Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview in review

The interview had some ups and downs.  Here are the highlights:

Me: [assorted statements about my job]
Interviewer: Hang on.  You're making this sound really good, but, is this all 'fill-in-the-blanks' bullshit?
Me: Um...
Interviewer: How many complaints, which have required actual thought, have you done?
Me: ...technically, none.  Unless you think filling in blanks takes a lot of thought, in which case, thousands.
Interviewer: Yeah...everything around here required actual thought.  Let me ask you some more direct questions...

Interviewer: How many depositions have you done?
Me: None.
Interviewer: How many times have you cross-examined a witness?
Me: Never.
Interviewer: How many cases have you brought to trial?
Me: None.
Interviewer: Wow.

Interviewer: I've got to hand it to you.  Your resume, while technically accurate, is extremely misleading.  I thought you had way more experience than you actually do.  But, hey, it got you in here.  Points for that, I guess.

Interviewer: I'm going to be honest with you - you interview extremely well.  You look good, you're personable, well-spoken, interesting, you answered all of my questions well and I had a good time talking to you.  But, you effectively don't have any experience doing anything worthwhile.

I'm not saying it's impossible I'm going to get this job, but it doesn't seem likely.  I just have to hope I was personable and interesting enough that he'll want to hang out with me every day; even if it means having to teach me how to do everything.  Fingers crossed...


  1. Tough interview. I find that afterwards, the negatives tend to crowd out the positives. Your interviewer seems to have given you a lot of positives, even if they're not on your substantive work, so keep those in mind even if this doesn't pan out. Those are valuable qualities. My fingers are crossed too!

  2. Ouch. But it might still work out - I've hired before, and I'd much rather have a personable intelligent, interesting person with no real experience who I can train to shit my way than a person with loads of experience who I want to punch in the face all the time.

  3. well, that's a thing

  4. "But, you effectively don't have any experience doing anything worthwhile" Ouch, that's not something anyone wants to hear. Still keeping my fingers crossed that it works out for you.

  5. I take his level of honesty with you as a reflection of the fact that he really liked you.

    How did you feel about the interviewer? Have you ever had one as blunt before?

  6. I got along with the interviewer pretty well. He was a bit of a dick, but I have no real problem with that. I can be a bit of a dick myself, so I can't really fault him for that.

    He was more blunt than most, but it's usually the same story. People always tell me how well I interview and that they had a great time talking to me, but I just don't have the experience they're looking for.

  7. It's hard to bullshit a litigator/trial attorney. My first lesson in cross examination was in a job interview with the elected State's Attorney of one of the suburban counties, where I tried to be vague and evade questions, LOL

    A friend of mine is one of the best trial lawyers in Chicagoland and just hired 2 young associates. One of them sent a letter that said "I don't know anything about what you do, and a have no experience, but I'm willing to learn." He hired him.

    My friend had recently been burned by his partners in a firm break up and so he wanted young guys who would take orders and not be ready to leave and steal clients for many years to come.

    Get the experience and money will come. Good Luck D.


  8. "But, you effectively don't have any experience doing anything worthwhile"

    The practice of law in a nutshell.

  9. Ouch.

    I don't have any experience doing anything worthwhile either. And I'm not a bullshitter. I'm brutally honest to the point that I cannot lie in a cover letter or a resume, and I certainly can't sit in an interview and tell someone that I know anything about anything, because unless we're talking Britney Spears, I don't.

    My only hope is that I find someone who finds my honesty endearing. Or hell, even if I just find a creepy old man who wants a pretty young associate to look at. I'd take that job in a heartbeat, as long as being objectified came with a side of health care.

    Good luck, fingers crossed for both of us.

  10. I think this interviewer sounds like an assclown. You're, what, 3 years out of law school? Unless I am missing something about this profession (which I highly doubt), the vast majority of attorneys I know at your level of experience have never taken a case to trial.

    To be more specific, I am four years out and have friends employed in virtually every aspect of the legal profession - from Biglaw, midlaw, shitlaw, government, etc. The only people I know who have actual trial experience are a few who work for the government: one is an attorney with the IRS and the other a State's attorney. Every one else I know has never been to trial because most civil cases do not reach trial. Perhaps it's different in collections, but still, it seems like his expectations are a little unrealistic for someone with your level of experience.

    I understand, however, his point about depositions. But conducting a deposition isn't exactly rocket science and it's something you can pick up fairly quickly. Hell, take a NITA (National Institute of Trial Advocacy) two day seminar on depositions - which they offer in Chicago every year - and you'll learn all you need to know.

    I hope it works out for you.

  11. Yeah, I agree that his expectations were pretty unrealistic. My resume is misleading, but not that misleading. I certainly never suggested that I had brought a case to trial or had any experience with witnesses.

    My argument throughout all of it was pretty much, "Listen, I may not know how to do any of this stuff now, but I guarantee I can figure it out."