My worst nightmare
I entered the room to shake hands with an older man and a younger woman. The guy was the most evil person ever. It was only a 20 minute interview, but somehow he terrified me so much that he almost made me cry.
First, he asked me why I was interested in working in DC (besides the fact that I am from the area). I was like “Well, you know, I like being in a big city, working alongside or near the federal government and government agencies, some financial institutions, etc…” other crap and he was like “Financial institutions?!?! HAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAH! No WAY. NO. YOU’RE WRONG. That’s NEW YORK. Not DC.”
I was like “well …okay….”
Then, shortly afterwards, he asked me “Why do you want to work with us?”
I described the firm’s great reputation, that it seemed like a collegial and cooperative atmosphere, etc., and he was like: “Umm…no. Everyone says that. Really, what makes us different?” (Keep in mind, this was a job fair, and I had like 5 interviews at once, so while I had researched the company, I hadn’t really been prepared for this level of specificity.)
SOOO I made some stuff up.
Then, he asked me the difference between civil and criminal contempt of court. It had something to do with my summer job but not really, and so again I resorted to “being creative” – aka making things up.
THEN, (this was the worst), I was talking about how I was interested in doing pro bono work as an attorney, and he was like “What do you think about associates getting bonuses to do pro bono work?!” I was like
“Uh…well…I like that they are being incentivized to do that, which is good for the pro bono clients, but it feels sort of strange to give people money to make them help others hahaa (awkward, nervous laugh)”
He replied: “Oh. So you basically disagree with our firm’s pro bono policy.” And at that point I was like F. YOU. I smiled and nodded cuz I was OVER IT.
After it all, he laughed and shook my hand and said how it was very fun talking to me.
I was just a little 1L, and he was a grown man. Going in there, I hadn’t expected to see the face of EVIL, but I did. Now, every night, I sleep with a wooden stake and a clove of garlic under my pillow.
Some outside reflections on JD’s experience:
- Job Fairs are a law student’s version of the Hunger Games. Beware, be hydrated, and be prepared.
- Interviews are a two-way street. If your interviewer is laughing at your expense or treating his/her co-interviewer like crap, run!
- Do NOT. I repeat. Do NOT look an Evil interviewer straight in the eye. It has been known to cause dry mouth and limbic paralysis.
- If you ever hit an awkward silence, make sure to say, “The weather’s supposed to be pretty (insert adjective) today…” Weather is always a great topic of conversation.
This one’s serious: Learn from those who have gone through this experience before. Everyone can benefit from a good mentor.