What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

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scifiguy
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What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:47 pm

If a person has great credentials on paper:

e.g.,

+Comes from a T20
+Top 25% *edit*
+Law Review

What types of things would turn an interviewer off from them and for the person to not get hired into an SA position? I know there are stories on TLS of people top 10% of a T14 striking out in biglaw (one example: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=207713 ) The credited reason (speculation probably) is poor interview skills in many of these cases.

I'm curious what specifically could go wrong in an interview that you guys have either heard of or suspect (beyond the obvious like arriving late, being physically unkempt, being verbally disrespectful, etc. ...I'm curious about the more subtle and less obvious things).
Last edited by scifiguy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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hephaestus
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby hephaestus » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:49 pm

Above median at a T20 is not a "great credential."

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scifiguy
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:51 pm

ImNoScar wrote:Above median at a T20 is not a "great credential."


Fair enough. I did an edit. Top 25% let's say. ...

Let's say Top 25% UPenn + Law Review. No-offered. ...to use a ballpark example I have in my head.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:18 am

scifiguy wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:Above median at a T20 is not a "great credential."


Fair enough. I did an edit. Top 25% let's say. ...

Let's say Top 25% UPenn + Law Review. No-offered. ...to use a ballpark example I have in my head.


People who don't have social skills and aren't normal. Most of the time. I had a mock interview with a big law partner. He told me straight up all he cares about after grades is whether he would like to work with you. Be that guy/girl.

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togepi
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby togepi » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:25 am

When shit hits the fan, they're going to look at whether or not you're going to be a shitty person to work with or not. So if your grades and school are decent, just don't be an awkward dick.

ksllaw
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby ksllaw » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:19 am

I posted (just now) a message in that thread above with a link to a TED talk by Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy, that's related to this topic that people may find interesting and helpful.

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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby TA923 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:58 am

scifiguy wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:Above median at a T20 is not a "great credential."


Fair enough. I did an edit. Top 25% let's say. ...

Let's say Top 25% UPenn + Law Review. No-offered. ...to use a ballpark example I have in my head.


Top 25% at Penn is not going to get you LR.

SportsFan
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby SportsFan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:34 am

TA923 wrote:
scifiguy wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:Above median at a T20 is not a "great credential."


Fair enough. I did an edit. Top 25% let's say. ...

Let's say Top 25% UPenn + Law Review. No-offered. ...to use a ballpark example I have in my head.


Top 25% at Penn is not going to get you LR.

From what they've told us, it can. IIRC, as long as you're above median, you can write-on or get on via your personal statement.

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Danger Zone
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:13 pm

Dude, you're a 0L. Number one thing to focus on is your GRADES. 75% chance you won't be in the top 25% of your class.

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guano
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby guano » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:16 pm

I'm gonna say that scifiguy is the answer to his own question

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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:28 pm

guano wrote:I'm gonna say that scifiguy is the answer to his own question


Oh cool, another "Ahhahaha, what an idiot! Hey guys lets make fun of the OP!" post.

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Danger Zone
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:30 pm

BigZuck wrote:
guano wrote:I'm gonna say that scifiguy is the answer to his own question


Oh cool, another "Ahhahaha, what an idiot! Hey guys lets make fun of the OP!" post.

Ask a stupid question, get a dingbat answer.

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guano
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby guano » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:23 pm

Danger Zone wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
guano wrote:I'm gonna say that scifiguy is the answer to his own question


Oh cool, another "Ahhahaha, what an idiot! Hey guys lets make fun of the OP!" post.

Ask a stupid question, get a dingbat answer.

:lol:

But, to give a serious response, OP has a history of asking dumb, obvious, or irrelevant questions such as to preclude the possibility of being a normal, sociable person who would make a desirable coworker, which is precisely what makes a bad interview and results in striking out.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:15 pm

Keeping in mind I've never interviewed anyone for a law job (just in a past field which is similarly flooded with applicants), I think there are 2 ways you can interview badly:

- just generally be awkward/inarticulate/offputtingly nervous/arrogant/inappropriate/whatever - which I think is what people often consider (when they say "just be a normal person"). Not only do people who interview you have to be able to work with you, they want to be able to imagine leaving you alone with a client.

