OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

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law321
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OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Biglaw interviewer willing to answer question about the OCI/callback process. Work for V50 firm in major market (NY/DC/LA).

Good luck to all with OCI.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby brotherdarkness » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:56 pm

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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harbin
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby harbin » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:58 pm

Thank you for doing this. Is there generally a reason interviewers are assigned to specific people or is it more who is available at the time? I ask because I once had an interviewer ask me what I was interviewing for.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:03 pm

brotherdarkness wrote:One firm I'm really interested in has sent out callback invitations and dings but I haven't received either. Do I just cross my fingers and hope for the best, or is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting a callback?

What should I do differently during a callback as compared to a screener?


Good questions.

1. Do not read too much into the firm's response timeline. There are many reason why some may hear before others (interview dates, interview evaluations submitted promptly, hiring committee meeting timing, etc.). It cannot hurt you to follow-up with a professional email to the head recruiter indicating continued interest and a willingness to answer any further questions about your credentials within 2-3 *weeks of the initial interview.

2. I would not do anything differently. Treat the callback like a series of screeners. So, know your resume inside and out, be prepared to answer the lay up questions (tell me about yourself, why law, why this firm, etc), and be familiar with the firm and its practice areas. As I mentioned elsewhere on TLS, do also have plenty of questions lined up. Sometimes, callback can be geared more toward informing you about the nuts of bolts of XYZ firm.

*Edited for clarity. Apologies in advance for sloppiness...it was a LONG week.
Last edited by law321 on Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:08 pm

harbin wrote:Thank you for doing this. Is there generally a reason interviewers are assigned to specific people or is it more who is available at the time? I ask because I once had an interviewer ask me what I was interviewing for.


No problem.

This is also a good question.

I can't speak to how other firms approach this issue, but my firm attempts to place you with people in your desired practice area. From what I have heard from friends at other firms, this is generally the case at those firms as well. You will likely get a list of the people interviewing you before the callback. If you do, take a look at their bios to see in which area(s) they focus. If you don't get such a list, assume that each person you meet with is not familiar with your interests and be prepared to explain what you are leaning toward and why.

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No13baby
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby No13baby » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:54 pm

What are the best/most interesting questions you've been asked in response to "do you have any questions for me?" Is there anything students should ask, or that you wish they'd ask, but don't?

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:16 pm

No13baby wrote:What are the best/most interesting questions you've been asked in response to "do you have any questions for me?" Is there anything students should ask, or that you wish they'd ask, but don't?


That's a tough one.

I wouldn't assume you need to distinguish yourself from the pack by asking profound questions. I am totally fine with applicants asking fairly basic questions about the firm and the summer program. I think it's fair to treat the question portion of the interview as an opportunity to get more educated on the nuts and bolts of firm XYZ. Having said all of that, it never hurts to ask an attorney whose work interests you what they find most rewarding/challenging/interesting about his/her practice area.

I generally expect to receive questions about firm culture and how work is assigned to SAs. But, I really don't have a checklist of questions I expect applicants to address. In fact, sometimes the conversation goes in an unanticipated direction and the applicant has little time to ask questions at all.

tennisking88
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby tennisking88 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:23 pm

1. What are the biggest no-nos suit/fashion-wise for men/women?
2. If you're a bit below the firm's grade range or preferred cutoff, do you recommend addressing that/saying something like "I know I'm a below top 1/4, but I have this experience. etc, etc."

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:26 pm

law321 wrote:
No13baby wrote:What are the best/most interesting questions you've been asked in response to "do you have any questions for me?" Is there anything students should ask, or that you wish they'd ask, but don't?


That's a tough one.

I wouldn't assume you need to distinguish yourself from the pack by asking profound questions. I am totally fine with applicants asking fairly basic questions about the firm and the summer program. I think it's fair to treat the question portion of the interview as an opportunity to get more educated on the nuts and bolts of firm XYZ. Having said all of that, it never hurts to ask an attorney whose work interests you what they find most rewarding/challenging/interesting about his/her practice area.

I generally expect to receive questions about firm culture and how work is assigned to SAs. But, I really don't have a checklist of questions I expect applicants to address. In fact, sometimes the conversation goes in an unanticipated direction and the applicant has little time to ask questions at all.

To follow up in this, if the interviewer gears questions more toward associate life/work than the summer, does this come off as a positive, negative, or neither?
Personally, I couldn't care less about a short summer, relative to the years I hope to be at the firm

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:26 pm

tennisking88 wrote:1. What are the biggest no-nos suit/fashion-wise for men/women?


I'd love to know the answer to this one. For example, TLS is adamant that wearing anything besides A&E Park Avenue shoes (such as wingtips) may cause a ding. Is this really the case?

