it seems.

03121202698008
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


Dude, from now on rehearse your answers to the most likely questions before you go. Like/hate about LS, favorite/least favorite class, etc. In the interview isn't the time to be winging it.

03121202698008
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:16 pm

goodolgil wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


I had an interviewer look like she just drank a glass of vomit once. Conversation was going well until she asked a gotcha question that I hadn't prepared for, gave an honest answer, and that was the end of my chances there.

Generally though there are lists either online or through OCS or whatever of tough questions interviewers are going to ask. The one you got asked is one of them, others might be something like "tell me about a time that you failed," "tell me about a time that you didn't get along with someone," "so if you like X, why don't you want to work for firm Y in Z city," stuff like that. There's no reason not to have a good, non-awkward answer to those questions the night before your interview.


Have to say (as someone who has done around 50 law firm interviews in the last year) that those types of questions aren't all that common. In fact I never got asked the first two. You will get asked some variation of "why this firm?" very often however, and considering how similar most firms are, it's not as much of a softball as it seems.


Yeah. They mostly use behavioral interviewing now. Key for those interviewing...they are looking for you to sell yourself. Figure out what traits you want to convey, then make sure your answers collectively hit all of them during the interview. (e.g. leadership, dedication, teamwork, etc.) When they ask about a previous job, etc...they are looking for you to tell a story that involves teamwork, etc.

Geist13
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Geist13 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:33 pm

OP. it's one interview, you can't say you suck at interviewing on that alone. However, interviews are not about just going in and shooting the shit with someone. You have to be prepared. 90% of interview questions come up very regularly, you should have answers for them all ready to go. You should have rehearsed these responses a number of times with someone you trust to give you good feedback. Think about it like this: why are we so prepared for exams? It's because we know all our class mates are prepared and that there is a curve. The same rationale goes for interviews. You are competing with very smart hard working people for this job; you have to be prepared because they sure as shit will be.

Go into career services to do a mock interview. They'll get you started with tips and criticism.

Anonymous User
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:24 pm

OP, I found your "douche" comment to be hilarious.

If you have a good personality as I recklessly speculate from your joke, do not be afraid to be yourself. By that, I mean don't rehearse things to death like a host of socially awkward law students will advise you to do. Think about answers to questions that you think will come up in the interview before you go in, but do not make your answers sound rehearsed. When the interviewer asks you a question, don't be afraid to sit and think about what it is that you want to say before you answer. If you do this, it becomes less difficult to just turn your interview into a conversation (unless your interviewer is a nazi), and I think this strategy will yield the best results.

Be weary of taking interview (a social encounter, sort of) advice from socially awkward mondo-nerds.

Note: An interview is absolutely NOT analogous to a law school exam other than the fact that some preparation involved in both.

Advice to go into OCP and do a mock interview is credited, although I and several friends of mine did not do any mock interviews and got the jobs we wanted.

Also, I've never heard the "what do you like about law school question"
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby bk1 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
RVP11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


WOW. Are you socially awkward generally?


Generally no. Are you a douche generally?


I think it's a legitimate question. You responded to normal interview questions with absolutely atrocious responses. The question is whether you are normally this awkward in general or normally this awkward during interviews. If it's the former then you need to learn how to fake it till you make it during an interview. If it's the latter then you need to learn how to not be so stressed/nervous during interviews.

Agree that the best thing you can do is mock interviews. It doesn't even have to be with legal employers, just find interviewers who are willing to do mock ones and give you honest feedback.

Geist13
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Geist13 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP, I found your "douche" comment to be hilarious.

If you have a good personality as I recklessly speculate from your joke, do not be afraid to be yourself. By that, I mean don't rehearse things to death like a host of socially awkward law students will advise you to do. Think about answers to questions that you think will come up in the interview before you go in, but do not make your answers sound rehearsed. When the interviewer asks you a question, don't be afraid to sit and think about what it is that you want to say before you answer. If you do this, it becomes less difficult to just turn your interview into a conversation (unless your interviewer is a nazi), and I think this strategy will yield the best results.

Be weary of taking interview (a social encounter, sort of) advice from socially awkward mondo-nerds.

Note: An interview is absolutely NOT analogous to a law school exam other than the fact that some preparation involved in both.

Advice to go into OCP and do a mock interview is credited, although I and several friends of mine did not do any mock interviews and got the jobs we wanted.

Also, I've never heard the "what do you like about law school question"


didn't analogize an interview to a law school exam. I analogized the reason for preparing for an exam (competition) to the reason for preparing for a job interview. In other words, everyone else is going to be prepared, so you need to be also. Not being prepared greatly diminishes your ability to get the job. Don't say that's untrue, cause its not.

Also, i don't think anyone on here said "give totally rehearsed answers that sound really awkward and make you look like a fuckin' goof." The general thrust of the advice in this thread is to be prepared for the questions that are most likely to be given in every interview. That doesn't mean say verbatim a scripted answer, but it does mean that you have goals fo what you want to communicate on a particular question and at least a general plan of how to communicate it. From the OP's account of his interview, it was clear that he was totally unprepared for that question. That should only happen on off the wall questions. But you're right, being prepared and working hard to succeed at something that affects your career makes you a "mondo-nerd" (haha although I'm going to start using that).

