Bad Interview Moments

(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.
Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:27 pm

1

During OCI, I walked into a very hostile interview room. They were cold from the moment I walked in. I was personable and genuinely tried to connect to my interviewers but they weren't interested.
They asked me one "tell me about yourself" general question and I babbled on a little bit when I noticed that one of my interviewers was filling out my review right in front of me and circling that I was "average" for all categories. This was about 5 minutes in and I was stuck in a conversation with these people for 15 more minutes. I have a decent GPA and I am a good interviewer. I have no idea why this guy was such a dick.


2

I'm LGBT and out on my resume. I also am straight-passing/not a person that people expect to be LGBT. I had a screener with a Conservative firm with a Conservative city's office ask me through coded language if I was gay. Something like, "so what are you *doing* with [LGBT group on campus]?" She was extremely uncomfortable and so was I. Didn't get a CB :)

User avatar
xjustyoursmile

Bronze
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:23 pm

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby xjustyoursmile » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I said these 2 things in interviews.

First OCI during 1L with biggest firm in my hometown. In fact, this was my first job interview ever. After a minute or two of small talk partner asks "so what has been your favorite part about law school so far?" After stammering around a bit I respond "well I like working hard, so it's mainly been being up in the library and gettin' down to business." No callback.

--

A few years back, Callback from OCI. Interviewer asks me about firm I worked for 1L summer, and what type of work they do. I respond by telling him the firm's 2 main practice areas. And then for some reason, I proceed to expand. I tell him that because the firm was smaller in size they have to take whatever business they can get at times-then I say "In other words, they have to shoot whatever Indian comes over the hill at the time." Offer.

--

Also, in an interview with a boutique lit firm, I was asked the question, "do you believe in criminal punishment and retribution or friendly rehabilitation?" Then I was asked "So are you comfortable taking out the trash and vacuuming the floors". . . this was in a skyscraper building that obviously had a highly trained property management staff.


I'd never give an offer based on that Indian comment.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. Partner at very prestigious firm while examining my resume asked if my gpa was top 10%. It’s not, which I told him. Just a bit of an odd interviewer overall. Still ended up getting an offer though.

if this partner spent a lot of time talking about clerking for a very famous SCOTUS justice I had the exact same experience (and also got an offer). extremely weird start to an interview

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:48 pm

Horrible CB with partner. On his computer the whole time, not looking at me. Asking strange questions and insulting my academic record (above median at a t-14). Looked at me for one minute without saying anything and ended the interview early.

He sent me an email later saying he enjoyed talking to me. No offer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:52 pm

It was my last of like 30 screeners in a week. Smaller biglaw/midlaw firm. They tell me they do three things in the office, none of which are antitrust. They ask me what I'm interested in and I say antitrust. No CB.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It was my last of like 30 screeners in a week. Smaller biglaw/midlaw firm. They tell me they do three things in the office, none of which are antitrust. They ask me what I'm interested in and I say antitrust. No CB.


Lol, was this just because you were tired and it was a mistake? Or you just didn't care anymore?

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:05 pm

Interview with midsize firm. Guy interviewing me has no personality, seems quite miserable (partner). Asks me ''what would you do if you got two assignments that were urgent but you could not finish both on time.'' I give a fake little laugh and say ''Come ask you what to do! haha''. He stares at me, completely unamused. I then answered the question, but needless to say, that office was miserable and I walked out hoping I'd never hear from them again.

SFSpartan

Silver
Posts: 589
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby SFSpartan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Interview with midsize firm. Guy interviewing me has no personality, seems quite miserable (partner). Asks me ''what would you do if you got two assignments that were urgent but you could not finish both on time.'' I give a fake little laugh and say ''Come ask you what to do! haha''. He stares at me, completely unamused. I then answered the question, but needless to say, that office was miserable and I walked out hoping I'd never hear from them again.


This scenario really isn't that uncommon and will probably happen to you more than once (i.e. this problem isn't confined to sweatshoppy firms), and you really shouldn't need to run to a partner, senior associate, or midlevel with every single question you have.

