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8 Questions You Should NOT Ask an Employer During an Initial Interview

Posted by The Law Recruiters Editors on Nov 16, 2016 11:09:58 AM

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In job interviews, we all know that it is important to think about your responses to likely questions that a potential employer may ask. But, it is equally important to be prepared with any questions that you may wish to ask the interviewer. While questions about the responsibilities of the position and career advancement are typically safe topics, there are questions (serious and funny) that are better saved for the offer stage, a later stage in the process – or never.

Some of them are:

  1. Do I have to work in the office and/or may I work remotely?

  2. What is your vacation policy and when can I start to take days off?

  3. For out-of-town candidates - - Will you pay for my mother/father to come with me to my next onsite interview?

  4. How soon can I expect to be promoted to a position where I will not have to do ________ (insert any duties that happen to be the responsibilities of the current job for which you are interviewing)?

  5. Do you drug test for this position?

  6. How late do you expect me to work at night?

And, of course, there are the more personal questions…

7. Did you vote for Clinton or Trump? (Always avoid politics!)

8. I love your tie – how much did it cost?!

Although some questions are less advisable for an initial interview, most would agree that perhaps the worst response when asked if you have any questions is to say “no”.

What are some of the best and worst questions that you have been asked as a hiring employer or have asked as an interviewee?

 

Topics: Interview Tips

10 of Our Most Unique Interview Questions

Posted by The Law Recruiters Editors on Oct 26, 2016 11:38:49 AM

 

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When we discuss with our candidates the questions that they are asked during interviews, we are often impressed by some of the more unique ones. We all know the typical questions (i.e., Why are you interested in our firm/company? What is your experience at your current employer?, etc.), but below are some of the most unique and creative ones our candidates have recently been asked...

  1. What is your favorite band / music?

  2. How do you deal with stress? 

  3. What was the last book you read?

  4. What is your negotiating style?

  5. What are your 3 favorite Supreme Court cases and why?

  6. How do you handle conflict?

  7. How would you describe what you do for a living to a 4 year old?

  8. What was your favorite case/deal to work on and why?

  9. How do you handle a difficult co-worker?

  10. Do you mind if I take this call? It's my wife. (only kidding!)

What are some of yours?

 

Topics: Interview Tips

Be Ready for the Video Conference

Posted by Rich Janney on Oct 5, 2016 3:35:46 PM

Video_Conference.jpgIf you are searching for a new job, it will happen sooner or later—you will be selected to have a screening interview via video conference.  Here are some tips to make sure you have the best video conference possible:

  1. Yes, wear a suit. And wear pants, too. I know it’s funny to tell people that you didn’t wear pants for your interview, but if you have a leather chair, your bare legs might make a funny sticking sound and people will wonder what’s going on down there.
  1. Make sure you have an appropriate background for the call. If your office is a desk in your bedroom, move the computer elsewhere.  No one wants to see a bed over your shoulder, even if there are a million pillows on it.
  1. Look at the webcam instead of being fascinated with your image on the screen. Put a sticky note over your face if you have to.  No, no--on the screen.  Put the sticky note over your face which is on the screen.
  1. Experiment with the lighting to make sure you don’t look dead on camera.
  1. Don’t sit too close. Webcams are ‘fisheye’ lenses and the closer you get, the bigger your nose will look.  I may be projecting my own feelings here, as I have a prominent nose and hate webcams.
  1. Think about all the times you’ve Skyped with your parents in Florida, then avoid doing all the things they do during their calls.
  1. Give other family members the heads up that you will be having this video conference. A nude spouse in the background is thrilling, but ultimately unprofessional.

Handle the call with as few distractions as possible and you will have accomplished your mission.  Video conferencing has a long way to go before it truly is a suitable way to communicate professionally, but ready or not, here it comes.

Topics: Interview Tips

In Defense of the Big Firm

Posted by Rich Janney on Jun 1, 2016 10:06:57 AM

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Big law firms get a terrible rap.  When I was a student at Harvard Law School (I didn’t go to Harvard), we were constantly told by our peers that big firms were evil, though they paid well.  We were told that we wouldn’t get any practical experience at the big firms, that all we would be doing was document review and cleaning the toilets for the first three years.  We were told that they were sweat shops.  We were told that they ground up associates and then spit them out.  We were told that they would sneak into our rooms at night and kill us in our sleep.

At some point, it starts to sound like camp counselors telling spooky ghost stories around the campfire.  Yet, this ghost story has persisted over the years: “And then, when the associate got out of the cab on his way home at 4 a.m., he found a BLOODY HOOK STILL ATTACHED TO THE DOOR HANDLE!” 

[1st year law students screaming and crying]

But I am here to tell you, as a former big firm attorney (I really did work at a big firm), that much of these stories are bunk or that they are not stories that are limited to life at the mega firm.  The following is a breakdown of many of the perceptions of big-firm life that attorneys and law students alike might want to take into account if they are considering joining a large law firm.

#1 You Will Work Crazy Hours

There can be long hours at big firms, yes.  But there can also be super long hours at smaller firms too.  Sadly, this is the nature of the business these days.  For example, if you are working on a case that is going to trial, you are going to work long, grueling hours getting ready for it whether or not you work at a big or small firm.  If you are a transactional attorney and you’re working on a really big deal? Same thing.  And sometimes, at a small firm, because there are fewer attorneys who can bear the brunt of the case load, when it gets busy, it gets REALLY busy REALLY fast and there’s very little letup.

Furthermore, I have heard of plenty of tales of people who work at big firms and who maintain very good hours.  They bill 2000 hours and are not punished for failing to bill 2400.  The department you work in and the partners you work for will more likely affect your hours than the firm itself will.

