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Lateral Interviews

Questions About Career Goals

This topic rarely comes up during interviews, but as a good interviewee you should proactively address it. Here is why. A desire to make a lateral move can sometimes be perceived as stemming from lack of a definite career plan. From the employer's perspective, you have tried working at one firm, did not like it, and now want to “sample” another one. If time permits, therefore, you should try to dispel this myth by tackling it head on. You can do this while answering a question, complimenting the interviewer or the firm, or asking about your career prospects.

To address your interviewers’ concerns, tell them where you see yourself in the next five to 10 years. Letting them know that you see yourself working at this firm for years to come will also communicate that you have a long-term career goal, and that you are serious about your desire to grow professionally within the organization. Likewise, discussing your desire to make partner and develop a specialty will score you major points. In most cases, your interviewer wants to see a commitment on your part, demonstrated by (1) your desire to work as an attorney for many years, (2) your desire to make a partner, (3) your desire to develop a specialty, and (4) your wish to remain in the same geographical location. Focusing on the future shows that you are serious about making a long-term commitment. Your interviewers will not necessarily assume that you are a “sure thing” because of this, but they will see the benefit in hiring someone who wants to try.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsLateral Interviews - Are You Ready?, Logistics, Scrutiny, Checking References, Know Your Reasons For Interviewing, Discussions About Specialty