Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

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RamblinBoyofPleasure
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Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby RamblinBoyofPleasure » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:44 am

About half the firms I have screeners with are in DC, although I have no DC ties. The main reason I'm bidding on DC is that I'm interested in public policy/government work as an exit option. Is that taboo to discuss in an interview? I could see it going either way: realistically, the majority of associates can't make partner, and it shows some maturity/foresight to consider the long-term; at the same time, though, I could see an interviewer being put off by students who have plans other than staying at the firm.

Thoughts?

Anonymous User
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:33 am

Never, ever talk about exit options in an interview.

Realistically, you aren't going to marry most girls you date, but are you really going to talk about what you want in your next girlfriend with your current?

RamblinBoyofPleasure
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby RamblinBoyofPleasure » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Never, ever talk about exit options in an interview.

Realistically, you aren't going to marry most girls you date, but are you really going to talk about what you want in your next girlfriend with your current?


Good point. Thanks.

olive16
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby olive16 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:22 am

Don't do it. For obvious reasons.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:23 am

No, no, no. I would interview as though you want and intend to make partner, even if you know it's unlikely.

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IAFG
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby IAFG » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:29 am

Some firms point out themselves that their "alumni" go on to do neat things.

lukertin
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby lukertin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:30 am

IAFG wrote:Some firms point out themselves that their "alumni" go on to do neat things.

Did you discuss your exit options during your interview?

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IAFG
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby IAFG » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:32 am

lukertin wrote:
IAFG wrote:Some firms point out themselves that their "alumni" go on to do neat things.

Did you discuss your exit options during your interview?

No, but I think if I were doing it over again, I might.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:54 am

IAFG wrote:
lukertin wrote:
IAFG wrote:Some firms point out themselves that their "alumni" go on to do neat things.

Did you discuss your exit options during your interview?

No, but I think if I were doing it over again, I might.


This is confusing how a firm sells itself to you with how you should sell yourself to the firm. The firm tells you about its alumni because it wants you to think "if I leave I can go on to do something good." That doesn't mean that telling the firm you plan to leave makes YOU look good. It's like the quality-of-life stuff -- they sell it to you, because they want you to get the (usually false) impression that your life won't be miserable there. But if you come in asking tons of questions about quality of life, they think "Uh-oh, this guy wants an easy job. He won't be a hard worker."

blsingindisguise
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:56 am

Maybe a good analogy, sticking with the dating example, would be the difference between a date telling you "I love to cook for people," vs you asking the date "how much are you willing to cook for me?"

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:57 am

I don't think discussing exit options is at all a problem. I did it during many of my interviews. It really just depends on how you frame it.

DON'T: "Well, associates at your firm seem to leave to x, y, z, so I am most excited to go to your firm so I can eventually do x, y, z."

DO: (After providing a few more reasons for why you want to work at the firm) "And, since making partnership is so difficult anywhere, despite the fact that I would want to make partner at your firm (partner will acknowledge this and chuckle), in the likely event that I don't, it seems that a lot of associates have good landing spots (it isn't difficult to frame this in the form of a question, either)."

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:Never, ever talk about exit options in an interview.

Realistically, you aren't going to marry most girls you date, but are you really going to talk about what you want in your next girlfriend with your current?


The analogy falls apart when you realize that you are far more likely to marry a girl you date than make partner at a big firm. The latter is just that much more difficult. Being realistic about this just demonstrates maturity rather than naive optimism.

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IAFG
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby IAFG » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:01 am

Interesting points.

The only time I think I would do it is if I had a concrete example, e.g. I know an alumni from my law school who worked for you and is at the DOJ. They got to work on interesting projects for you and go on to do interesting work now.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:28 am

I discussed exit options a couple of times in my interviews and it went over fine. I never brought it up unprompted, but there were times when the conversation would naturally lead in that direction. If someone starts asking you about your long-term career plans, then I think the best move is to say why going to the firm would fit with your goals, for instance if they have a practice that links with government work that's of interest to you, if you happen to know they've sent a lot of people to certain offices, etc. Of course, temper it by saying that you hope to stay in private practice with the firm for the foreseeable future and if things work out then you'd be thrilled to stay as a partner, etc. But your interviewer knows as well as you (actually, better than you) that you are really unlikely to stay forever, nor do they want you to. Pretending that your whole goal in life is to work at this law firm just makes you look naive.

Pokemon
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Pokemon » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:33 am

I do not understand what you will gain by pushing conversation in that direction. Sure partners might mention, look people at our firm end up doing this... Partners did that in some of my CBs. Yet I would never myself push it in that direction. I do not think I sell myself well to my future employer if I start talking about what I want to do after them. The gf/marriage analogy is spot on in my opinion.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:38 am

Pokemon wrote:I do not understand what you will gain by pushing conversation in that direction. Sure partners might mention, look people at our firm end up doing this... Partners did that in some of my CBs. Yet I would never myself push it in that direction. I do not think I sell myself well to my future employer if I start talking about what I want to do after them. The gf/marriage analogy is spot on in my opinion.

Eh, it's not really, unless your girlfriend expects to dump you in 3-5 years and would like you to get married to a nice girl afterward in order to help her recruit future boyfriends.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:39 am

Pokemon wrote:I do not understand what you will gain by pushing conversation in that direction. Sure partners might mention, look people at our firm end up doing this... Partners did that in some of my CBs. Yet I would never myself push it in that direction. I do not think I sell myself well to my future employer if I start talking about what I want to do after them. The gf/marriage analogy is spot on in my opinion.


