Asking screeners why the reject

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Anonymous User
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Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:20 pm

Good idea or bad? A couple of screeners I was really interested in I got dinged at. Appropriate to email back and ask for constructive interviewing feedback?

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:30 pm

If you do this and get constructive feedback, let us know. I'd love to do the same thing, but it's so awkward.

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patrickd139
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:33 pm

It's all in the execution, but I can see how this could possibly be done, and definitely how it would be beneficial. Be prepared for a lot of "it's not you, it's me" from the screeners, though. If they're well-coached by their firm, they won't be stupid enough to tell you legitimate reasons why they didn't pick you over a myriad of other equally well-qualified law students (and in the process invite employment discrimination lawsuits).

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thesealocust
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby thesealocust » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:42 pm

Horrible idea.

Any given interviewer has X interviewees and Y (give or take) callbacks to give. By the time they've selected the candidates they want to callback, it's very likely they will have exhausted the number of callbacks they had to give out. You don't have to do something wrong to fail to make the list, they don't have a "reason" to reject most applicants.

A monkey with a few day's worth of Westlaw orientation and a highlighter could do a 1st year associate's job, it's not like the OCI interview represents some grueling struggle that you can stride out of victorious.

To put it another way: The reason you failed to get a callback is almost always that there were more qualified candidates, and not that you did something wrong. Because of this fact, it would put the interviewer in a hard spot to ask. If you DID screw something up, MAYBE they could tell you politely, but the odds are there was just somebody else ahead of you inline that day. It might even be because the other guy spoke Germnan, you know?

Source: Worked OCI with my firm at their hospitality suite, and talked shop with the attorneys I knew well who were doing interviews.

The exception is you have a run of bad luck -- then and only then you can contact your career services office, who will if they deem it appropriate based on your situation contact firms on your behalf to get some candid feedback.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:55 pm

Don't do this; you'll look stupid, and you're unlikely to get an honest answer anyway. Everyone gets rejected, even after great interviews, and if you ask for an explanation you'll just sound like an arrogant law student who thinks he's God's gift to the legal profession and can't possibly understand why a firm wouldn't be interested. If after several rejections you realize you're performing poorly for your grades and targeted firms, then talk to career services and see if they can find out an explanation for your poor performance. My school's career services did this for several students who should have had more callbacks based on their grades and targeted firms, and I suspect other schools would as well.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Good idea or bad? A couple of screeners I was really interested in I got dinged at. Appropriate to email back and ask for constructive interviewing feedback?


The screeners have minimal input as to whether you get a call back. While they can go to bat for you, you still need at least a majority vote among the hiring committee - the majority of which includes people that have never met you. Thus, in order to get a call back at a firm that doesn't call back everyone, you have to be one of the strongest candidates that they have screened in order to get a call back regardless of how you do on the interview.

shock259
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby shock259 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:18 pm

I think it is tempting to look at interviews as the only part of you that is being evaluated. However, in my experience as a transfer, there seems to be a lot going on behind the scenes with your grades. I know that I dominated certain interviews, but I didn't get CBs (thus far) with those firms. I also know that I did mediocre/average in other interviews, yet I got CBs.

This plus Seal's post is probably the best explanation of what happened. Try not to take it personally! (as hard as that may be).

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:46 am

I did this after a callback once at a firm where things seemed to go really well and I had had a few friendly phone calls to check in with the recruiting coordinator before ultimately being rejected. She was the person I asked and she literally got out my interviewing forms from the callback and read the attorney's comments to me. It was very generous of her. The answers weren't earth-shattering, but were actually very helpful.

-I was seen as likeable and made a good impression; interviewing skills in general not a problem and that was reassuring. All noted "would recommend if others do."
-An offhand comment I'd made to an associate about reasons I wanted to be in x market, that it was a good place for my spouse to work, actually ended up working against me - my spouse is still in grad school too and associate noted "x academic career and law hard to make work in same place." I don't think it was a dealbreaker but in a place where ties are important and spouse does not yet have a job, I definitely won't bring it up next time
-All interviewers noted "no journal" and the coordinator said that was the ultimate dealbreaker for this firm even though I was called back - it was just something they really think is important
-I also learned from talking to her they were a firm that called back TONS of people for very few slots. It gave me a little closure.

So at the end of the day it was what the posters above said, there was just someone more qualified in line ahead of me. I didn't do anything wrong per se, and was liked, but didn't have the most convincing ties and was lacking a credential they liked, so I didn't make the cut. Anyway, I learned something about that firm's callback process in general and realized bringing up the spouse's career can be seen as a liability, rather than looking like we had thought through our long term plans. It was one associate at one firm, and not the ultimate dealbreaker, but was still insightful. So I think the credited answer is that asking for feedback after a reject is probably most helpful at the callback stage and should be done through the recruiter.

Nynaeve
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Nynaeve » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:12 am

I did this last year, when I was going through OCI. I asked a few interviewers whom I had established a connection with. I phrased my inquiry in a manner indicating I was simply asking for feedback, for the future. Both responded pleasantly and told me my interview went great, but that there were only a select few spots available for callbacks. So, not a disaster, but not exactly useful, either.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:40 am

thesealocust wrote:Horrible idea.

Any given interviewer has X interviewees and Y (give or take) callbacks to give. By the time they've selected the candidates they want to callback, it's very likely they will have exhausted the number of callbacks they had to give out. You don't have to do something wrong to fail to make the list, they don't have a "reason" to reject most applicants.

A monkey with a few day's worth of Westlaw orientation and a highlighter could do a 1st year associate's job, it's not like the OCI interview represents some grueling struggle that you can stride out of victorious.

