Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

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cannoneer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:17 pm

Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby cannoneer » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:37 pm

It's easy to find lists of questions interviewers might ask you, but I can't find any sample answers. What's an appropriate response to "why did you go to law school" or "tell me about yourself" or "how would your co-workers describe you" or "why do you want to work for us"?

Naturally, you should be honest and your responses should be somewhat different from what anyone else's would be. Still, it would be helpful to see what acceptable answers look like.

Any links?

edmoser
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:25 pm

Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby edmoser » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:30 am

I think you're out of luck. I tried looking for some when I was interviewing and the best I could find online was generic advice that wasn't specifically directed at law students.

cannoneer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:17 pm

Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby cannoneer » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:46 am

This is the best I've been able to come up with so far:

http://www.bcgsearch.com/article/60643/ ... ewing-tips

(Common questions with author's comments at the bottom of the page.)

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Pufer
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Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby Pufer » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:23 am

"Why did you go to law school?" model answer from Rachel Moran's faculty webpage at UC Irvine:

I struggled with the decision about whether to go to law school or get a Ph.D. in psychology. In college, I helped two of my professors with research that made the case for adopting guidelines for women in the construction industry. The Department of Labor had said that women had no interest in construction jobs, but our findings showed that there was considerable interest when guidelines made the jobs seem accessible. Afterward, I was driving down the highway and spotted a woman in a hardhat working on a construction project. That experience made me realize how powerful law could be in changing people’s lives, and so I went to law school instead of graduate school in psychology.


The real answer for 73% of law students according to a Kaplan survey is "I wanted to make a lot of money."

Odds that anyone in that 73% will be honest: virtually nil. Tell a story.

"Tell me about yourself" is the interview equivalent of "What's the word?" It's basically an icebreaker. Your only task is to say something interesting and brief. If the interviewer wants to hear more, they can ask. If they want to move on to real questions, allow them to do so quickly without boring them with a lengthy discussion of your life from age 3 on. This is where you show that you're an affable type with good communications skills.

"Why do you want to work with us?" is simply probing you to see if you've done your research. Tell them about their practice.

"How would your coworkers describe you?" Come up with a one or two word response for this and then go into an explanation, painting a picture, maybe with stories. This is a question where they want you to list money phrases that cover-letter books like to talk up, so mix in shit like "good team player," "solid leadership," "diligent," "ethical," etc. while telling your story. All you really have to do is make some effort to disguise that you're merely reading off a list of these money phrases.

-Pufer

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gcalvin
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Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby gcalvin » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:17 am

Another common question is "where do you see yourself in five years" or something along those lines. If you have genuine goals and ambitions, by all means be honest and put them out there -- the passion and vision will reflect well on you. If you don't really know what you want to be doing in five years, you might consider saying "I'd like to have your job." The ambition is good, it's flattering without being overly brown-nosey, and a lot of applicants don't have the confidence to pull it off. It wouldn't work in every situation -- I wouldn't advise using that line with a managing partner of a huge firm, for instance -- but it's along the lines of how you want to sound.

-Gary-

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Living in America
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Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby Living in America » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:59 pm

you might consider saying "I'd like to have your job."

No, no, no. Don't say that.

If you're not sure, just be honest about it. Talk about what you have been considering, but let the interviewer know that you are keeping your options open and are excited about the possibilities.

cannoneer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:17 pm

Re: Sample Answers to Interview Questions?

Postby cannoneer » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:57 pm

Thanks for the tips. I found a book with a great chapter on interviewing that's targeted at law students. It's called Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Walton (2ed., 2008). The interviewing chapter's about 200 pages long and has a lot of preparation advice, including sample answers and recommendations on how to brainstorm answers.

Edit: actually it's very long-winded, and the 200 pages could probably be condensed to about 30.




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