I think this absolute perspective is wrong. If you frame it as, "I'd love to make partner, and that's certainly a goal, but we both know it's unlikely, so on the high probability that I don't, firm offers a lot of great landing spots."

Marriage analogy is "spot on" insofar as the probability/"risk profiles" are identical. They are not even close.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:40 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Pokemon wrote:I do not understand what you will gain by pushing conversation in that direction. Sure partners might mention, look people at our firm end up doing this... Partners did that in some of my CBs. Yet I would never myself push it in that direction. I do not think I sell myself well to my future employer if I start talking about what I want to do after them. The gf/marriage analogy is spot on in my opinion.

Eh, it's not really, unless your girlfriend expects to dump you in 3-5 years and would like you to get married to a nice girl afterward in order to help her recruit future boyfriends.


Exactly. I don't think GF has a "business model" of dumping 25% of their suitors every two years. I don't think eventually marrying your GF is as unlikely as making partner at a firm.

Pokemon
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Pokemon » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:42 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Pokemon wrote:I do not understand what you will gain by pushing conversation in that direction. Sure partners might mention, look people at our firm end up doing this... Partners did that in some of my CBs. Yet I would never myself push it in that direction. I do not think I sell myself well to my future employer if I start talking about what I want to do after them. The gf/marriage analogy is spot on in my opinion.

Eh, it's not really, unless your girlfriend expects to dump you in 3-5 years and would like you to get married to a nice girl afterward in order to help her recruit future boyfriends.


Totally sounds like my girlfriend. She even makes me fill questionnaires about our life together, so she can use in recruiting future boyfriends.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby TatteredDignity » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:50 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I discussed exit options a couple of times in my interviews and it went over fine. I never brought it up unprompted, but there were times when the conversation would naturally lead in that direction. If someone starts asking you about your long-term career plans, then I think the best move is to say why going to the firm would fit with your goals, for instance if they have a practice that links with government work that's of interest to you, if you happen to know they've sent a lot of people to certain offices, etc. Of course, temper it by saying that you hope to stay in private practice with the firm for the foreseeable future and if things work out then you'd be thrilled to stay as a partner, etc. But your interviewer knows as well as you (actually, better than you) that you are really unlikely to stay forever, nor do they want you to. Pretending that your whole goal in life is to work at this law firm just makes you look naive.


I handled it this way in an interview yesterday with a big NYC firm. We'll see if I get a callback. #smallsamplesizebutstill

09042014
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:51 am

I wouldn't necessarily say never talk about it, but suggesting non-legal exit options like public policy makes it seem like you'd leave the first moment you can.

Pokemon
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Pokemon » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:02 am

I was speaking from the phone so let me re-calibrate a little bit my position. Obviously, talking about exit options in an interview is not like the blue screen on a computer. Nevertheless, generally, it is not a good idea for you, the interviewee, to start pushing in that direction during the interview. Firms, from what I have heard, barely break even in the first two years of hiring an associate, and do not start seeing profit until 3-4 years down the line. So why would you want to make them aware that even without starting, you are thinking about what you will do when you leave?

Also, firms care about ties to their community? Why would they care about ties if they know and are certain you are there for the short-term and you will never make partner?

Finally, there is a lot of bs in life, and particularly in jerb interviews. Just because it is bs, we do not start calling or acting on it. Though we know that I am more likely to be hit by a car than make a partner at some of these firms, it does not mean that they are looking for someone who will be super-honest about it. Sure, the partner knows you will not make a partner; the partner also knows he will work you like a dog; that does not mean however that we talk about that.

It is not my point that this is an absolute rule. My point is that unprompted, you do not push in that direction, and even when prompted, you push with a lot of care. My answer when I was prompted tended to be that five years from now I see myself in the city where the firm is located, practicing the type of law I have already expressed interest during the interview, at a law firm and in a senior position.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:09 am

That's cool man. Like in most things in life, there's no hard and fast rule about this. It's all about using judgment and framing it a certain way and bringing it up at the right time. It was a pretty stock question/line in about 25 of the 35+ screeners I had, and I ended up with tons of callbacks and offers (and this was back when OCI was 10x worse than what you're seeing now). So take that for what it's worth.

iplulzer
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby iplulzer » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:13 am

These discussions always ignore one critical factor: how desirable a candidate you are. Without that information, these anecdotes are useless, and even potentially harmful

My friend with spectacular credentials was basically the one doing the interviewing during CBs. Firms were falling all over for him and he couldbhave asked whatever the Fuck he wanted. Hisbquestions tended to focus on lifestyle, and picked his firm on that basis.

The rest of us don't have that luxury. So... Ask about exit options if you feel that is something you can afford to do as a great candidate. Otherwise, zip it.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Discussing Exit Options in Interview?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:44 am

My friend with spectacular credentials was basically the one doing the interviewing during CBs. Firms were falling all over for him and he couldbhave asked whatever the Fuck he wanted. Hisbquestions tended to focus on lifestyle, and picked his firm on that basis.


Completely false. Know many who struck out at EIW/OCI/etc. with stellar credentials (3.9+/LR/etc.) and thought they could pull this shit. Also, my credentials were nothing to write home about. Yes, I was at a top school, but my grades were fairly middle of the road. Nothing to assure that I'd come out of that process with an offer and that I had nothing to lose.

At the end of the day, if you pull a faux pas, it doesn't matter what your credentials are.




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