Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

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Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:24 pm

I am a 1L and just landed an interview with a company, by chance I happened to have taken several seminars under a former CEO. The ex-CEO knows me by name and everything, is it worth mentioning his role in my professional development during the interview.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a 1L and just landed an interview with a company, by chance I happened to have taken several seminars under a former CEO. The ex-CEO knows me by name and everything, is it worth mentioning his role in my professional development during the interview.


If you can do it in a non-douchey way. When asked why you're interested in the company, you can mention him. If he knows you, it would be better if he would email the hiring people on your behalf.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:35 pm

how big of a company? and did the CEO leave on good terms (retirement or the like? Or forced out because s/he was royal asshole or sucked?)

Regardless of the above, probably not -- IMO -- a worthwhile strategy.

EDIT - agree w/ trebek - the key is to do this in a non-douchey way -- which might be tough.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:36 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:how big of a company? and did the CEO leave on good terms (retirement or the like? Or forced out because s/he was royal asshole or sucked?)

Regardless of the above, probably not -- IMO -- a worthwhile strategy.

EDIT - agree w/ trebek - the key is to do this in a non-douchey way -- which might be tough.


For the market that it's in, it's the largest at around 70k employees.

I don't think I'm a douchey person, so that shouldn't be too hard.

Also, do you think it's appropriate to email the old intern and ask some questions?

Sort of not related but is asking about the hiring timeline appropriate?

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:how big of a company? and did the CEO leave on good terms (retirement or the like? Or forced out because s/he was royal asshole or sucked?)

Regardless of the above, probably not -- IMO -- a worthwhile strategy.

EDIT - agree w/ trebek - the key is to do this in a non-douchey way -- which might be tough.


For the market that it's in, it's the largest at around 70k employees.

I don't think I'm a douchey person, so that shouldn't be too hard.

Also, do you think it's appropriate to email the old intern and ask some questions?

Sort of not related but is asking about the hiring timeline appropriate?


It won't be douchey because of you, it just comes off as entitled (aka douchey) dropping the CEO's name. Also, 70k employee company is objectively massive. In that large of a company, I definitely wouldn't name drop to to some cog in the legal department.... "Oh why do you want to work at Apple? Well, you know, Tim Cook and I go back and are on a first name basis..." ... not a good look.

And yes, asking about timeline is totally appropriate... usually goes like this: "do you have any other questions for us?" ... "yeah - what are the next steps in the hiring process?"

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:50 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:It won't be douchey because of you, it just comes off as entitled (aka douchey) dropping the CEO's name. Also, 70k employee company is objectively massive. In that large of a company, I definitely wouldn't name drop to to some cog in the legal department.... "Oh why do you want to work at Apple? Well, you know, Tim Cook and I go back and are on a first name basis..." ... not a good look.

Agree with this.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby CenterFringe » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a 1L and just landed an interview with a company, by chance I happened to have taken several seminars under a former CEO. The ex-CEO knows me by name and everything, is it worth mentioning his role in my professional development during the interview.


"I had several seminars under XX. I found YY particularly compelling and [did ZZ with XX in a way that proves YY]." I think this is the best you're going to do without coming across as a douche, and that second sentence might be a bridge too far, depending on how relevant the story is.

As someone else said, if you want to leverage this relationship, he needs to e-mail the hiring department on your behalf.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby elendinel » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:39 pm

If it's response to "why here, specifically," maybe. I. e., "well I took a few seminars with _____ and found them really interesting, so I looked into you guys and here's what I love about you guys, specifically."

Otherwise I'd advise against; it's really a mixed bag in terms of whether or not the person you talk to is going to think fondly or not about the person you namedrop, whether he left amicably or not. Also, if done the wrong way, it sounds a lot like you love the old regime and not the new one (which will inevitably be doing things differently/have varying opinions about the goals and values of the old regime). You can say "I talked to so-and-so and it seems you have the same vision," but then it's really not helpful to namedrop.

In the future if you're applying somewhere that you know a professor has worked, I think you should either get them to be a reference or have them forward your app to the employer. Not helpful now, but keep it in mind for 2L.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby scandk » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:57 pm

rpupkin wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:It won't be douchey because of you, it just comes off as entitled (aka douchey) dropping the CEO's name. Also, 70k employee company is objectively massive. In that large of a company, I definitely wouldn't name drop to to some cog in the legal department.... "Oh why do you want to work at Apple? Well, you know, Tim Cook and I go back and are on a first name basis..." ... not a good look.

Agree with this.


Is the no to name dropping specific to these circumstances? If we met some associates/partners at 1L networking events or for coffee, and we really got along, would it be tacky to mention them in interviews? Something along the lines of, "person x mentioned y about your firm, which I'm really interested in," or "person x told me that the firm is very y, which is really appealing because z."

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby scandk » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:57 pm

accidental anon^

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:It won't be douchey because of you, it just comes off as entitled (aka douchey) dropping the CEO's name. Also, 70k employee company is objectively massive. In that large of a company, I definitely wouldn't name drop to to some cog in the legal department.... "Oh why do you want to work at Apple? Well, you know, Tim Cook and I go back and are on a first name basis..." ... not a good look.

Agree with this.


Is the no to name dropping specific to these circumstances? If we met some associates/partners at 1L networking events or for coffee, and we really got along, would it be tacky to mention them in interviews? Something along the lines of, "person x mentioned y about your firm, which I'm really interested in," or "person x told me that the firm is very y, which is really appealing because z."

