Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Some of the advice from this BigLaw hiring partner at Kramer Levin, courtesy of the Careerist blog, is obvious but still worth repeating for those heading into the fall recruiting season; don't be late for the interview, be prepared for questions about anything you've listed on your resume, etc. Other advice, such as understanding that the interviewer is trying to assess how you'll be with clients, is less obvious but perhaps even more important than flubbing an occasional question given how focused firms are today on a candidate's ability to contribute to the bottom-line ASAP.
[The Careerist]: I know Kramer Levin is big on grades, clerkships, and all that good stuff. But is there a certain Kramer profile?
[Hiring Partner]: The answer is no. We're not looking for someone who looks like "X." We're looking at the total package.
Ah, that elusive total package. Besides grades, what else impresses you?
Interest that goes beyond oneself--like doing tutoring, something that involves the community. Something that shows that the person is thoughtful and well-rounded.
And what do you find off-putting during interviews?
People who put something on their resume that they can't talk about. If you're going to join a organization or if you're in a clinic for battered women, you should be able to talk about it.
Do your interviewers get a script--questions that they are required to ask?
No. There are no required standard questions. [But] we do ask interviewers to consider, "Would you introduce this person to a client?"
That's fascinating. So you have to visualize whether the candidate is presentable to clients.
Yes, it helps the interviewer put things in context.
I guess that would eliminate some academic superstars.
They can be first in their class, but we won't make them an offer unless they're right for us. We look for candidates that are personable and engaging. We're not a shop that puts a huge number of lawyers on a transaction. You have to interact with people right away.
Can you share some faux pas that eliminated candidates from the running?
People ask inappropriate questions--things having to do with people's marital status. Or they make a personal comment about someone they just met--like commenting about their appearance. Another faux pas is to be late to an interview without an explanation.
Ever had a candidate who made a great first impression, then absolutely bombed on the callback?
Sometimes they're fine on campus, but when they come to the firm, they get nervous. They see the big lobby, and they find it unnerving. The whole process is a bit unfair . . . you could just have a bad day.
Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.