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Successful Job Interviews Lawyers Assistance Program Presented by Robert Bircher 1.

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1 Successful Job Interviews Lawyers Assistance Program Presented by Robert Bircher 1

2 General Context for a Job Interview A job interview is not a test, it is more like a date-both sides are checking each other out Your context is that of a resource broker- not a job beggar Generally, there are 3 kinds of job interviews; Behavioral interviews-employers are looking for you to give them real-life examples of what you can do. In these you focus on skills, performance and achievement 2

3 General These interviews are common with large organizations with dedicated HR departments Technical interviews are specifically about the details of the job-i.e. what are the top 5 Supreme Court decisions in this area? What do you think about this specific issue etc. These are common with Government jobs Social interviews-These are more casual and can bounce around to many areas 3

4 General Social Interviews are common with small firms Employers will be most impressed with a goals, obstacles, solution, numbers approach “We were trying to achieve X these were the problems we had, this is what I did, and here are the results (preferably in the form of numbers)” This has more impact than “I am really good at X” 4

5 Job Interviews Employers are looking for your skills-transferable, content, self management There are 2 general types of interview-Informational and Job Specific. Job specific interviews are usually after you are short- listed 5

6 Informational Interviews These are for information gathering only and the main context is curiosity-to find out if you would like this type of job They are much less stressful than a job interview and in many ways more informative since neither you nor the interviewee are under pressure They are easy to set up “talk to a person about themselves and they will listen for hours” They are proactive and much more useful than pondering job ads “I wonder what that would be like?” 6

7 Top 10 Tips Start with the frame (how you mentally structure the interview)- not the picture (what you say once you are in the room) Research the organization before you go in-find out about their history, purposes and goals Organizations-big or small-love to be loved Balance talking and speaking 50/50-do not speak for more than 2 minutes at a time 7

8 Top 10 Tips View yourself as a resource person-a valuable asset to help them The meta-message is “here is what I can do for you” You are there to make a proposal of how you can solve their problems-orally at the interview and followed by one after it in writing People assume you do your job hunting the same way you will do your job-if you are thorough and well prepared for your interview you will be the same in your job 8

9 Top 10 Tips Use the interview to gather intelligence about their organization-Is this a place I want to work? How do they treat their employees Treat the interview as a mutual exchange of information - do I fit here?-don’t act like a lamb going to the slaughterhouse Remember the dating metaphor, you are sizing each other up 9

10 Tip 2 Remember that the person interviewing you is as nervous as you-why?-they are on the hook if it is a bad hire and interviewing is a very unreliable way of picking good people Tip 3-Mentally catalogue the employers fears, not yours E.g. you can’t do the job, you won’t put in a full day, get sick a lot, are hard to get along with, have a work disrupting character flaw, won’t show initiative etc, 10

11 Tip 4 Don’t bother memorizing answers- in reality there are only 5 questions-everything else is a variation of these Why are you here? What can you do for us? What kind of person are you? What distinguishes you from everybody else? Can we afford you? The answers to these questions are the result of self assessment 11

12 Tip 5 You need to ask these 5 reciprocal questions: What does this job involve? What are the skills of a top employee here? Are these the kind of people I want to work with? Is there something unique about me for this job? Can I get the pay I want? Bring proof if you have it-writing sample, newspaper clipping, complements in writing from clients or bosses, cases reported etc. 12

13 Tip 6 Employers really have little interest in your past, they only ask about it to try and predict future behavior Past time questions are about the employers fears They are concerned about your future-with them For example Why did you leave your last job? is really about a fear that you don’t get along with people-especially bosses 13

14 Tip 7 If things are going well the time frame of the questions will proceed from past to present to future E.g.. Where did you go to law school?-What type of work are you looking for now? Where do you see yourself in one year? If the questions are past focused you are in trouble-you can shift the frame with future focused questions-What types of cases will I be working on? 14

15 Tip 8 Interviews are lost to Mosquitoes rather than Dragons, and often in the first 2 minutes Men-same as dating-bathe, shave, sharp dress pants, no bad breath, don’t wear/overdo cologne, shoes polished etc. Women-easy on the makeup, have your hair done, sophisticated not daring clothes, manicured nails- easy on the extensions etc. 15

16 Tip 8 Avoid nervous mannerisms-no eye contact-slouching-fidgeting etc. Ways to self sabotage- downplaying your achievements, being overly self critical, being critical of your last employer, arrogance, being late, lack of enthusiasm, lying on your resume etc, 16

17 Tip 9& 10 Ask closing questions: Can you offer me this job? Do you want me to come back for a second interview? When will the decision be made? When will I hear from you? Tip 10-Always send a thank you note the next day-shows class, shows gratitude, helps employer remember you Exercise-Trial interview-groups of two-make up your own facts 17

18 Remember your Metamessage A metamessage is the message within the message, or you might call it the take away message It is based on the idea that the interviewer will forget your words, but will remember your main strengths, if they remember you at all! You need to know what your metamessage is and make sure the interviewer remembers it Your metamessage will be your greatest strengths and are about who you are as much as what you have achieved-there is usually no more than 5 and as few as 2 metamessages 18

19 Metamessages They can be intangible i.e. enthusiasm can be a metamessage “I have always wanted to do this type of work” They can be about who you are- i.e.- “As an aboriginal woman I understand what legal challenges they have and how they relate to them” They can be about your culture “I speak Hindi and my parents were born in India and I understand that culture and what legal needs they have” 19

20 Metamessages They can be about achievement “I graduated 3 rd in my class at UBC” “ I articled with one of the best Lawyers in Victoria” “I raised 2 children and a husband while going to law school and still graduated in the top half of my class” They can be about character “I backpacked across Australia” “I ran the Boston Marathon and finished!” “I lived in a Monastery for a year” Whatever is unique about you!!! 20

21 Metamessages Must be directly relevant to the job; must be true For example: “I did the same type of legal work you are looking for 5 years” “ I have worked with legal teams on large cases for 3 years” “I have the exact back ground you are seeking” Make sure they get the metamessage- don’t worry about the message-mention your metamessage often Test: if they are interviewing 30 lawyers would they remember your unique metamessage? 21

22 Metamessages Don’t have more than 5-(2or 3 is best) people can’t or won’t remember more than that Don’t use a negative meta message “I just got out of rehab and met Britney Spears” “I got fired from my last job but it was great because I never liked that firm anyway” “The reason need to work is because my husband ran off with another woman and left me with the children” This is what people will remember! 22

23 Metamessages What is your metamessage? Meet with 3 others and create 5 metamessages about yourself you could use in a job interview-How can you work them into the conversation? Job interview rehearsal-pick a partner and decide on what type of job it is- one person will be the interviewer-the other the applicant-get into character and do the interview 23

24 Special Issues These are situations where you have been fired, long periods without work, law society problems, bankruptcy, addictions etc. The number one mistake here is to focus on (or overly emphasize) your problem issue and ignore what you can offer to the organization. In many cases it should only be mentioned if it directly relates to the job (ie law society restriction) 24

25 Special Issues Employers are not interested in your past!! They are interested in your future- with them!! It is not about being dishonest it is about emphasizing the positive (marketing)-the truth is that candy causes cavities, is fattening and lacks nutritional value-have you ever seen it marketed that way? Do those truths stop you from eating/enjoying candy? 25

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