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Lunch Interviews, Dinners, and Retreats

Never Let Your Guard Down

Typically, the interviewers attending these events are junior to mid-level associates. When no one else is available, or when you share a similar background with one of the attorneys, your interviewers may be more senior. Conversations during these interviews are usually informal, convivial, and not necessarily confined to any particular topic. This is your chance to ask questions about the firm's culture and work environment. But do not let your guard down!

Jeff thought it was a good idea to becomes buddies with his lunch interviewers. He ordered martinis and told the interviewers about his outlook on firm life. Basically, he wanted to land a job where he could work as little as possible. Although the interviewers understood Jeff's desire to not work hard and even found his remarks amusing, as his potential supervisors they were not impressed. They knew that, upon joining the firm, Jeff would likely dodge assignments, leaving them to pick up the slack. So they communicated these concerns to the recruiting manager, who promptly sent Jeff a rejection letter.

Never forget: This is still very much an interview. Avoid doing or saying anything you would not do or say at a more traditional interview. Do not confide in your interviewers or share negative feelings about any topic.

Andrei interviewed with a litigation boutique known for conducting informal callback interviews. After the first round of interviews, Andrei was invited for beer and pizza at the partner's house. It went so well that Andrei was then asked to continue the night with scotch and poker at the firm's office. Andrei, who was an avid poker player, was feeling very relaxed at this point. Excited about winning, he began making snotty remarks to his new poker buddies, at one point saying, “He really put his d*** on the table,” regarding one interviewer's strong bet. Not surprisingly, Andrei never heard from the firm again.

Finally, do not ask associates any questions you would not be comfortable asking the partners. The questions will get answered, but it might come at a price. Furthermore, do not be too casual, no matter how junior the interviewers or how informal the setting.

Kathy asked the associate interviewing her whether the partner she saw earlier that morning was “really nice,” or whether he was acting nice because of the interview. Lenny asked his interviewers how he could justify to his family working for a firm that represents controversial clients. Keith thought nothing about praising his newborn's skills during the entire lunch interview, and then asking whether he could telecommute to work. None of these people received offers.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsLunch Interviews, Dinners, and Retreats - Act Professional, Never Let Your Guard Down, What To Order?, Table Manners, Basic Etiquette