When I read your post, all I could think of was Allen Iverson: "Practice?! We talkin' 'bout practice?"

I've heard some variant of "what do you like most/least about law school" in most of my interviews.

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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby WhirledWorld » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:17 pm

I had an interview a couple months ago that I thought I royally screwed up. No eye contact. Awkward. The interviewer blasted a machine gun of questions, one after the other, all weird.

I had other interviews where I was making jokes and having a great time with the interviewers, where I came off as professional but likeable, where there was an instant connection.

I got an offer from the firm where I had the first interview, and no-offered from the other firms. So don't feel too bad.

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Guchster
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Guchster » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:32 pm

bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RVP11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


WOW. Are you socially awkward generally?


Generally no. Are you a douche generally?


I think it's a legitimate question. You responded to normal interview questions with absolutely atrocious responses. The question is whether you are normally this awkward in general or normally this awkward during interviews. If it's the former then you need to learn how to fake it till you make it during an interview. If it's the latter then you need to learn how to not be so stressed/nervous during interviews.

Agree that the best thing you can do is mock interviews. It doesn't even have to be with legal employers, just find interviewers who are willing to do mock ones and give you honest feedback.


I completely agree with bk.

Another alternative is to also do mock interviews if you have a professor you are close with. I did this and she was incredibly blunt in ways that my mock interviews with our OCS were not.

As a decent interviewee, I think what prepared me the most was pacing around my apartment practicing giving answers to common interview questions (exactly like the one they asked you--a common spin is asking what you liked about law school the most--or going through your resume and preparing a 2-3 minute schtick about what you actually did in each line; explaining your interests; thinking of ways the interviewer will push you and then coming up with decent responses) and then tailoring them to make them sound spontaneous (it also sucks if you're too robotic and give answers that can come off too rehearsed). But at this point, maybe being too rehearsed would be better than giving answers like the ones you gave.

I think the best piece of advice I received (and the reason my 1L SA job search went so well) was that if you don't make your interviewers laugh, the interview didn't go well. Go into the interview with that mentality and it actually will change your nerves and the way you think about the person you're talking to.

in2win
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby in2win » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:00 pm

i had an interview with a process server company which was a perfect match for me at the time, and i just happened to be unemployed at the time. the interview was going perfectly until the very end when they asked me if I had any questions to ask them about the job or company or anything. I just shrugged it off and said " no I don't think so". after I said that, i saw the meanest look ive ever seen on one the interviewers faces. i tried applying to the same company again, and they wouldnt even take me for an interview. I don't think its that uncommon for people to say or do something that costs them a job. i think with a lot of practice you could get really good at it

Anonymous User
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:07 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the advice guys. I know it's my fault for not being prepared. I'm definitely going to practice interviewing before OCI next year. But I'm still bummed about this one because I want to go back to my hometown after law school, and there's only a few firms that I want to work for there. Now there's one down.

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Guchster
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby Guchster » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the advice guys. I know it's my fault for not being prepared. I'm definitely going to practice interviewing before OCI next year. But I'm still bummed about this one because I want to go back to my hometown after law school, and there's only a few firms that I want to work for there. Now there's one down.


no worries. this was a great learning experience, and I think this will actually help you going into OCI (to force you to prepare). It sucks for your classmates who won't have learned this lesson until the middle of OCI as they keep getting rejected for jobs that actually might make a difference past law school.

BeachedBrit
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby BeachedBrit » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:56 pm

Practice (not with a mirror but with real people) is the key. It's important to try to be as conversational as possible all the time. Sometimes you will get an interviewer that is awkward, those are tough but you've just got to roll w/ it.

Does your school have a mock interview program or anything like that?

Either way, I suggest asking a friend to pretend to be interviewing you, asking some of the easier questions but a decent number of the hard ones too. Pick a firm or two that they can pretend to be the hiring partner for (practice as if they are an associate too) and every 5 minutes check to make sure you aren't being too formal.

Ideally they will only have to ask one or two true questions, the rest will just turn in to a friendly conversation that answers what they want to know but in a comfortable and conversational manner.

Personally, I find the behavioral questions the worst. Generally, think about a few talking points on each thing but definitely DO NOT rehearse entire answers, you will just get more flustered when the question isn't exactly as expected or you make one mistake that throws you off your script.

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20160810
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Re: I suck at interviewing

Postby 20160810 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:58 pm

RVP11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:They didn't reject me yet but I gave enough awkward responses to know that I'll be rejected. For example, they asked what I didn't like about law school and I said "I don't know I guess the work, sometimes it's like 80 hours a week." Then in my head I was like hmm that didn't sound right. So I tried to save myself and said "well that and not being able to talk to my girlfriend that much." The interviewer forced a laugh and moved onto the next question which I also stumbled through.


WOW. Are you socially awkward generally?

Not to mention... 80 hours a week on law school? WTF. Even during finals I've never put in that kind of work.




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