Kage3212
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Kage3212 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:28 pm

The "tell me about yourself" question seems to garner a lot of conflicting advice as to how to approach it. What is your suggestion?

Should I give you a summary of where I grew up (ie how I am tied to the area), take you through my college education (where I found my initial aspiration to pursue a career in law), and then my most recent working experience (where I solidified my desire pursue my legal education to become an attorney)?

OR

Should I somehow tie in an unrelated legal thing about myself, such as that I am a nutrition nut and a recreational bodybuilder?

Thanks for doing this.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:46 pm

tennisking88 wrote:1. What are the biggest no-nos suit/fashion-wise for men/women?
2. If you're a bit below the firm's grade range or preferred cutoff, do you recommend addressing that/saying something like "I know I'm a below top 1/4, but I have this experience. etc, etc."



I am glad you asked both of these questions.

1. Clothing - Nothing so skimpy, flashy, colorful or patterned that you would double-take if you walked by someone wearing such clothing on the sidewalk. That's literally the only rule, which means you can wear just about anything that would not surprise the interviewer. When in doubt, ask a friend, parent, significant other/spouse, sibling or the career development office for input.

2. Grades - Once you get the screening interview, I focus almost exclusively on your personality, demeanor, ability to hold a casual conversation, etc. Grades are not even on my radar screen. Having said that, I am likely in the minority on this issue. I think what you propose is perfectly acceptable and reasonable. Think of it this way, if you are below the grade cut-off and still received an interview, that means the other information on your resume and in your cover letter was impressive.

So, your instinct is spot on - harp on what makes you well-rounded. I would not directly address the class rank. Why plant that thought in the interviewer's mind when you are trying to discuss your other positives? If the interviewer wants to discuss the rank, he/she will bring it up.

If you have to address the rank, own it. Explain how you ended up where you are, what you plan to change to improve, and harp again on your other qualities that make you a great candidate. Despite what students may think, grades are NOT the entire application package.

olive16
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby olive16 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:56 pm

What should a shy, quiet person do?

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Blessedassurance
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:57 pm

law321 wrote: Think of it this way, if you are below the grade cut-off and still received an interview, that means the other information on your resume and in your cover letter was impressive.


lottery?

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:57 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:
law321 wrote: Think of it this way, if you are below the grade cut-off and still received an interview, that means the other information on your resume and in your cover letter was impressive.


lottery?


I've had multiple interviews with firms that I am below the grade cut off for which are certainly not lottery (as there is not lottery), so that's not always the reason.

I haven't received callbacks either, though, and I think grades might have played into that (ie, I was not impressive enough while interviewing to overcome my grades perhaps). I think I got the interviews at all because of my relevant work experience.

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:
law321 wrote: Think of it this way, if you are below the grade cut-off and still received an interview, that means the other information on your resume and in your cover letter was impressive.


lottery?


I've had multiple interviews with firms that I am below the grade cut off for which are certainly not lottery (as there is not lottery), so that's not always the reason.

I haven't received callbacks either, though, and I think grades might have played into that (ie, I was not impressive enough while interviewing to overcome my grades perhaps). I think I got the interviews at all because of my relevant work experience.

Experience matters more than a lot of people here realize. I've gotten a callback based on my résumé that didn't include GPA or class rank (grades weren't out yet when I mass mailed)

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Blessedassurance
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:57 pm

i'm saying one (not necessarily either of you) could have gotten an interview based on lottery and nothing else, in answer to his stated proposition that something else about you must have been impressive to warrant an interview.

i'm merely pointing out the caveat to his general statement

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:58 pm

1) At the after-oci-firm receptions, should I mainly mingle with the lawyers who interviewed me or should I branch out and talk to other people (I'm wondering if the other lawyers there have additional say in giving me a callback)? Further, what is the best way of maximizing your chances for a callback after an after oci mixer?

2) If a current 2L SA puts in a word for you, how much does this help?

3) I generally try to ask a question about partnership to convey that I'm looking to stay at the term long year. I generally word it as "what traits does firm X look at when deciding partnership." Good idea or bad idea?


Thanks so much for doing this.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:1) At the after-oci-firm receptions, should I mainly mingle with the lawyers who interviewed me or should I branch out and talk to other people (I'm wondering if the other lawyers there have additional say in giving me a callback)? Further, what is the best way of maximizing your chances for a callback after an after oci mixer?

2) If a current 2L SA puts in a word for you, how much does this help?

3) I generally try to ask a question about partnership to convey that I'm looking to stay at the term long year. I generally word it as "what traits does firm X look at when deciding partnership." Good idea or bad idea?


