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Lateral Interviews

Questions About Other Firms

You may be asked where else you are interviewing. You do not have to give a complete answer. Full disclosure never works to your advantage in answering the dreaded “how many” question. We suggest acknowledging that you are, in fact, interviewing with other firms, without specifying which ones or how many. Never lie about your job prospects, especially if you name names. Your interviewer may know someone at a firm you name and decide to verify the information. A lie about an offer or an interview with another employer can ruin your chances and damage your reputation.

If pressed, name at least two and no more than four firms. If you say you are only interviewing with one firm, your new employers may feel no need to hurry and give you an offer, or they may get the feeling that you are not that great of a candidate. Likewise, if you tell them you applied to a whole bunch of firms, they may think you are not serious or confident enough. This range of numbers shows that you are seriously looking but not applying like crazy for jobs all around the country.

If you do not have any other interviews lined up yet, tell your interviewer about the firms you are interested in. If your interviewer follows up and asks you whether you are interviewing with them, you could say, “Not yet. Because I am very interested in your firm, I wanted to wait until after our interview to schedule interviews with other firms.” Because there is always a chance you may interview with them later, you are not misrepresenting anything.

Finally, if you are interviewing for firm and government positions at the same time, or if you are interviewing with different departments at different firms, do not disclose this information to your interviewers. Your “diverse” interviewing portfolio may jeopardize your offer because it suggests a desire to explore alternative careers, and can show a lack of commitment.

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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