I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

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Anonymous User
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I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:40 am

Hey guys,
I've now had three interviews (dist ct). None of them have gone well. I just clam up and can't think on my feet, my sense of humor withers away, and I end up grinning like an idiot. I am sure that I come off as a boring sycophant. My transitions are awkward, my questions fall flat, and at the end, I realize I wouldn't even hire myself.

I've done tons of practice interviews, but I've never had a problem in a practice interview because it's just practice. In fact, I've been told by career services, peer advisors, and attorneys at firms that I "interview well," which may be true in practice settings, but is certainly not true in real life. I don't think doing more practice interviews is going to be useful.

I have no idea what's going on with me. I'm sociable. People like me. But sit me in a chair in front of a federal judge, and I transform into a quivering mass of nerves. WHAT CAN I DO?!

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tehkris
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby tehkris » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:44 am

This might sound contrite and obvious, but just relax. Look at an interview as a formality so much so that if you don't get the job you can react shocked. I know this sounds simple, but I'm sure your relaxed doing your mock interviews. Take in that same assurance and confidence.

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bruinfan10
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:49 am

If you've had three district court interviews, you clearly have the credentials to do the job. It's likely these judges aren't interested in grilling you on your qualifications - they just want to get to know you. I relaxed quite a bit when that dawned on me/I got my fourth interview offer and beyond. But it's tough! Totally understandable. I had an interview in my home district, which happens to be the most competitive district in the country, and I couldn't believe they'd even called me in. I've never been that tight in an interview. I'd imagine this kind of thing happens to everyone from time to time. But they know you can do the job, just try to have a conversation, you most likely don't have to sell yourself.

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The McRib Is Risen
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby The McRib Is Risen » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:54 pm

When the interview starts going down the tubes, the only way to turn things around is to employ a high-risk, high-reward strategy. A hail mary, if you will. I recommend the use of a "power move," a move so daring, so brazen, so counter-intuitive that, by the very fact that you had the guts to pull it off, it will suggest a countervailing awesomeness so strong that you'll probably be offered the job on the spot.

Good job interview power moves include: (1.) Popping your collar, (2.) Cutting off the judge mid-sentence with "Hold that thought bro, I gotta drop a deuce" and then leaving for 20 minutes, grabbing a newspaper from chambers on your way out, (3.) Asking if they drug test.

Anonymous User
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:20 pm

First, I want to state that I have been in a very similar situation. My problem prevented me from 2L summer associate gig (had 6 call back with v15 firms, with no offer). While it is clear on paper that I qualify, for whatever reason I did not interview well. Like you it was a mystery to me (and everyone who knew me) because I am very sociable and get along with pretty much everyone. I practiced many times like you and have been told "you actually interview well". So like you I have been asking myself "what the f is the problem?"

What I have found is that I am personally very laid back so at times the interviewer saw this as lack of enthusiasm. In addition, I tend to be very polite and, thus, it comes off as the too nice personality. Moreover, I tend to be a bit sincere thus I had hard time saying things that I did not mean (even when I try to say them, the interviewer can sense it). But most importantly, in order to be a better interviewer, I over prepare and end up asking very technical questions.

My advice to you is that 1) relax--dont over think the process. Don’t be so concerned to show off how much you researched that you forget to have normal every day conversations with them. If you have a clerkship interview, you have a very good chance of landing it. If you relax, most of them will guide you towards what they want to discuss (i.e. know when it is time to show you have researched, you are intelligent, and also not an asshole..everything in moderation); 2) try to ask personal questions (how did you get into this, tell me about your awesome law school experience bla bla etc); 3) make your answers short and concise; 3) find a hobby that you have and show that you are really just an everyday joe that they can work with; 4) speak/breath slowly, it will help you relax; 5) majority of the times, it is just a numbers game. It may not be personal towards you. Someone had the better connection, the better rapport, or the better "something".

I have personally lost out an almost certain clerkship gig at the last minute because some big law douche with several years of experience decided to take a year of and enjoy clerking. So it is just a numbers game. Relax, watch your body language, speak slowly and genuinely. Try to find out something personal about the judge and relate it to some hobby or experience that you have and the interview will turn into just a simple conversation dictated by the judge and his clerks before you know it.

Stay encouraged, if I can overcome it (I now have a federal clerkship), trust me you can. I had to write this long response because I remember going through what you going and thinking what else can I f'n do. So hopefully this will be a bit helpful and encouraging to you. (by the way tracking down a former law clerk to the judge through LinkedIn or alumni and asking them question or being able to name drop them is the BEST way to get the judge/clerks get their guards down. Hang in there!!

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Grazzhoppa
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Grazzhoppa » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:29 pm

Drink beforehand.

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nevdash
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby nevdash » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:17 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:If you've had three district court interviews, you clearly have the credentials to do the job.

And on top of that, a judge thinking that you have the credentials to do the job is a huge ego boost in and of itself. District judges in Bumfuck, WY are getting 400-500 apps these days for each clerkship position, so just getting an interview is impressive. Keep that in mind and let it give you massive confidence during the interview.

Anonymous User
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When the interview starts going down the tubes, the only way to turn things around is to employ a high-risk, high-reward strategy. A hail mary, if you will. I recommend the use of a "power move," a move so daring, so brazen, so counter-intuitive that, by the very fact that you had the guts to pull it off, it will suggest a countervailing awesomeness so strong that you'll probably be offered the job on the spot.

Good job interview power moves include: (1.) Popping your collar, (2.) Cutting off the judge mid-sentence with "Hold that thought bro, I gotta drop a deuce" and then leaving for 20 minutes, grabbing a newspaper from chambers on your way out, (3.) Asking if they drug test.


Yeah, that's how I got my clerkship: The Naked Man, works two out of every three times, guaranteed.

Anonymous User
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Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:54 pm

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful (and humorous) replies. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one in this boat!! I really appreciate your encouragement, especially the Anonymous that wrote the really long poast.

<3 OP

P.S. I am a girl, so I feel like the popping my collar / taking a dump advice would be extra effective in my case. Definitely trying that one if there is ever a next time.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273339
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: I keep effing up my interviews. Help.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you all so much for your thoughtful (and humorous) replies. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one in this boat!! I really appreciate your encouragement, especially the Anonymous that wrote the really long poast.

<3 OP

P.S. I am a girl, so I feel like the popping my collar / taking a dump advice would be extra effective in my case. Definitely trying that one if there is ever a next time.


Happy to have (sort of) contributed (Naked Man anon above). And yes, The Naked Woman is even MOAR effective! Good luck...




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