Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

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Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:23 pm

Should you behave any differently? Ask different questions? Any suggestions?

I am curious because I have a callback coming up that is pretty much all associates, whereas normally in callbacks I have been interviewing with partners.

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Re: Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

Postby chipmunk » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:56 pm

I don't think that you should behave differently. You should be on your best behavior during all of the formal interviews, and be slightly more 'relaxed' during lunch.

However, I do ask some different questions depending on whether the interviewer is an associate or a partner:

I think with partners, it's good to ask some of the bigger picture questions because they've been there longer and have a larger stake in the firm. You may want to ask, for example, if they've observed any trends in the years they have been there. It's also helpful to ask how they evaluate the associates, what "mission" they are trying to promote, etc. If you feel comfortable with it, you can ask about the economy and the firm's financial state, but I really wouldn't recommend this.

With associates, you can turn it around a bit and ask them what kind of feedback they have received. You might also want to ask them how much client interaction they have had as an associate in X department, what their role was in X case/deal they just successfully litigated/negotiated, and how their "role" in cases/deals has changed over the last 4 years (for example). If they are new associates (1-2 years), this is a good opportunity to ask questions about summer associate life, since they've just recently gone through the program. During a lunch with two new associates, I even asked about the workload in the first few years (its risky -- but I got an offer anyway). You might be able to ask those 'riskier' questions with newer associates -- in my experience, they tend to be more candid.

You should go through the list of interviewers that they give you and think of at least one unique question for each person. The fact that an interviewer is an associate isn't going to change the questions you ask completely, but it should be one factor of many. Associates have a slightly different perspective, and you should take advantage of that.

Other than that, my interviews with associates as compared to partners have not been all that different. How the interview goes(formal v. less formal, substantive v. conversational, easy v. awkward) depends primarily on the interviewers personality and how it matches with yours.

Good luck!!


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Re: Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

Postby bigben » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:49 am

This is not exactly the question you are asking, but my understanding is that the influence they have over your being hired goes something like this:

Partner on Recruiting Committee >>> Partner >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Associate on Recruiting Committee >>> Associate


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Re: Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

Postby gollymolly » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:00 pm

Last edited by gollymolly on Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Interviewing with Associates versus Partners

Postby thompson » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:25 pm

gollymolly wrote:I treated them a lot differently (And for what it's worth, I ended up having a pretty large callback--> offer ratio). Basically, I thought of partners as bosses and associates as (senior) coworkers. So at all times I acted professionally, but I put more of an emphasis on "I'm smart, I work hard, and I'm going to make money for you eventually" for the partners, and "I'm going to be easy to work with, we could grab a drink after work, you can assign me stuff without worrying about me embarassing you in front of the partners" for the associates.

I think that's probably the best way to describe the difference in how you should act. You want to give the impression that you'll work hard to both partners and associates, but the fact of the matter is that the partner is going to be more focused on the bottom-line while the associate is looking for someone who won't be a PITA to work with at 11pm on some deal.

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