- have crap answers to the questions. This, IMHO, seems mostly to come from not researching an employer enough and not having a clear sense of what about that employer makes them the place you want to work. So this could be telling the firm you really want to practice in area X, when they don't have a practice in X; or asking stuff that could be answered by a quick glance at the website ("where do you guys have offices, anyway?"); or just basically giving the exact same answers to all interviews.

By that last point, I mean this: at least to me, a lot of big firms look totally fungible, and a lot of the answers for why you want to work in biglaw are applicable to any big firm. But I still think interviewers can tell when someone has done their research and really understands how that firm differs from other firms [or at least, how that firm likes to present itself as differing from others...]. So going in and giving a generic "big law" interview may be a problem.

(I mean, it may not; you may have good enough grades and a good enough social manner that it's fine and interviewers don't really care. But I think if you don't have much to make you stand out, generic answers aren't very helpful.)

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homestyle28
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:24 pm

You don't have to be a bad interviewee or give bad interviews to strike out at a t-14. More important with the hypothetical credentials is strategy/location.
- If you target smaller boutique firms with 1-2 SAs, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you target DC/Chicago exclusively, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you refuse to look at NYC b/c you're from the midwest you're gonna have a bad time
- If you assume that b/c your made LR you don't need to hustle, mass mail, hit social hours, etc., you're gonna have a bad time

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Bildungsroman
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Bildungsroman » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:29 pm

This answer won't be a comfort to 0Ls/1Ls, but sometimes it's just bad luck.

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Ludo!
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Ludo! » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:35 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:This answer won't be a comfort to 0Ls/1Ls, but sometimes it's just bad luck.


Yup.

Also if you're aspie enough to strike out despite top grades, you're probably too aspie to control it. There was a dude at the top of my class who our career services literally told to try to adopt a different personality for interviews. He couldn't do it. The aspieness just shone through.

Scifi guy, based on your post history you are probably in this category

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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:52 pm

I use to do interviews when I worked at a Big Four accounting firm. People didn't get offers for a number of different reasons.

(1) There had to be a consensus among 3-4 people that the person should be hired. This is a difficult task to accomplish. By getting interviewed by so many people, you have to pass the smell test of all of them.

(2) Some people couldn't articulate very well what they had actually accomplished in their past jobs. This, too, would get people dinged.

(3) Some people you could tell really didn't want to work at the Big Four. There are people who interviewed that didn't display genuine reasons for wanting to work there. For them, it was just going to be a check and nothing more.

(4) Some people would get dinged, because they couldn't be seen as fitting in the culture.

(5) Some people could get dinged, because they are so over the top impressive. Some people could feel threathened by your Ivy undergrad and Georgetown JD. This probably happens less in the legal field, because elite educational pedigree is almost a requirement for Big Law hiring.

When I was interviewing for my first job out of college, I did about 30 interviews with companies and ended up with 4 job offers. I could have done more interviews, but I was cherrypicking the companies that I really wanted to work for. After a while, I was able to recognize if I nailed my interviews or not. These experiences will serve me well in the future. You have to prepared for any and all situations.

In one interview, I was there with only an hour of sleep, because the night before I had stayed up all night studying for a test. I actually received an offer from this company. In another interview, I was interviewed by like a dozen people at the same time in one big room (I completely blew this one, because the situation was just so unpleasant). In one interview, these guys just wouldn't let me wrap up the interview (I had another one starting 15 minutes after the end of this first one, so I couldn't let these guys drag it on). I had no choice but to schedule these two interviews back to back. In one interview, I blew my chances at a job with one of the most elite companies in my field, because I told them I wasn't open to traveling somewhere clear across the world. For this one company, they took my resume and signed me up for an interview slot, but they didn't even care to glance at my resume at the time. When I showed up for my interview, they canceled on me on the spot. I was blowing steam. I think they canceled on me due to my high undergrad GPA. They knew I was going to leave soon thereafter and attend graduate school. At another screening interview, the interviewers started talking shit about my internship company (an internship was required to graduate from my major). There are some people that just flat out will not like you for any number of reasons. You can't do anything about that.

The list goes on and on and on. A lot of things are out of your control. The best thing you can do is make sure you don't walk into OCI with a POS resume. Some people are just completely clueless as to what makes a good resume.

