Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tips for a successful job interview

Below is an excerpt of a Q & A between Vivia Chen of (in bold) and a BigLaw partner regarding tips for making a good impression during a job interview.

[Please describe the] traits that you look for [during a job interview].
I look for authenticity. I want to make sure that I understand who this person is.

What do you mean by "authenticity"? 
What's important is meaningful conversations during the interview. I've had conversations with people about their summer jobs, undergraduate thesis, subjects totally unrelated to law--esoteric topics.

Sounds like you'd rather not talk about law during the interview. 
Well, I don't think [law students] know much about law at that stage. Personally, I like candidates that are passionate about something: a cause, a subject, a hobby. I find that candidates who are engaged with an issue or a subject, both emotionally and intellectually, tend to be people who will be successful lawyers and interesting colleagues.

It also doesn't sound like you're a fan of behavior interviews, where applicants take a psychological test, or ones that grill law students about hypothetical legal problems that some firms advocate.
Oh, that's so silly. What does that accomplish? The best thing is to hire someone who's smart and passionate about something.

What other types of questions do you avoid?  
To me the silliest question is: "Why did you decide to become a lawyer?" It's the last refuge of someone who has run out of things to ask.

You can read the rest of the interview here.


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