Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

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Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:44 pm

Has the community gone back to an employer after receiving a rejection and asked "why" -- not in a petty or angry way, of course, but as a legitimate question as to their opinion of my character, work experience, grades (or lack thereof). There aren't many firms to which I felt a comfortable rapport, one comfortable enough, anyway, to where I could ask this legitimately to an employer.

Except for Skadden, who just rejected me a few days ago. The guys who interviewed me know me well enough to know that if I were to ask, it wouldn't be out of spite, but of a legit interest in their practice and an honest attempt to understand why I may or may not fit there. But before I ask--has the community done this? Is it too risky to risk future opportunities with the firm?

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:51 pm

It won't do you any long-term harm but generally comes off as desperate.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:39 pm

I sent out a bunch of emails asking for feedback with mixed results. Some gave me the canned "tough choices" line while I found out that some interviewers really liked me but the rejection was out of their hands. One interviewer and I have a call schedule to discuss the interview in depth.

I've been framing it in a way that emphasizes that I'm looking for feedback, rather than me begging for another shot.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby UVA2B » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:47 pm

To me personally, this question won't likely lead to anything positive. Most interviews in this profession are as much about personal fit and connection as they are about professional credentials. You could probably get the occasional candid "your grades were below what we bring in for callbacks," but more often people who interview you will save personal face by selling that they really liked you, but for [insert firm-wide reasons] they were unable to offer you a position. It's why firms send out cordial rejections regularly. It doesn't do them any good to tell you the behind baseball reasons for turning you down for a position, so why would they spend time explaining the inner mechanics of law firm hiring, when that mechanics is highly particular to that firm?

I suppose if you developed a genuine rapport with the interviewer, you can ask for their mentorship, but you better be sure they felt the same way about your connection as you did. Just remember, firms send people to interview at screeners who are generally likable and have an easy connection with the people they're interviewing, so you could be way off on whether that connection was there.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:57 pm

You shouldn't do this. But if you're going to do this, you should phrase it as "I'd appreciate any feedback on my interview" rather than "why did your firm reject me." And you should direct your questions to the one or two most junior associates with which you interacted during your callback (if you're referring to screening interviews, then no, no, no).

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:46 pm

I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:53 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


I know that, for me, it was about seeing if I made any missteps in the interview since that seems to be holding me back. Maybe I said something that I was unaware hurt me or turned them off. It might just have been a personal preference but I figure that what's the worst thing that happens, they give me a canned response or ignore me? That's no worse off than I am now. But maybe I can avoid making mistakes in the future.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:57 am

I had an unpredictable OCI cycle - CBs with more competitive firms that are a terrible fit for my professed interests, lots of weirdly personal and pained rejections from firms that were a seemingly good fit, etc.

In an attempt to diagnose my issues, I emailed a junior associate at one of the firms that I felt I really vibed with during screeners and thought was a perfect fit/attainable. I had been rejected by this firm more than a week prior and I expressed my understanding of my rejection, my thankfulness for their time and simply asked for feedback for myself going forward. I received a callback.

Obviously every rejection is different and you should use your best judgment. For example, I chose not to press further on an interviewer who personalized my rejection letter and expressed hopes that we might stay in touch in the future. If you do decide to ask for feedback, be sure you're asking for feedback and not just asking why. Also, if you have a lurking suspicion that it might have to do with grades/WE/etc, then maybe spare them the awkwardness of trying to explain.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:58 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


What if we changed this question up a bit? What if the question wasn't focused on "how can I do better for another firm's interview" but rather "I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm capable of working for you and I'm prepared to contact you next April when you're looking for 3Ls at T6 schools. And I'm going to bust my ass to get your recognition." And, why not add onto that: "what do you need me to do to ensure that you smile the next time you see me?"

Is there merit in this?

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
In an attempt to diagnose my issues, I emailed a junior associate at one of the firms that I felt I really vibed with during screeners and thought was a perfect fit/attainable. I had been rejected by this firm more than a week prior and I expressed my understanding of my rejection, my thankfulness for their time and simply asked for feedback for myself going forward. I received a callback.


Solid. What was the size of the firm?

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
In an attempt to diagnose my issues, I emailed a junior associate at one of the firms that I felt I really vibed with during screeners and thought was a perfect fit/attainable. I had been rejected by this firm more than a week prior and I expressed my understanding of my rejection, my thankfulness for their time and simply asked for feedback for myself going forward. I received a callback.


Solid. What was the size of the firm?


Its a V50 firm, large office.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


I know that, for me, it was about seeing if I made any missteps in the interview since that seems to be holding me back. Maybe I said something that I was unaware hurt me or turned them off. It might just have been a personal preference but I figure that what's the worst thing that happens, they give me a canned response or ignore me? That's no worse off than I am now. But maybe I can avoid making mistakes in the future.


