Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

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Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:38 pm

So I just found out my interview at a US office of one of my top choice firms is with a partner who speaks French (listed online) and got a degree from Sciences-Po. My resume lists French as "near-fluent" and I have significant international work experience in French speaking regions. While I anticipate and could deal with a short exchange in French, I'm worried the partner will ask to conduct the entire interview in French, in which case I'm pretty fucked (I will be far less articulate about anything legal/technical than in English).

In all seriousness, does this happen? Anyone have an experience to share? Would an OCI interviewer actually expect an applicant to perform the entire interview in another language, or should I only expect a couple minutes in that language at most?

Thanks.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:51 pm

Dunno about French, but the hiring partner of a firm I worked at said he always has a Spanish-speaking attorney drop in on callbacks to see if people really speak Spanish. If language is a reason why they're interviewing you, you'll have to speak some. Dunno how much.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:53 pm

If you put near-fluent, then I think it's definitely possible.

My undergraduate major was German. I intentionally left off any mention of fluency because I'm semi-"conversational" at best. I'm hoping the major alone doesn't mean I'm going to face this.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:30 pm

OP here - thanks for the comments. It was a blind OCI lottery, so the interview isn't because I can speak another language, they couldn't have seen my resume before. And I'm fine with confirming that I can speak it - I'm just not OK with an entire 20-25 minutes conducted in it.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:37 pm

I've had about half of an OCI interview conducted in Japanese, but that was for a Tokyo office.

I think you should be prepared to go through the normal questions in French, but I'd expect that they don't do much for questions in French.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:54 pm

These other replies seem pretty reasonable; I think you're probably ok for the interview. However, I'm wondering why you described yourself as "near-fluent" if you can't hold a 20-minute conversation in French. Maybe "conversational" would be the more accurate way to describe it on your resume.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Chrstgtr » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:03 pm

If you can't back it up, don't list it.

I do not understand why people do this with languages. You would not put somebody as a reference and then hope that the reference isn't called so why do it with a language. These firms have huge staffs, somebody on staff is bound to be able to speak the language you list especially if it is as common as french.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:00 am

I had a screener for a Tokyo-firm entirely in Japanese. Just to add to all of the above comments, I would suggest brushing up on relevant vocabulary that you know might get asked/used (e.g. the word "litigation" or something) and practice some of the things you'd say in English in French.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby SLS_AMG » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:58 am

Chrstgtr wrote:If you can't back it up, don't list it.

I do not understand why people do this with languages. You would not put somebody as a reference and then hope that the reference isn't called so why do it with a language. These firms have huge staffs, somebody on staff is bound to be able to speak the language you list especially if it is as common as french.


+100000

If you can't speak a language, don't list it. It's simple, really. If you list fluency in a language that you aren't fluent in, you deserve to be interviewed in that language, and it will eventually happen.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby BVest » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:54 am

SLS_AMG wrote:
Chrstgtr wrote:If you can't back it up, don't list it.

I do not understand why people do this with languages. You would not put somebody as a reference and then hope that the reference isn't called so why do it with a language. These firms have huge staffs, somebody on staff is bound to be able to speak the language you list especially if it is as common as french.


+100000

If you can't speak a language, don't list it. It's simple, really. If you list fluency in a language that you aren't fluent in, you deserve to be interviewed in that language, and it will eventually happen.


Indeed. Even if you are fluent in a second language, you may want to stick with "conversational/conversant in," especially if your fluency is based on literature and conversational study and is lacking in depth of technical legal vocabulary.

Personally after some interviews I wonder if I'm fluent in English. (But then, I don't have that on my resume either.)

Whoops... accidental anon. -- BVest -- see, I told you I questioned my fluency.

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Re: Conducting OCI Interviews in other Languages

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here - thanks for the comments. It was a blind OCI lottery, so the interview isn't because I can speak another language, they couldn't have seen my resume before. And I'm fine with confirming that I can speak it - I'm just not OK with an entire 20-25 minutes conducted in it.


If you can't handle 20-25 minutes of conversation in a foreign language, you're not "nearly fluent" in that language, period, and shouldn't list yourself as such. I know I'm kind of piling on here, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

I conducted a significant portion (i.e. a half-hour) of a callback in a foreign language, and nobody asked me anything that required some crazy technical/legal vocabulary. It'll just be normal interview stuff, but in that language, to see if you are an insufferable d-bag, in that language.

Long story short: if you're actually nearly-fluent, you should be fine. If you're not, you won't.

posted as Anon by mistake: elterrible78



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