Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #24


Thirteen Interview DOs and DON'Ts
(For Lawyers Looking To Leave Their Not-So-Fabulous Current Place of Employment)

1) DO get there on time. This might mean running 12 blocks in brand new high heels that give you blisters while construction workers are yelling "whoah" and pretending to leap out of your way, and arriving at the place with you hair mussed and your cheeks bright red from the cold and your accelerated heart rate, but do it anyway. Dishevelment can be fixed with a quick restroom stop, either in the law firm or at the Starbuck's across the street. Getting their late can not be corrected.

2) DO dress conservatively. A tried and true winner is a black Ann Taylor suit and pearls. Most of Ann Taylor's suits are made with a triacitate wool blend fabric that does not wrinkle, even if you pack it in a suitcase. They are the perfect interview suits. Remember, don't wear brown, and save the eggplant suit for until after you've got the job.

3) DO be prepared to talk details of your practice. Have one or two "interview cases" in your back pocket that you can flash at the interviewer to demonstrate the interesting and challenging work you've been engaged in. This will give them a sense of your legal. They're not going to hire you on the basis of your fascinating interests and sparkling personality alone.

4) DON'T be negative about your firm, period. This might require a high degree of finessing, positive exaggerations, and outright half-truths, particularly if you believe that you work for a law firm from hell and have been counting down to the date of your anticipated departure for over 120 days. However, no one wants to hire a "malcontent" and that's how they'll see you if you talk any amount of trash.

5) DON'T say that you want to leave your firm for any negative reason such as being unhappy, not having a life, or simply hating the people, work, and lifestyle. This could paint you as a malcontent. (See # 4). It might also raise suspicions that you have had negative reviews and/or been marginalized at your firm, all of which ends up making you, and not your law firm, look bad.

6) DO say, when asked why you want to leave: "Firm 'X' was a great place to start because [insert innocuous reason, such as good training, good experience, sophisticated, challenging cases], but I want [insert innocuous desire, such as more variety in my cases or more responsibility to see a case through from beginning to end]." Keep it short and simple and then move on.

7) DON'T ask about hours until you have an offer in hand. But, if an interviewer offers information about hours, listen intently.

8) DON'T ask about vacation, benefits, partnership possibilities, or turnover on the first interview, and it's probably safer to wait until you have an offer in hand.

9) DO maintain your composure, even when the hiring partner keeps you waiting for 20 minutes and then, when the recruiting coordinator cracks his door open to ask if she should reschedule the interview, you overhear him say in an unfriendly tone, "If he wants a job, he can wait."

10) DO take notice of all information you learn while at the interview, including the extremely important and telling informal information you pick up without even asking a question. (See # 9).

11) DO prepare a cheat-sheet for each firm. Em gave me this idea, and it's been incredibly useful over the last few days. For each firm, I have a single sheet of paper listing who I'm meeting with, practice areas, education, and other interesting details about each person, basic info on the firm, and a standard list of questions.

12) DO ask each interviewer the same questions. If you get consistent answers across the board, you know that you're getting a clear picture. If not, you have some things to figure out, but at least you know where the murkiness lies.

13) DON'T get discouraged! Interviewing is great experience, you're getting out there, and eventually you will find the place that is right for you. As with men, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

19 comments:

starshine said...

I love Ann Taylor's suits, too! LOFT is my fave place for business casuals and just plain casuals.

Just out of curiosity, why should one not wear a brown suit to an interview?

Oh, and I bet eggplant is SO your color!

Gypsy said...

Great advice! And good luck! :)

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic advice!

Another word to wise would be to mimic body language. It makes people feel comfortable.

ancsweetnsassygal said...

Great post. And #1 is the most important advice, no matter what type of job. Thanks for the tips.

My TT is up also on why I hate being a middle child.

Amy Ruttan said...

Great TT.

I work in the legal profession. I am a Law Clerk under the newest partner. Great tips!

Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

great advice! i'm not a lawyer but i can certainly use the ann taylor suit advice for an interview! you're so right about being late. i'd never hire someone who was. have a happy!

Karianne said...

well, I'd hire you! You've got your interviewing you know what together. So proud. You are doing it. For reals.

Bubbles said...

I think that the pearls must be an east coast thing.

Bubbles said...

(I thought my comment needed clarification) The pearls comment was just cuz I could see everyone of your other reccomendations right down to the Anne Taylor suit. . .

InterstellarLass said...

Excellent tips! I'll have to refer back to these if I'm ever in the market. :)

I love Ann Taylor's suits. They are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

All great bits of advice (from one esq. to another). :-)

My list is posted.

Anonymous said...

Great list for any profession, sort of...

Buttercup said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by! the mimicking body language idea is interesting; I need to think about that one.

Bubbles - I don't think pearls are an East Coast thing. Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Great list for any job interview.

InterstellarLass said...

I don't think pearls are just an East Coast thing. I wear them too. They're very elegant and formal, and I just think people shy away from being too formal these days. We've been a 'business casual' society for so long.

Buttercup said...

I've survived the interview. Dear god, when I'm not so tired I'll tell you more about it.

About pearls: I've always thought pearls were elegant, classy, sophisticated, and actually quite beautiful. I bought a pair of pearl earrings and a necklace about 9 years ago and I've worn them ever since on special occasions or when I want to dress up for things like interviews. I definitely don't think they're an East Coast thing.

It's very weird though b/c when people meet me for the first time and I'm in my suit and pearls, they have always thought I'm very serious and politically conservative. That to me is bizarre. A liberal can't be elegant?

Artemis said...

Yay Buttercup is job interviewing!!!! Think what a HUGE step this is even from a month ago! You go girl!

Buttercup said...

Artemis - Aw shucks.

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice! And a great idea for a T13.

Thanks for visiting.