When you have two urgent assignments, and can't do both in time, you need to be able to assess which one you are going to do, when you'll get it done by, and then communicate with the person that gave you the other assignment that you won't be able to get their thing done on time (include a conservative estimate of when you'll get to their thing), so that they can find someone else to do it if necessary. When you get this question in the future, this is the proper way to answer it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:59 pm

During my Arnold & Porter OCI screener, I kept referring to the firm as "Arnold Palmer." Still got a callback.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7708
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:37 pm

SFSpartan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interview with midsize firm. Guy interviewing me has no personality, seems quite miserable (partner). Asks me ''what would you do if you got two assignments that were urgent but you could not finish both on time.'' I give a fake little laugh and say ''Come ask you what to do! haha''. He stares at me, completely unamused. I then answered the question, but needless to say, that office was miserable and I walked out hoping I'd never hear from them again.


This scenario really isn't that uncommon and will probably happen to you more than once (i.e. this problem isn't confined to sweatshoppy firms), and you really shouldn't need to run to a partner, senior associate, or midlevel with every single question you have.

When you have two urgent assignments, and can't do both in time, you need to be able to assess which one you are going to do, when you'll get it done by, and then communicate with the person that gave you the other assignment that you won't be able to get their thing done on time (include a conservative estimate of when you'll get to their thing), so that they can find someone else to do it if necessary. When you get this question in the future, this is the proper way to answer it.


Or you could give the best answer: "Do neither. I don't want to play favorites."

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:During my Arnold & Porter OCI screener, I kept referring to the firm as "Arnold Palmer." Still got a callback.


LOL I hope I didn't do this! I definitely had to stop myself a couple times!

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:14 pm

Saw the interviewing partner was at his prior firm for 15 years before moving to the firm I was currently interviewing with. Asked him "So I see you spent many years at another firm and by all means were probably very successful there, so what about this firm convinced you to join them?" I thought this was a good softball question for him to espouse the amazing culture, stuff like that. His response? Several seconds of silence, and then "Well... Dewey collapsed, so I has no other choice."

I did not get the offer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It was my last of like 30 screeners in a week. Smaller biglaw/midlaw firm. They tell me they do three things in the office, none of which are antitrust. They ask me what I'm interested in and I say antitrust. No CB.


Lol, was this just because you were tired and it was a mistake? Or you just didn't care anymore?


Honestly a little bit of both. If I wasn't so tired, maybe I would have cared more.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Interview with midsize firm. Guy interviewing me has no personality, seems quite miserable (partner). Asks me ''what would you do if you got two assignments that were urgent but you could not finish both on time.'' I give a fake little laugh and say ''Come ask you what to do! haha''. He stares at me, completely unamused. I then answered the question, but needless to say, that office was miserable and I walked out hoping I'd never hear from them again.


That's not a bad answer if he's the one who assigned one/ both of those assignments. Personally, I go for the "which one has a real deadline?" approach and have been lucky to have reasonable partners. But some folks at my old firm took the "which partner do I want to avoid?" approach; apparently discouraging work from unreasonable people is part of the job. :P

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:48 pm

Last year I was doing a screener interview for a government honors program and the interview was in a hotel ballroom with all of the tables lined up against the outer wall. I was the last interview before lunch and we talked so long that I was the last person interviewing, but all of the other interviewers were still in the room getting ready to go to lunch. I said some really idiotic things throughout the interview like "us gingers need to stick together" (the interviewer and I were both redheads). He asked me if I had a specific department of interest within the government agency and then when I just stared at him blankly he quickly said "nevermind, it's okay - you don't have to answer that". When he asked if I had any questions, I completely panicked and the only thing I could remember was that this guy went to a big basketball school for undergrad so I asked him how he felt about one of the best players leaving early to join the NBA and he laughed and said he didn't keep up with basketball. Then at the end he stood up to shake my hand and I stood up too quickly as I went to stick my hand out and wound up knocking the chair over with the backs of my legs. I should have just shook his hand and then picked up the chair, but instead I stopped and turned around to pick up the chair and left him standing there holding his hand out. I shook his hand and tried to laugh it off and he said "well at least you'll be memorable" ... It was really quiet at this point and some of the other interviewers started laughing.