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scifiguy
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:12 pm

homestyle28 wrote:You don't have to be a bad interviewee or give bad interviews to strike out at a t-14. More important with the hypothetical credentials is strategy/location.
- If you target smaller boutique firms with 1-2 SAs, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you target DC/Chicago exclusively, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you refuse to look at NYC b/c you're from the midwest you're gonna have a bad time
- If you assume that b/c your made LR you don't need to hustle, mass mail, hit social hours, etc., you're gonna have a bad time


Good points.

In regards to mass mailing, should a student with above credentials be doing that at the same time their interviewing OCI?

And in regards to social hours, what are those (are they just informal chats with peers at school...or chatting with people at the actual law firm you're interviewing with)? 0L :)

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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby Icculus » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:25 pm

scifiguy wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:You don't have to be a bad interviewee or give bad interviews to strike out at a t-14. More important with the hypothetical credentials is strategy/location.
- If you target smaller boutique firms with 1-2 SAs, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you target DC/Chicago exclusively, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you refuse to look at NYC b/c you're from the midwest you're gonna have a bad time
- If you assume that b/c your made LR you don't need to hustle, mass mail, hit social hours, etc., you're gonna have a bad time


Good points.

In regards to mass mailing, should a student with above credentials be doing that at the same time their interviewing OCI?

And in regards to social hours, what are those (are they just informal chats with peers at school...or chatting with people at the actual law firm you're interviewing with)? 0L :)


Mass mail should be happening before OCI even starts.

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homestyle28
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:27 pm

scifiguy wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:You don't have to be a bad interviewee or give bad interviews to strike out at a t-14. More important with the hypothetical credentials is strategy/location.
- If you target smaller boutique firms with 1-2 SAs, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you target DC/Chicago exclusively, you're gonna have a bad time
- If you refuse to look at NYC b/c you're from the midwest you're gonna have a bad time
- If you assume that b/c your made LR you don't need to hustle, mass mail, hit social hours, etc., you're gonna have a bad time


Good points.

In regards to mass mailing, should a student with above credentials be doing that at the same time their interviewing OCI?

And in regards to social hours, what are those (are they just informal chats with peers at school...or chatting with people at the actual law firm you're interviewing with)? 0L :)


You should be mass mailing a week or so after your last exam/journal write-on competition is done. If for no other reason to score some pre-OCI interviews to sharpen your skills. No matter what your summer gig is, you'll have more time in the summer than your do 1L. Waiting until OCI to start mailing is too late, you'll be busy and jobs will have been filled.

Depending on your school, some firms will come to campus/do invites, others will host city-wide gatherings in the summer.

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scifiguy
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:28 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:This answer won't be a comfort to 0Ls/1Ls, but sometimes it's just bad luck.


Yeah.

Although, I'm wondering more along the lines of controllable circumstances if you know what I mean. I think sometimes people may have some qualities about them that turn people off and not necessarilyi know it or perhaps not know how to fix them, but that if they could they'd present better.

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scifiguy
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:31 pm

Do your law schools have mock interviews or career counselors who can help with interviewing?

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scifiguy
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby scifiguy » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:33 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:This answer won't be a comfort to 0Ls/1Ls, but sometimes it's just bad luck.


Yup.

Also if you're aspie enough to strike out despite top grades, you're probably too aspie to control it. There was a dude at the top of my class who our career services literally told to try to adopt a different personality for interviews. He couldn't do it. The aspieness just shone through.

Scifi guy, based on your post history you are probably in this category



What were the major characteristics of this person? I'm somewhat familar with Asperger's, but don't think I have it.

andythefir
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Re: What Makes for Bad OCI Interview/Biglaw Strikeout, Given...?

Postby andythefir » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:49 pm

The biggest mistake I saw in the people that struck out was that people had absolutely no strategy. They did what CDO set up for them (OCI, symplicity) and nothing else. OCI is the easiest part of the process, but treat it as a piece of a much, much larger job search. There is no excuse for not putting out hundreds of applications. Network in your home market whenever you're there, network wherever you are for the summer, network in your school's market. Apply broadly in all three no matter what your credentials are.

The second biggest mistake I saw was people were completely oblivious about the timing of when offers go out. When big firms are mulling over their decisions is the time to be neck deep in applying to mid-sized firms and the government. When mid-size firms are mulling their decisions is the time to be applying to small firms. Most people don't know they've struck out of OCI until October, at which point it's really too late to be starting the next wave of applications. Assume whatever phase you're looking at won't work and start on the next one.




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