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Monday, November 07, 2005

On Interviewing Blunders

Just a quick bit of advice for those of you out there interviewing for jobs. Never, ever confess (or even worse, boast) to your interviewer that you are participating in an extra-curricular activity purely to pad your resume. And especially don't do this more than once.

I conducted an interview of an second-year law student from a law school; he was applying for a position with my firm as a summer associate. His resume boasted of his involvement in the "Moot Court Board" at his law school. When I asked - as we interviewers are coached to do - as to the nature of his involvement and how and why he decided Moot Court Board was for him, he replied, "Oh, I don't really know what it is. I just thought it'd be something good to have on the resume, you know?"

And then, although I was perfectly willing to leave this topic for something that might give him a chance to show me he had something to offer other than banal jocularity, he repeated this point two or three more times during our 20-minute conversation.

Accordingly (ironically?), it turned for this guy that having Moot Court Board on his resume was actually a very, very bad thing. After the interview my evaluation of this aspirant included the following sentence: "This was the worst candidate I have ever seen at this firm."

I hope and trust he will not be made an offer from our shop. He really was a terrible interviewee.

That is not a picture of the actual interview. I found that picture here on the Iowa Cattleman's Association website. The Ghost of Cattleman's Bureaucrat Future is something of a frightening spectre. Just as an aside, looking at that picture just got me thinking. Should people choosing their life's work perhaps spend a little more time: (1) studying the people that interview them for jobs in their chosen field; and (2) evaluating whether the job they're trying to get will make them look like the person interviewing them after 20-30 years?

In this case, I suspect bureaucrats for the Iowa Cattleman's Association spend a fair amount of time at potluck suppers. In church basements. My personal experience is that the food they serve at potluck suppers in church basements will likely turn the trim young man on the right in the photo into the hulking, well-chinned gentleman on the left over the course of 20 years.

As for lawyers - look at the eyes of the people interviewing you. Lawyers, especially those who work in large firms, are a very fatigued bunch. This job ages you. No exercise. Long, long hours. Guys in their late 40s (e.g., Flamingo) in this job look like they're from the 13th century.


Blogger Chris said...

I sure do miss the practice of law. Good times.

10:35 AM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I once interviewed a second year law student and, after noting that he had lived in several cities around the U.S. I asked what brought him to Phoenix.

"Do you want the truth?" he asked?

"No, lie to me," I thought to myself yet uttered, "Sure!"

"Well, I was following the Grateful Dead around the country and just stopped here."

I wanted to hire him.

12:04 PM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger Complete Game said...

God Ive interviewed some massive toolboxes in my day. But we had one young fellar in here earlier this year who couldn't talk and was just a flat-out dork. He had 'research' written all over him. He needed to be chained to a cublicle in the library and handed some pleadings.

Looks like your boy was trying to keep it real in your interview! I guess he didn't know you well enough!

PS Flamingo has at least three chins I can discern. Hard to see around the Village People bandana he wears around his neck all the time.

2:30 PM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I have more chins than a Chinese phone book.

2:58 PM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

all your base are belong to us

5:22 PM, November 07, 2005  

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