Common mistakes during callbacks?

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Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:52 pm

I've received a few dings from callbacks that (I thought) went really well. What are some common mistakes / faux pas / whatever that interviewees make that scuttle an otherwise good callback interview?

run26.2

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby run26.2 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:26 pm

Inability to distinguish my firm from other firms in a meaningful way.

Lack of enthusiasm--nearly falling asleep in the interview is not a good thing.

Overconfidence.

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rpupkin

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:30 pm

Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby run26.2 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:34 pm

rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).

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zot1

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby zot1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:35 pm

Being myself.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Nathanael » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:38 pm

run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

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rpupkin

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:45 pm

Nathanael wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

Understood. And I cut candidates some slack for that reason. But if I ask you where you had breakfast this morning and you turn your answer into a speech about why you want to work at my law firm, something is wrong. (That literally happened this week.) Listen to the questions, and give responsive answers. Contrary to the advice you may have gotten, you do not need to "sell yourself" with every answer. Try to have a conversation like a normal person.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby run26.2 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:48 pm

Nathanael wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

I get that. That's why it is not an autoding in my book (ok, maybe if there are multiple offenses). The problem, though, is usually that the answer sounds insincere or is an answer to a question that wasn't asked. Basically, you have to find a way to make the answer seem fresh--pausing for a second to think helps a bit.

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YourCaptain

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby YourCaptain » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:56 pm

Complete inability to make conversation. If we're out at lunch, please don't ask me about why [Firm]? Or, if you do, do it in a natural way. Mechanical boilerplate interview questions are so painful to hear if they're not delivered properly or if at the wrong time.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Hikikomorist » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:06 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Nathanael wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

Understood. And I cut candidates some slack for that reason. But if I ask you where you had breakfast this morning and you turn your answer into a speech about why you want to work at my law firm, something is wrong. (That literally happened this week.) Listen to the questions, and give responsive answers. Contrary to the advice you may have gotten, you do not need to "sell yourself" with every answer. Try to have a conversation like a normal person.

I'd love to get more details on this. PM is fine, if you think it's outing.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:30 pm

The advice so far seems to be don't "sell yourself" too hard and that it's better to be normal and just have a casual conversation. However, is it possible to be too casual/laidback and not sell yourself enough? I've struck out so far even though I felt my CBs have gone pretty well, e.g., conversations were not forced or awkward, discussed entertainment/misc. topics like sports, pop culture, etc. instead of grades/work exp. and interviewers seemed to genuinely enjoy just shooting the shit (making jokes, laughing, selling the firm etc.). It's frustrating because the CBs feels like they go really well and then I get hit with the dings.. any advice?

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:36 pm

Hikikomorist wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Nathanael wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

Understood. And I cut candidates some slack for that reason. But if I ask you where you had breakfast this morning and you turn your answer into a speech about why you want to work at my law firm, something is wrong. (That literally happened this week.) Listen to the questions, and give responsive answers. Contrary to the advice you may have gotten, you do not need to "sell yourself" with every answer. Try to have a conversation like a normal person.

I'd love to get more details on this. PM is fine, if you think it's outing.

The "details" don't add much. The interviewee spent maybe two sentences on breakfast, and then awkwardly--without any transition or additional questioning--launched into a spiel about why the unique qualities of our firm were a good fit.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:The advice so far seems to be don't "sell yourself" too hard and that it's better to be normal and just have a casual conversation. However, is it possible to be too casual/laidback and not sell yourself enough? I've struck out so far even though I felt my CBs have gone pretty well, e.g., conversations were not forced or awkward, discussed entertainment/misc. topics like sports, pop culture, etc. instead of grades/work exp. and interviewers seemed to genuinely enjoy just shooting the shit (making jokes, laughing, selling the firm etc.). It's frustrating because the CBs feels like they go really well and then I get hit with the dings.. any advice?


story of my life. but i figured out that you simply cannot control what others really think about you. sometimes it's not even about you. the more i interview the more I realize things will just fall into its place. Our job is to just keep practicing and do our best. i noticed that i have improved so much on interviewing and a lot of that is because i learned to just be myself. It's not that I underprepare and wing it. I research as much as I can but I trust myself enough to improvise without going in with certain prejudice about the firm or the interviewer. I can confidently say conversations have become way more organic and I feel like I am getting more respect from interviewers in the way they talk to me.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby stoopkid13 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:16 am

Genius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The advice so far seems to be don't "sell yourself" too hard and that it's better to be normal and just have a casual conversation. However, is it possible to be too casual/laidback and not sell yourself enough? I've struck out so far even though I felt my CBs have gone pretty well, e.g., conversations were not forced or awkward, discussed entertainment/misc. topics like sports, pop culture, etc. instead of grades/work exp. and interviewers seemed to genuinely enjoy just shooting the shit (making jokes, laughing, selling the firm etc.). It's frustrating because the CBs feels like they go really well and then I get hit with the dings.. any advice?


story of my life. but i figured out that you simply cannot control what others really think about you. sometimes it's not even about you. the more i interview the more I realize things will just fall into its place. Our job is to just keep practicing and do our best. i noticed that i have improved so much on interviewing and a lot of that is because i learned to just be myself. It's not that I underprepare and wing it. I research as much as I can but I trust myself enough to improvise without going in with certain prejudice about the firm or the interviewer. I can confidently say conversations have become way more organic and I feel like I am getting more respect from interviewers in the way they talk to me.