Yeah, this is fine if done naturally--i.e., if it's responsive to an actual question. But never go out of your way to force a name-drop into an answer. It comes off poorly.

Like, if I ask you why you're interested in working in Chicago, and if 20 seconds later you're telling me about this really interesting conversation you had with [NAME PARTNER] about his trial experience, then you're making a mistake.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby redsox550 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:41 am

solution is pretty simple, in your why this company answer, talk a lot about the culture and goals of the company that you heard fantastic things about, they will likely ask you "who did you hear that from", and then u answer. done

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:47 am

Not OP. I'd advise against this... I name dropped (family member has prominent job in my state) and as soon as I said it I regretted it... The guy I was interviewing with didn't care at all and just said "nice man" and I felt like an idiot. No CB. I think the person name dropping expects it to be more impactful and meaningful when in reality it's literally just a person that you know; big deal.

I think when people ''name drop'' it is, 90% of the time, extremely douchey and ill received. Who really cares if you "know" a person? It just doesn't carry any substance or significance. I learned the hard way.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby fxb3 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:12 pm

I think the rules for name dropping need to be:

1. If the name you're thinking about dropping is "big" (either someone very high up or super-connected to the person you're interviewing with), you do NOT drop it, basically ever. Because if it's really a good connection the "big" person will work things on the inside for you. (Of course, if the interviewer brings it up, you can talk about it. "Bill Gates called to say great things about you." "Oh, that's so nice of him. Yeah, Willie G is a great guy, he's given me really great advice about entry-level compliance positions.") In my experience doing biglaw recruiting, the couple of times that someone dropped a big-time partner's name and I had not separately heard from the partner already, I've invariably called that partner and they've said, at best, "oh, yeah, his dad and I play tennis. Don't really care if we hire him."

2. If the name you're thinking about dropping is "small," like an associate at a biglaw firm, you can drop only as a way of partially explaining your interest in the firm. But you have to use your judgment about (a) whether that person is a douche who no one likes, and (b) whether you sound like you're just repeating that person's blowing smoke. (That is, I wouldn't say, "I'm interested in Skadden because Joe Blow explained to me that in these challenging business times, clients are more and more coming to Skadden with their most complex and intricate legal problems so that the firm can find creative, business-justified solutions.")

3. Never drop names that have only a tenuous connection or are for celebrity effect only. ("Why are you interested in relocating to New York?" "Mayor Bloomberg has the house next to ours in Bermuda, and he told my mom that it's a great city.")

But as a general rule, it's still better for your connections to go "inside" on your behalf rather than you just using their name.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:08 pm

fxb3 wrote:I think the rules for name dropping need to be:

1. If the name you're thinking about dropping is "big" (either someone very high up or super-connected to the person you're interviewing with), you do NOT drop it, basically ever. Because if it's really a good connection the "big" person will work things on the inside for you. (Of course, if the interviewer brings it up, you can talk about it. "Bill Gates called to say great things about you." "Oh, that's so nice of him. Yeah, Willie G is a great guy, he's given me really great advice about entry-level compliance positions.") In my experience doing biglaw recruiting, the couple of times that someone dropped a big-time partner's name and I had not separately heard from the partner already, I've invariably called that partner and they've said, at best, "oh, yeah, his dad and I play tennis. Don't really care if we hire him."

2. If the name you're thinking about dropping is "small," like an associate at a biglaw firm, you can drop only as a way of partially explaining your interest in the firm. But you have to use your judgment about (a) whether that person is a douche who no one likes, and (b) whether you sound like you're just repeating that person's blowing smoke. (That is, I wouldn't say, "I'm interested in Skadden because Joe Blow explained to me that in these challenging business times, clients are more and more coming to Skadden with their most complex and intricate legal problems so that the firm can find creative, business-justified solutions.")

3. Never drop names that have only a tenuous connection or are for celebrity effect only. ("Why are you interested in relocating to New York?" "Mayor Bloomberg has the house next to ours in Bermuda, and he told my mom that it's a great city.")

But as a general rule, it's still better for your connections to go "inside" on your behalf rather than you just using their name.

Excellent advice. I agree with all points.

Here's a general rule of thumb: when in doubt, don't name drop. It's more likely to hurt than to help.
Last edited by rpupkin on Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is it worth name-dropping during an interview?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP. I'd advise against this... I name dropped (family member has prominent job in my state) and as soon as I said it I regretted it... The guy I was interviewing with didn't care at all and just said "nice man" and I felt like an idiot. No CB. I think the person name dropping expects it to be more impactful and meaningful when in reality it's literally just a person that you know; big deal.

I think when people ''name drop'' it is, 90% of the time, extremely douchey and ill received. Who really cares if you "know" a person? It just doesn't carry any substance or significance. I learned the hard way.

When I interview people, this is almost always how it comes off. Have had a few people say that they are interested in the firm because they took a class taught by [partner] and then look at me expectantly. My response is usually, OK, any other reason? Because unless that person is willing to vouch for you, it's pretty much irrelevant that you know them. Also you have no idea how I feel about that partner and it may very well be that, if you like that partner, I may think less of you.

If it feels like name dropping, don't do it. It will feel as forced as it is, and will make you seem desperate. If it comes up naturally in conversation, fine, but you wouldn't be planning on an Internet forum about it if that was how it was going to come up.



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