Thanks so much for doing this.


1. Branch out and talk to others if you want. The lawyers who interviewed you will not hold it against you. Of course, if you bump into them/see them, say hello and let them know it was a pleasure meeting them. As a general rule, assume that anyone from any firm that is present at any OCI related event may have some say in whether you get a callback. So, just realize every (seemingly casual) conversation at a hospitality suite, etc. counts for evaluation purposes.

2. Certainly does not hurt, especially if that SA is good/receives an offer. I have never interviewed someone recommended by a SA so cannot really be more specific than that.

3. I would avoid questions about partnership. I may be in the minority in this issue, but I would find that question unusual - it assumes you get offered a job as an associate and outperform your peers for *10 years.

*Edited for clarity.
Last edited by law321 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:44 am

Blessedassurance wrote:i'm saying one (not necessarily either of you) could have gotten an interview based on lottery and nothing else, in answer to his stated proposition that something else about you must have been impressive to warrant an interview.

i'm merely pointing out the caveat to his general statement


Thanks for pointing this out - I should have address the lottery issue in my initial post.

Personally, I mentally approach all interviews as if they are pre-selects. That is, I assume the applicant has some skill set or experience we want. I couldn't tell you which schools are pre-select/lottery - I don't care. I have never once interviewed a weaker student through the lottery system, so I have not yet found a need to be distinguishing between the methods of selection for the interview.

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:57 am

Q's about firm layoffs, financial health of the firm, or about no-offers from last year (office specific)? Go or no go?

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:Q's about firm layoffs, financial health of the firm, or about no-offers from last year (office specific)? Go or no go?



I would be careful asking about layoffs. Yes, that question is entirely rational coming from an applicant who wants to maximize his/her chances at holding onto a job. But, layoffs are not a particularly enjoyable subject. For me, it would change the tone of the interview (i.e., more negative) for the worse. The other two questions seems fair to me.

One edit relating to no offer questions - just be careful here. Do not pry about the specific reasons for no offers, just ask generally about SA retention. SA no offers relate to problems with "fit" the vast majority of the time. So, from my perspective, they tend to be very fact-driven/not susceptible to generalized analysis.

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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:48 am

I hope OP doesn't mind me jumping in. I used to do callback interviews for BigLaw and still do alumni interviews (to help students prep for BigLaw interviews).

Anonymous User wrote:Q's about firm layoffs, financial health of the firm, or about no-offers from last year (office specific)? Go or no go?


I disagree with OP here. IMHO this should absolutely be off the table until you have an offer. While you should be making mental notes to develop your preferences, you shouldn't "interview" firms until you have an offer. Once you are comparing multiple offers, you can ask these questions.
Anonymous User wrote:1) At the after-oci-firm receptions, should I mainly mingle with the lawyers who interviewed me or should I branch out and talk to other people (I'm wondering if the other lawyers there have additional say in giving me a callback)? Further, what is the best way of maximizing your chances for a callback after an after oci mixer?

2) If a current 2L SA puts in a word for you, how much does this help?

3) I generally try to ask a question about partnership to convey that I'm looking to stay at the term long year. I generally word it as "what traits does firm X look at when deciding partnership." Good idea or bad idea?


Thanks so much for doing this.


1.) I agree with OP. Don't ignore the people you interviewed with, but try to work the room. Assume every interaction will be noted and judged. (This includes how you treat staff and your peers -- I always tended to observe how students treated each other and other non-attorneys.)

2.) I wouldn't ask someone to do this. It isn't likely to help and it probably isn't in either of your interests to link your reputations.

3.) This question didn't bother me. However, since it does bother OP, you might be better off down shifting to something more like "what traits does the firm look for as associates become more senior and want to take on more responsibility."

olive16 wrote:What should a shy, quiet person do?


Practice interviewing as much as possible. You don't need to be the life of the party, but you need to be able to have a conversation comfortably, speak with confidence on issues you know (in this case your resume and past experiences, in the future legal research you've done), and be able to ask intelligent questions.

tennisking88 wrote:1. What are the biggest no-nos suit/fashion-wise for men/women?
2. If you're a bit below the firm's grade range or preferred cutoff, do you recommend addressing that/saying something like "I know I'm a below top 1/4, but I have this experience. etc, etc."


1.) Agree with OP. I few things I've seen: cropped/ short pants on women, too short/too tight skirts, casual suits on men (a light gray one in an odd fabric sticks out - it didn't help that nothing was pressed).

2.) Never, ever draw attention to perceived weaknesses in your resume. You have no idea what first impression your interviewer has. Don't add to the negatives. If they want you to address your grades (or anything else) they will ask.

