Associate lunch behavior - swearing

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Wonnker

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Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby Wonnker » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:22 pm

Hello TLS,

I'm a first-time poster, long-time reader who is currently struggling with Callback Postmortem Syndrome. Yesterday, I had callback with another firm that I am extremely interested in, and I feel like I absolutely crushed my interviews, but I think I might have blown it during the associate lunch by getting too comfortable. Both associates were guys around my age, and we were having good mix of serious and funny conversations, getting along really well, but I swore a couple of times (though I wasn't the first to swear). I believe I used the words, "dumbass" and "asshole," but not directed toward any particular individual or organization (I don't really remember the context, seemed insignificant until this morning). Neither of them seemed put off by my colorful language; both laughed and our conversation continued as before, but I worry that I fell for the lunch trap... If I were the associate taking an interviewee out to lunch, I would not give a flying f*** what language is used (within reason), as long as he/she seems sharp and is entertaining to speak with, but it seems like the sort of thing that would get an interviewee rejected in most circumstances.

Anyone have opinions on this?

jphiggo

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby jphiggo » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:27 pm

Can't see an upside to swearing while you're being recruited, so you probably shouldn't. With that said, stop worrying.

SLS_AMG

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby SLS_AMG » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:28 pm

It's pretty unlikely that associates (who I'm guessing are first or second years) would judge you for behaving exactly like they did, so I wouldn't worry about it. Even if it were something big, you can't fix it now.

That said, you are correct to be concerned as a general matter. It's probably a good sign if you can get associates comfortable enough to relax around you, but you should behave professionally at all times--and being fun and professional aren't mutually exclusive.

acr

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby acr » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Probably depends on the context. "Asshole" and "dumbass" are common words in the lexicon of the legal profession. Especially if the associates seemed cool and were the first to use the poor language, I wouldn't sweat it.

But again, it probably depends on the context. There's a big difference between saying "my classmates are dumbasses compared to me" like a pompous dick and "Steve Bannon is an asshole."

Spot

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby Spot » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:29 pm

It's not a good move. I personally probably wouldn't mark someone down for swearing during an interview. But it does show bad judgment. And I absolutely have seen some people get dinged for swearing during the interview.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:50 pm

Pretty sure some interviewees have cursed but I didn't register it. Seems like a non issue. So many of us have potty mouths I don't think it would turn many heads.

AspiringAspirant

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby AspiringAspirant » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:01 pm

Wonnker wrote:Hello TLS,

I'm a first-time poster, long-time reader who is currently struggling with Callback Postmortem Syndrome. Yesterday, I had callback with another firm that I am extremely interested in, and I feel like I absolutely crushed my interviews, but I think I might have blown it during the associate lunch by getting too comfortable. Both associates were guys around my age, and we were having good mix of serious and funny conversations, getting along really well, but I swore a couple of times (though I wasn't the first to swear). I believe I used the words, "dumbass" and "asshole," but not directed toward any particular individual or organization (I don't really remember the context, seemed insignificant until this morning). Neither of them seemed put off by my colorful language; both laughed and our conversation continued as before, but I worry that I fell for the lunch trap... If I were the associate taking an interviewee out to lunch, I would not give a flying f*** what language is used (within reason), as long as he/she seems sharp and is entertaining to speak with, but it seems like the sort of thing that would get an interviewee rejected in most circumstances.

Anyone have opinions on this?


Definitely a non-issue. Interviewers aren't trying to trap you during lunch. If they swore and laughed when you did, it means they don't care.

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rpupkin

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby rpupkin » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:12 pm

Wonnker wrote:Hello TLS,

I'm a first-time poster, long-time reader who is currently struggling with Callback Postmortem Syndrome. Yesterday, I had callback with another firm that I am extremely interested in, and I feel like I absolutely crushed my interviews, but I think I might have blown it during the associate lunch by getting too comfortable. Both associates were guys around my age, and we were having good mix of serious and funny conversations, getting along really well, but I swore a couple of times (though I wasn't the first to swear). I believe I used the words, "dumbass" and "asshole," but not directed toward any particular individual or organization (I don't really remember the context, seemed insignificant until this morning). Neither of them seemed put off by my colorful language; both laughed and our conversation continued as before, but I worry that I fell for the lunch trap..

You fell for a classic lunch trap. When we take summer-associate applicants out to lunch or dinner, we have a series of traps laid out for them. We routinely use the swearing trap—i.e., we'll start swearing to see if the applicant will start swearing as well; if they do, it's an auto-ding. We also like to use the "ordering alcohol" trap. I'll order a glass of wine or a cocktail; if the applicant does the same, he or she is not getting an offer.

You just have to chalk this one up as a learning experience. Be more vigilant about avoiding lunch traps in the future.

lilboat

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby lilboat » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:41 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Wonnker wrote:Hello TLS,

I'm a first-time poster, long-time reader who is currently struggling with Callback Postmortem Syndrome. Yesterday, I had callback with another firm that I am extremely interested in, and I feel like I absolutely crushed my interviews, but I think I might have blown it during the associate lunch by getting too comfortable. Both associates were guys around my age, and we were having good mix of serious and funny conversations, getting along really well, but I swore a couple of times (though I wasn't the first to swear). I believe I used the words, "dumbass" and "asshole," but not directed toward any particular individual or organization (I don't really remember the context, seemed insignificant until this morning). Neither of them seemed put off by my colorful language; both laughed and our conversation continued as before, but I worry that I fell for the lunch trap..

You fell for a classic lunch trap. When we take summer-associate applicants out to lunch or dinner, we have a series of traps laid out for them. We routinely use the swearing trap—i.e., we'll start swearing to see if the applicant will start swearing as well; if they do, it's an auto-ding. We also like to use the "ordering alcohol" trap. I'll order a glass of wine or a cocktail; if the applicant does the same, he or she is not getting an offer.

You just have to chalk this one up as a learning experience. Be more vigilant about avoiding lunch traps in the future.


lol

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Rowinguy2009

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:45 pm

Your goal during these associate lunches (to the extent that they matter, which varies from firm to firm) is to get the associates to like you. Associates sometimes secretly care about who gets selected more than even the partners because that's a person you'll potentially be getting lunch, drinks, etc. with on a somewhat regular basis.

If it seemed to you like you were getting along well then I wouldn't worry about this at all. Some people might be mildly put off by cursing, but an equal (or maybe even greater) number might take it as a sign that you're a person who's able to be chill.

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Re: Associate lunch behavior - swearing

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:18 pm

As a general rule, obviously, never forget you're on an interview. Don't let your guard down too much. You can certainly enjoy yourself, but you're still being evaluated; you're still on an interview.

But as others have said, in practice associates really just care about whether they like you as a person. If you're hitting it off with them and using similar language* and getting along great, I doubt they'd f you over. And if they did... would you really want to work with such backstabbers anyway?

*Obvs there are different levels of foul language and you should never be the first to escalate.



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