To put it another way: The reason you failed to get a callback is almost always that there were more qualified candidates, and not that you did something wrong. Because of this fact, it would put the interviewer in a hard spot to ask. If you DID screw something up, MAYBE they could tell you politely, but the odds are there was just somebody else ahead of you inline that day. It might even be because the other guy spoke Germnan, you know?

Source: Worked OCI with my firm at their hospitality suite, and talked shop with the attorneys I knew well who were doing interviews.

The exception is you have a run of bad luck -- then and only then you can contact your career services office, who will if they deem it appropriate based on your situation contact firms on your behalf to get some candid feedback.


Did it with interviewers I felt a connection with. Great advice. They said I shouldn't change anything about the interview...but (they kind of hid criticism) I should have four main points I want to make and intertwine them in every question---even if its unrelated to law.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:43 am

I was having trouble last year with OCI and was told to do this by OCS (at that point I needed their help, so I did everything they recommended). Most of the people didn't give feedback, but I got a little and what I got was somewhat useful. If you're really doing badly at OCI (as in, no CB's at all), it might be something worth doing in a few weeks once you get all of your rejection letters, but I wouldn't do it now.

If you're really really struggling, IMO, the best thing you can do for yourself is go to career services, no matter how bad they have a rep of being. A lot of these offices will help make calls for you, or give you suggestions of what do to if you're struggling and most of this stuff is far more helpful than anything these offices do pre-OCI.

Caveat: this advice is really skewed to T14 schools.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:21 pm

My analogy: I went to what is called in the modeling world, a cattle call (pretty much like OCI). I was told later that I almost did not get selected because of one picture (one picture in a pile of 20 pictures). They showed me the picture (looked OK to me) ― their policy was that all five voting members had to give a thumbs up (one almost did not because they did not like that one picture). I view the legal hiring process the same way. It is simply too difficult to know/predict why, or who specifically dinged you into the no-cb pile. Perhaps a peer had one less B or one more A. Point: Chances are you will never find out why you were [really] passed over. Sometimes it is just timing. Move on.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:19 pm

I really hit it off with an interviewer at a gov agency that does a lot of litigation (state, not bigfed). Interview was for 2L summer. Didn't get through to next round and asked for constructive criticism. Got a long email about how I was great but I didn't meet a threshold level of courtroom experience. (there was no indication about that requirement anywhere.) Since then I've gotten a ton of courtroom exp and I'll be reapplying.

The moral: it can be done, and it can give you invaluable insight into what the org values, which you can use if you reapply or apply to other, similar orgs. Go with your gut on whether the interviewer will help you out. I'm glad I asked.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:59 pm

For the people that say no: What do you have to lose? At worst, you get no answer. At medium, you get a b.s. answer. At most, you get information to help you in subsequent interviews. I see no harm in it at all.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:23 am

I did this and it was extremely helpful. Sure, you won't get a second chance with that particular firm by doing this but it will help you in future interviews. The interviewer was honest and had nothing negative to say, told me that I had a great interview, but that ultimately, my ties to the area weren't strong enough. While it sucks to know that (because it's something that's out of my hands), it did make me more confident in my interviewing skills generally and allowed me to focus on selling myself as loving this market.

(FYI - Philly BigLaw - won't name firm).

You have nothing to lose.

anon168
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby anon168 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:29 am

Most likely the OCI screener won't even remember you.

Any feedback you get will most likely be of the generic type, e.g. grades were a bit too low, no journal (if applicable), others more qualified, limited spots, and "we really liked you, but it was just a numbers game".

So go ahead and ask, but I'm not sure it'll be any more enlightening at the end of the day because as others have already mentioned, whether you get a callback is really a function of grades and not your performance (or lack thereof) at the OCI screen.

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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:37 am

I left a voicemail for an interviewer that I really connected with and who was a high level partner at that firm. He had even gone out of his way to email me the day after the interview and to let me know he'd be getting back later that week. I got a stock rejection email the very next day from the firm's HR.

I guess since he opened the door to more communication and because he is high-enough up at that firm I thought it was worth a shot. We'll see if he ever gets back to me, hah.

Pokemon
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Pokemon » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:31 am

I guess a person has nothing to lose but it seems to me as slightly inappropriate if not passive aggressive... You are basically telling them why did you not hire me (let me go to the next stage of hiring) and the obvious answer is because we could find other candidates that we prefer either due to qualifications or other reasons such as personality.
If you are really curious about such things, the right thing might be to do a mock interview with a career services person.
Also people overestimate this "I connected with interviewer." If interviewer is a nice guy he connects with everybody, if he is weird he connects with nobody. Say you connected with someone only if your interview went well and you hear your classmates complain about how mean/weird etc the interviewer was.

keg411
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby keg411 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:57 am

Pokemon wrote:I guess a person has nothing to lose but it seems to me as slightly inappropriate if not passive aggressive... You are basically telling them why did you not hire me (let me go to the next stage of hiring) and the obvious answer is because we could find other candidates that we prefer either due to qualifications or other reasons such as personality.
If you are really curious about such things, the right thing might be to do a mock interview with a career services person.
Also people overestimate this "I connected with interviewer." If interviewer is a nice guy he connects with everybody, if he is weird he connects with nobody. Say you connected with someone only if your interview went well and you hear your classmates complain about how mean/weird etc the interviewer was.


You sound like a 0L.

Pokemon
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Re: Asking screeners why the reject

Postby Pokemon » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:07 am

Qualifications=grades.




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