Kind of similar: the advice I got heading into EIP was that interviewing is about preparation, not rehearsal. It sounds like some people fall into the trap of rehearsing answers which comes off as mechanical, forced, or awkward. I feel like it's really more about knowing yourself, knowing the firm, and having the confidence to have an honest conversation about both.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Yeezus Wept » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:34 pm

Asking about pro bono opportunities.

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rpupkin

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:38 pm

stoopkid13 wrote:Kind of similar: the advice I got heading into EIP was that interviewing is about preparation, not rehearsal. It sounds like some people fall into the trap of rehearsing answers which comes off as mechanical, forced, or awkward. I feel like it's really more about knowing yourself, knowing the firm, and having the confidence to have an honest conversation about both.

That's a good way of putting it.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Hikikomorist » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:45 pm

I never intentionally rehearsed answers to interview questions, but I worry most of my answers are starting to sound that way at this point.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:53 pm

Yeezus Wept wrote:Asking about pro bono opportunities.

is this true? Asked this of a few interviewers during my callback and they actually seemed receptive and happy to talk about the pro bono work they did/the firm does and why they take it seriously

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Yeezus Wept wrote:Asking about pro bono opportunities.

is this true? Asked this of a few interviewers during my callback and they actually seemed receptive and happy to talk about the pro bono work they did/the firm does and why they take it seriously

I'm fine with it. Some people and some firms won't be though.

Honestly -- you need to tailor your approach to your interviewer. I figure that if a candidate has made it to my office for a callback, they're more or less qualified and capable of doing the work. So I just want to know if they're going to be a good colleague. So for me, agreed that the fastest way to a negative review is giving canned forced answers and being unable to converse normally.

Part of being a good colleague is also having a good sense of the demands of the job. Everyone we bring in is smart, but some of them don't seem to have a clue what working (a job) is, let alone what biglaw is like. This manifests mostly in overly idealistic statements about what they like about the law and are looking for in a firm. The fact is its all going to be a fair amount of drudgery and I like it when people seem to recognize this but are still enthusiastic about the job.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:33 pm

Many DC interviewers I've had at CBs bring up pro bono themselves and often take up a lot of the interview talking about it, particularly younger associates who talk about the great opportunities it's brought them (getting into court, working directly with clients, making a tangible difference, etc). It's definitely a much bigger deal here than in NY.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Good Guy Gaud » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:40 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Nathanael wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Giving prepared mini-speeches in response to every question instead of just having a conversation.

Agreed (can't believe I did not think of this). This is by far the most common faux pas (and one I point out in the review every time I sense it).


This is so difficult not to slip into when you've answered the same question 25 times

Understood. And I cut candidates some slack for that reason. But if I ask you where you had breakfast this morning and you turn your answer into a speech about why you want to work at my law firm, something is wrong. (That literally happened this week.) Listen to the questions, and give responsive answers. Contrary to the advice you may have gotten, you do not need to "sell yourself" with every answer. Try to have a conversation like a normal person.



How did the breakfast thing come up? Did they travel into town for the interview?

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rpupkin

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:01 pm

Good Guy Gaud wrote:How did the breakfast thing come up? Did they travel into town for the interview?

We grill all of our candidates about breakfast. If you didn't order hash browns, it's an auto-ding.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby run26.2 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Yeezus Wept wrote:Asking about pro bono opportunities.

is this true? Asked this of a few interviewers during my callback and they actually seemed receptive and happy to talk about the pro bono work they did/the firm does and why they take it seriously

Not really true. I wouldn't lead with it or emphasize it. But it is a good way for younger associated to get many types of experience they would not otherwise get for several years (argument, briefing, running a case, client interaction, etc.).

It does depend on the firm, though. If you look for firms that are more likely to try to emphasize getting associates experience at an earlier stage than at other firms, then openness to pro bono will likely be higher.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby BmoreOrLess » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:01 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Good Guy Gaud wrote:How did the breakfast thing come up? Did they travel into town for the interview?

We grill all of our candidates about breakfast. If you didn't order hash browns, it's an auto-ding.


If they're having breakfast at Waffle House, this is very reasonable.

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Re: Common mistakes during callbacks?

Postby Taco » Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:22 pm

I would avoid ordering alcoholic beverages at lunch.



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