No13baby wrote:What are the best/most interesting questions you've been asked in response to "do you have any questions for me?" Is there anything students should ask, or that you wish they'd ask, but don't?


Don't read too much into this question. It's usually just a way to wrap up or meant to genuinely give you a chance to ask questions. At call backs, it's just fine at the end of the day to say that you had questions x,y,z, but they have already been answered.

The one exception to this is when the question comes really early. In this case, you should think about it as a way to start carrying the interview. Think about what you what the interviewer to know about you and reverse engineer questions to get the conversation back on track.

law321
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby law321 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:05 am

TooOld4This wrote:I hope OP doesn't mind me jumping in. I used to do callback interviews for BigLaw and still do alumni interviews (to help students prep for BigLaw interviews).

Anonymous User wrote:Q's about firm layoffs, financial health of the firm, or about no-offers from last year (office specific)? Go or no go?


I disagree with OP here. IMHO this should absolutely be off the table until you have an offer. While you should be making mental notes to develop your preferences, you shouldn't "interview" firms until you have an offer. Once you are comparing multiple offers, you can ask these questions.
Anonymous User wrote:1) At the after-oci-firm receptions, should I mainly mingle with the lawyers who interviewed me or should I branch out and talk to other people (I'm wondering if the other lawyers there have additional say in giving me a callback)? Further, what is the best way of maximizing your chances for a callback after an after oci mixer?

2) If a current 2L SA puts in a word for you, how much does this help?

3) I generally try to ask a question about partnership to convey that I'm looking to stay at the term long year. I generally word it as "what traits does firm X look at when deciding partnership." Good idea or bad idea?


Thanks so much for doing this.


1.) I agree with OP. Don't ignore the people you interviewed with, but try to work the room. Assume every interaction will be noted and judged. (This includes how you treat staff and your peers -- I always tended to observe how students treated each other and other non-attorneys.)

2.) I wouldn't ask someone to do this. It isn't likely to help and it probably isn't in either of your interests to link your reputations.

3.) This question didn't bother me. However, since it does bother OP, you might be better off down shifting to something more like "what traits does the firm look for as associates become more senior and want to take on more responsibility."

olive16 wrote:What should a shy, quiet person do?


Practice interviewing as much as possible. You don't need to be the life of the party, but you need to be able to have a conversation comfortably, speak with confidence on issues you know (in this case your resume and past experiences, in the future legal research you've done), and be able to ask intelligent questions.

tennisking88 wrote:1. What are the biggest no-nos suit/fashion-wise for men/women?
2. If you're a bit below the firm's grade range or preferred cutoff, do you recommend addressing that/saying something like "I know I'm a below top 1/4, but I have this experience. etc, etc."


1.) Agree with OP. I few things I've seen: cropped/ short pants on women, too short/too tight skirts, casual suits on men (a light gray one in an odd fabric sticks out - it didn't help that nothing was pressed).

2.) Never, ever draw attention to perceived weaknesses in your resume. You have no idea what first impression your interviewer has. Don't add to the negatives. If they want you to address your grades (or anything else) they will ask.

No13baby wrote:What are the best/most interesting questions you've been asked in response to "do you have any questions for me?" Is there anything students should ask, or that you wish they'd ask, but don't?


Don't read too much into this question. It's usually just a way to wrap up or meant to genuinely give you a chance to ask questions. At call backs, it's just fine at the end of the day to say that you had questions x,y,z, but they have already been answered.

The one exception to this is when the question comes really early. In this case, you should think about it as a way to start carrying the interview. Think about what you what the interviewer to know about you and reverse engineer questions to get the conversation back on track.


Thanks TooOld - you make some great points here. The better response to the question about layoffs etc. (i.e., TooOld's response) would be to just avoid these questions until the offer is on the table. While I may be okay with some of the questions, asked artfully, at the right moment, others may not. So, don't risk it.

TooOld raises a hugely important point about carrying the interview under certain circumstances. This tends to happen so follow that good advice.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: OCI/Callback Interviewer Taking Questions

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:25 pm

Kage3212 wrote:The "tell me about yourself" question seems to garner a lot of conflicting advice as to how to approach it. What is your suggestion?

Should I give you a summary of where I grew up (ie how I am tied to the area), take you through my college education (where I found my initial aspiration to pursue a career in law), and then my most recent working experience (where I solidified my desire pursue my legal education to become an attorney)?

OR

Should I somehow tie in an unrelated legal thing about myself, such as that I am a nutrition nut and a recreational bodybuilder?

Thanks for doing this.

Bumping this because I have a similar question, and I thought you might have missed it. Thanks.




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