The interviewer could not have been any nicer, but I still felt pretty dumb.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:13 pm

Not an interview, but somewhat related:
https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/harvard ... erks/?rf=1

Am I the only one who thinks it was the Harvard kid that was out of line here?

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not an interview, but somewhat related:
https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/harvard ... erks/?rf=1

Am I the only one who thinks it was the Harvard kid that was out of line here?


Wow. Yeah, I agree with you. Harvard student was out of line.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not an interview, but somewhat related:
https://abovethelaw.com/2018/08/harvard ... erks/?rf=1

Am I the only one who thinks it was the Harvard kid that was out of line here?


This explains a lot about why my career counselor kept emphasizing being a "normal" person during the interview...

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:08 pm

A bad interview moment:

Went to meet my screener at the end of a callback and immediately asked "so who did you speak with?"

I completely BLANKED on the names. I smiled awkwardly and came up with three common white male names. It was very obvious that I had completely forgotten.

Conversation continued as normal. Three days later, offer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:12 pm

Screener interview for unpaid 1L internship.

Interviewer: So I notice you wrote in your interests section that you like skiing.
Me: Yes, I do.
Interviewer: Is it extremely important to you? Is it, like, vital to your life?
Me: Uh...I guess not...
Interviewer: Then don't put it on there. Interests sections are stupid.

(later in the interview)

Interviewer: You wrote here that you were a paralegal for a law firm.
Me: Yes, I did—
Interviewer: Do you have a paralegal degree?
Me: No, I don't...
Interviewer: Then you aren't allowed to say that you are a paralegal. You have to say that you're a legal secretary.

Absolutely idiot moment on my part during a 2L screener for a big firm.

Interviewer: You enjoy hiking in national parks?
Me: Yes, I've been to a few of them. Some of them are overrated!
Interviewer: Yeah, like which ones?
Me (brain fart): Ah, the Grand Canyon is totally overrated...It's not that great...
Interviewer: (shocked, horrified silence)

Interviewer walked me out of my 20 minute interview 10 minutes early. That's what I get for telling lame jokes.

Anonymous User
Posts: 325765
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Bad Interview Moments

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:41 pm

Interviewed last year at a firm that awkwardly ended up with me in tears.

I started out meeting a hiring partner type - he wasn't on my interview schedule so I was completely caught off guard. He said he saw himself as a father-y type (uh, weird) who liked to look in on all the summers and screen every person who applied to the firm. I was a little nervous since this was at the time my top firm and I had already been dinged by a lot of my OCI CBs, but usually I get settled in after an interview question or two. Right off the bat, he tells me I seem nervous (who does that?!), which only makes me even more nervous. He then point blank asks me why I'm so nervous. I have no idea what to say so I reply that I feel I have a lot riding on the interview since I like the firm a lot. He then tells me to calm down and starts using a therapist-y voice. I cry easily and whenever someone talks to me in an overly caring tone, the waterworks usually start - I don't know why and it's incredibly embarrassing but it happens every time! So of course I start tearing up in the interview right after he tells me to stop being nervous. At that point, I knew I was doomed and wanted to leave right away.

Anyways, that wasn't the end of it. In my next interview, the interviewer (a partner) starts grilling me on my resume, line by line. When he asks me why I chose law school, I start with a story saying that I used to be in engineering but switched majors. He then asked why I didn't put the previous school on my resume. I told him that I stayed at the same undergraduate school, but the university had engineering as a separate college within the university so I had to do an internal transfer. He then asked me if my GPA was including engineering or not and I said it wasn't since my school considered it a transfer and because the school separated my grades pre-transfer and post-transfer into two different transcripts. He skeptically stared me down the whole time I explained. I basically ended that interview afraid the partner thought I was a cheating liar and afraid I would gain a reputation at every other firm for artificially inflating my GPA. Ended up having a mini panic attack after the interview because I was afraid all the firms I sent my resume out to would also think I was a liar.

Suffice it to say I definitely did not get an offer.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.