Real Stories from Area Attorneys: Funny and Awkward Moments in Interviews

Think you are the only one who has had a strange question or situation arise during an interview?  The following are comments from area attorneys about uncomfortable questions and awkward moments that have happened in interviews in which they have been the interviewer or the interviewee–you are not alone!

“I always hate those, would you rather be a pilot or navigator in a fighter plane and why, what type of tree would you be, etc. but people ask them so you need an answer. I also hate the ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ question. I’ve never been right with my predictions, but people expect that you have some sort of plan in mind.”

“I had three terrible interviews that I haven’t yet blocked out (there may be others that I have). The first was conducted all in French because I had on my resume that I am “fluent” in French. My resume now says that I am “proficient”. I can hold my own and understand, but I didn’t know any legal jargon in French and my interviewer knew it and made a point with it. The second horrible interview was conducted at hyper speed. I think it was the interviewer’s ‘technique.’ He asked no questions other than, ‘what questions do you have for me?’ I’d ask a question, he’d speed talk through a very brief answer and in 20 seconds say, ‘Next. We did this for 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure I asked him about whether he’d ever ridden a horse before at some point because he had a bunch of landscape, ‘country’ paintings. He thought I was weird. I thought he was a jerk. The last was my favorite of the worst. We both looked at each other and sized each other up before sitting down at the table, then we both made fun of each other, politely, for 5 minutes before I told him thanks, but no thanks.”

“The oddest interview I had was a first where the firm brought 4 interviewers to campus. It was strategy on their part–what do you do with something ‘different.’ So I had to be able to show that I could work a room. It was hard.”

“I like to make sure that people have a chuckle in interviews. Humor is a great way to be remembered, but it’s really easy to be accidentally offensive, so you really need to be aware of where the lines are or should be.”

“I have asked interviewees what their favorite movie was and some have been unable to give me an answer because it was not a question they expected. That was not good for them.”

“I had an interviewee who sang in a rock band. When we talked about the type of music they played he told me it was classic rock. I knew most of the songs because they were hits when I was in high school. He told me he was raised on those songs because the albums were popular when his parents were in high school. We quickly discovered, to my shock and disappointment that I was about the same age as his parents.”

“I was asked about attention to detail in an interview with [a large national law firm]. I responded honestly that I was guilty of proofreading my casebooks as I studied, and I’m almost certain that it was that response that led to an offer. I have no idea what the take-away lesson is.”