Bottom line is that the practice of the law is a pretty tough life when you’re junior, whether you’re at a big firm or small one.

#2 You Won’t Get Any Practical Experience

Two main things determine how much hands-on experience you will get in your position if you work at a big firm: 1) your personality; and 2) who you end up working for.  With regard to point number one, if you are the type of person who is inclined to try and ‘hide’ at the big firm, you probably will be able to stay away from getting real hands-on experience.  And that, I suppose, is less stressful in the short run—if you are a ‘hider,’ that is.  However, hiding is not good for your career and it’s not the fault of the firm that you chose to avoid getting your hands dirty.  The most the big firm can be blamed for is providing a large enough biosphere in which you can successfully duck and cover.  With respect to point #2—who you end up working for—well, that’s out of your control to a large degree. If you work for partners who want to lock away their associates doing document review for the first year at the firm, then you drew the short straw, I am sorry to say.  At my former firm, I was lucky enough to be sent to court the day after I passed the bar and I never looked back (seriously, I never looked back—I have no idea what was behind me). I went to court hundreds of times in my career.  But I was lucky—I worked for a great partner who really valued having associates who knew how to do stuff, so he made us do stuff (which is good, because I would probably have tended to be a ‘hider’). If, on the other hand, you have landed in a practice where they truly intend to keep the substantive work away from the young attorneys, then you really are in a bad situation (unless you are a ‘hider’, in which case you are working for a ‘hiding enabler’). However, again, this isn’t necessarily endemic to big firms—there are ‘hiding enablers’ at smaller firms too—the good news is that if you are at a big firm, you have a better chance of finding a different partner to work for because there are lots and lots of them there.  They can’t all be hiding enablers.  Use the size of the firm to your advantage.

There’s a point I am trying to make in here somewhere.

#3 It’s a Sweatshop

Sweatshops exist in third world countries and the people who work there barely make enough money to live.  You will make enough money on your first day to buy yourself gold teeth.  Knock it off with the ‘sweatshop’ comparisons.

#4 You’re Just a Cog in a Machine

People think that at a big firm, they will be dehumanized, that they will only evaluated as a set of numbers that appear in a gigantic spreadsheet.  They think that if they don’t make their hours, they won’t be valued even if the work they do is outstanding.  Conversely, they complain that the inefficient attorney who bills 2300 hours will be considered a superstar even though their work is junk.

OK. To some degree this is true. Evaluating people by the numbers is more likely to happen at any organization where they have to manage hundreds and, perhaps, thousands of employees.  But doing high-volume, poor-quality work will only float for so long.  Eventually the system catches the clunkers, it just may react a little slower than the system at a small firm.  If you do good work and get good reviews, you will be recognized and rewarded.

Now, Let’s Talk Affirmatively About the Good Stuff

Don’t forget about all the good things that the big firm can provide that aren’t necessarily available at smaller firms.  Big firms provide a ton of CLE training right in the confines of the office.  There are experts from all over the firm who can provide amazing insight and guidance on a huge variety of subjects.  There are support systems in place that run 24 hours a day because, let’s face it, no matter where you practice, you are going to have late nights from time to time.  Better to have a whole staff of document specialists on hand to help you out when it gets super late.  Need a thousand copies after hours?  They’ve got you covered.

The benefits are usually great too.  At some firms you will likely have vision, dental, health, 401k, 501k, and some sort of shark attack insurance (optional).

Then there’s the access to people.  While I was at DLA, I was able to meet a Secretary of Defense, a couple of congressmen, Michael Jordan’s lawyer (Jordan came to the office himself once, but I missed it), Gandhi, and also God.

Pay is pretty good, too.

Long story short, there are a lot of benefits of working for the mega firm.  Don’t let the camp counselors scare you.

Topics: Career Advice

To View or Not to View... Another Person's LinkedIn Profile

Posted by The Law Recruiters Editors on Mar 30, 2016 10:08:44 AM

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To view or not to view another person's LinkedIn profile is a question that can often arise in the professional world now that LinkedIn is becoming increasingly more common as an informational resource for both job seekers and employers. When viewing the LinkedIn profile of another person, the privacy settings on your LinkedIn page, by default, will be set to show your username and headline to the party whose profile you are viewing.   This may leave you asking yourself whether or not you should actually view the user’s profile as they will be notified that you did in fact view it.  

There are many instances when this not-so-private viewing feature may be beneficial. For example, as an employer or job seeker, if you are looking to get on the radar of a specific company, you may want the employees of that company to know you are showing an interest in them. Also, as a job seeker, while preforming company research prior to an interview, it is beneficial to view the profiles of any employees that will be interviewing you.  This not only allows you to gain background information on the individuals, but also - as they will be alerted that you have viewed their LinkedIn profile page - shows the employees that you are being diligent about your interview.

On the other hand, there may be instances where you do not want your identity shown to an individual when you view his or her LinkedIn profile page. Thankfully, there is a setting on your LinkedIn profile that allows you to turn on anonymous viewing. If you want to maintain your privacy or perhaps are going to be viewing the same profile more than once in a short period of time you may want to turn on this anonymous feature.

To change your LinkedIn viewing settings, follow the steps below:

  1. While on the Home screen of your LinkedIn profile, hover your mouse over you profile picture in the top right corner.
  2. Move your arrow down to “Privacy and Settings” and click on “Manage”.
  3. Under “Privacy Controls”, click on “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile”.
  4. A window will pop-up that will allow you to select your settings. You can choose from your full name and headline, a semi-private profile that will include your industry and title, or a completely anonymous profile.
  5. Click “Save Changes”.

Now, this choice is yours, but go ahead – view the profile!

Topics: Career Advice

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