Are You Interviewing Law Students?

Here are some tips for what to focus on when hiring.

This summer, I spent a good amount of time traveling the country and teaching interview skills to attorneys at major law firms before they went on campus to recruit new talent. Over the past 23 years, I have conducted interview training for 67 law firms and have interviewed thousands of candidates myself. Conducting all of this training has caused me to think a lot about which characteristics, regardless of whether you are hiring legal or business talent, are most important to focus on when interviewing.

Here are five key things I believe we should be looking for when interviewing:

  1. Self-Motivation: People who are internally driven to do a great job feel compelled to do so because that is who they are, rather than just for external rewards. I ask candidates, “What motivates you?” to assess this important trait.
  2. Grit: Candidates who know how to persevere and have a long-term perspective perform better because they have the resilience needed to adapt to new challenges.
  3. Practical Intelligence: Individuals who know how to apply the knowledge they have to solve problems and make decisions. This is why going beyond the resume and exploring how the candidate has applied what they learned is critical. Too often attorneys are so impressed with a law student who has excelled academically that they don’t go further and ask questions to asses whether the candidate is book smart or a practical problem solver.
  4. Drive: Professionals who focus on delivering results. They use their skills and intelligence to produce valuable end products. They have an innate sense that there is a client to serve and they invest their time and competencies wisely.
  5. Accountability: Candidates who take responsibility and don’t blame others when things go wrong. They step up, admit mistakes and suggest solutions

I hope you find these key success factors to be of value. I wish those of you who are immersed in OCI a very successful recruiting season!

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