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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Thought The Interview Went Well.

Can you imagine having a job interview the morning of September 11, 2001? I don't have to as that was the last time I had a real job interview. Due to extraordinary events it wasn't a great interview at the time. I'm guessing it has been 7 or 8 years since I had a good, solid job interview. Given my lack of recent experience I wasn't very nervous. I've been reading a book on the area of law the job covered. I wrote out some questions I wanted to ask during the interview. I double checked my resume so I was familiar with it. I did some research on the employer and the field of law. I left my place 15 minutes earlier than I needed to so I would be early. I felt decently prepared for an unknown experience.

I'm so glad I took the time to be as prepared as I was.

First, I want to note that everything I read in those 'So You Want To Be A Lawyer' books are written by people at the top of the class at HarvardStanfordYale. Their job hunting experiences are not the experiences of an average student/graduate. Someone should write a book about the experiences of an average student.

Second, about 90% of everything our career services office tells students/recent grads is geared towards the top third of the class. That third who goes through On-Campus Interviews to intern or be hired by large law firms or get the prestigious court clerkships. We shouldn't be mad at career services as the entire law school experience/system is geared towards certain experiences and expectations: the system. If you don't fit within the system then the system has problems dealing with you. Once again the job hunting experiences of those who graduate with honors are not the experiences of other students. The resulting advice I receive doesn't seem to fit me very well. Over the past 10 months every bit of information I've received from those who should know I modify or outright ignore.

I honestly expected to interview with 2 or 3 attorneys and be there for a few hours.

The Company is fairly large if you look at their website. This is somewhat misleading as The Company has numerous offices that are semi-autonomous. The ones I ended up hearing about today are mostly 1, 2, or 3 attorney in an office. The one I interviewed at is fairly large with 3 attorneys, but one is going back to another office soon. In effect I was interviewing for a position in a small law office. Given the size of the building I was surprised so few people actually worked there.

The actual interview lasted 20 minutes. I felt it went well though. She explained how things worked and offered some info on The Company. I asked the questions I wrote down before I showed up and felt the answers were good. Aside from one tongue twister I never paused before answering her questions and I was truthful. Any time I mentioned a potential negative I tried to show a positive right away. "I may be inexperienced, but I'm willing to learn."

Towards the end she asked the dreaded salary question. You don't want to price yourself out of their range, but you don't know what their range is in the first place. I explained the salary ranges I found on the internet when I did salary research and notes that money + benefits should be viewed together (the benefits were okay in some ways, good in others). I'm flexible when it comes to salary. If I'm paid a reasonable amount I can accept it.

I'll send her a thank you note tomorrow and hope to hear back from The Company in a few weeks. Now if only the career services office would give advice I don't have to significantly modify. Sometimes I wonder if the job search would go better if I never ask them anything.

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