Look, by the time I'm back at my computer evaluating a candidate, I've already forgotten everything you said. A bad interview rarely has a moment where you poison the well. It's not one of these things where everything's going great and then you blurt out "whites are the superior race" and I can pinpoint your mistake. Bad interviewees are just quiet, unengaging, and bland, and that's what I remember when I recommend someone for an offer or not. So yeah, I guess you have nothing to lose with the postmortem emails; just don't be expecting any great insights.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


What if we changed this question up a bit? What if the question wasn't focused on "how can I do better for another firm's interview" but rather "I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm capable of working for you and I'm prepared to contact you next April when you're looking for 3Ls at T6 schools. And I'm going to bust my ass to get your recognition." And, why not add onto that: "what do you need me to do to ensure that you smile the next time you see me?"

Is there merit in this?


You sound like my desperate ex.

I guess every overture is on the table for as long as you don't have a job.

But don't be like my desperate ex.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby ghostoftraynor » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:24 am

I guess this worked for someone, but I really wouldn't recommend it in general (also unclear if that poster had been rejected or simply hadn't heard back--much different scenarios). Most likely the associate you "vibed" with had little say in the decision (you interview several people and it probably takes unanimity or close to it to get an offer).

Get feedback from mock interviewers. They are more likely to be honest and you are far less likely to creep out your future professional network.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:04 am

This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


What if we changed this question up a bit? What if the question wasn't focused on "how can I do better for another firm's interview" but rather "I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm capable of working for you and I'm prepared to contact you next April when you're looking for 3Ls at T6 schools. And I'm going to bust my ass to get your recognition." And, why not add onto that: "what do you need me to do to ensure that you smile the next time you see me?"

Is there merit in this?

There may be some very small percentage of interviewers who think this shows gumption or initiative or the like, but it really does sound like a stalker. Also, "smile" is a really weird thing to be looking for here.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby kalvano » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:58 am

This is a bad idea. When I interview people, it's usually not a "bad interview" (although there was one time), but instead either (i) a number of qualified candidates and they can't all be given offers, or (ii) someone else was just a little more personable, or seemed like a better fit, or whatever.

There's no magic answer. These types of questions are what mock interviews are for.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:08 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.


Why would there be downside if I want to work at the firm in the future?

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.


Why would there be downside if I want to work at the firm in the future?

Because people will remember you as that weird applicant who wanted an explanation for the firm's decision not to extend an offer.

Don't do this.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:19 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.


Why would there be downside if I want to work at the firm in the future?

Because people will remember you as that weird applicant who wanted an explanation for the firm's decision not to extend an offer.

Don't do this.


Well too late now.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.


Why would there be downside if I want to work at the firm in the future?

Because people will remember you as that weird applicant who wanted an explanation for the firm's decision not to extend an offer.

Don't do this.


Well too late now.


Odds are the associate you e-mailed won't be around when you apply to work at the firm in the future so don't worry about it.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby First Offense » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:38 pm

The time to ask for honest feedback was during interview prep over the summer from your firm's career services.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby SFSpartan » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:41 pm

This is a really bad idea, especially given that you're planning on using the follow up in a "hey, notice me" type of way. The fact that everyone immediately told you it was a bad idea is a good tip-off there.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:This is just going to kind of embarrass you. It won't yield any reliable feedback. There's some downside if you ever might want to work at that firm in the future.

I think the question sort of misses the nature of the relationship you have with the firm. They are interviewing hundreds of law students over a few weeks. Most of them are pretty similar. The firm has to make cuts. It's not personal.


Why would there be downside if I want to work at the firm in the future?

Because people will remember you as that weird applicant who wanted an explanation for the firm's decision not to extend an offer.

Don't do this.


Well too late now.


Odds are the associate you e-mailed won't be around when you apply to work at the firm in the future so don't worry about it.


Yeah but the partners will be.

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Re: Dos and Donts: OCI Rejection -- Asking Employer Why

Postby elendinel » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sort of at a loss as to what all of you rejecting-dwelling people expect to accomplish by doing this. If you get any response at all, it's guaranteed to be a lie (the only possible response that's even vaguely true is that their firm gets many more qualified applicants than they have spots for). And if by some miracle someone actually told you the truth, which is that you have mediocre grades from mediocre schools and/or you're not a particularly interesting or likeable person, what is it that you expect to do with that information?


What if we changed this question up a bit? What if the question wasn't focused on "how can I do better for another firm's interview" but rather "I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm capable of working for you and I'm prepared to contact you next April when you're looking for 3Ls at T6 schools. And I'm going to bust my ass to get your recognition." And, why not add onto that: "what do you need me to do to ensure that you smile the next time you see me?"

Is there merit in this?


This has to be flame.



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