Saturday, September 6, 2008

call backs and grades

I believe it was E who asked the question about the lucky Joe whose grades aren't top but who nevertheless scores callback(s)? with big firm(s)?  E wondered whether you should address the grades.  I wouldn't unless asked directly.  The screening interviewer picked you for a reason.  It was something you had on paper and/or in interviewing that made him or her advocate for a call back for you.  If you were outside of the firm's cut off for your school, the screener often needs to explain to HP or the recruiting committee why they want you back.  There could be any number of reasons -- great personality that shows great client relations potential,  terrific and on point prior work experience, you speak a particular language they want, the screener just connected with you, etc.  So, proceed in the callbacks as you would if grades were not an issue.  Be personable, be interested. Of course, those with lower grades may need to "shine" more.  Show you are really interested in the firm by having done your research and having good, insightful and on point questions to ask.  Express enthusiasm for the firm's practice areas, projects, programs, etc.  

On most evaluation forms, there is a place for grades.  So, the call back interviewers may check grades good, or fair, but not exceptional. That will be one item in the equation, but we really look at the overall comments from the interviews.

If you are asked about the grades, you need to explain in your best way without getting flustered.  If you did have a medical issue or family death, it is ok to generally reference it.  If  it was a first semester thing and you were getting used to testing style, etc., it is ok to say that.  End on a positive note...although my grade in civil procedure first semester did not meet my expectations, I turned it around second semester...  something like that.  We like to see progress especially from first semester forward. 


James said...

You mentioned that we should have good on point questions to ask. I feel like I have trouble coming up with specific questions that would be on point for a given firm and just end up asking the same generic questions. If it helps, I'm looking mostly a firms with a strong emphasis or even an exclusive practice in intellectual property and end up asking about the differences between prosecution and litigation and how much experience I could get in each. Do you have any examples of good on point questions?

Anonymous said...

Hey HP,
I love the blog and share it with all my 2L friends.

Two questions -
1) How do you think the economy will impact the rate of callbacks to offers? It seems like, simply by the numbers for our schools, firms have cut back. Once an applicant makes the callback cut, how would you estimate the chances? 1/3? 2/3? Worse than earlier years?

2) Do firms "yield protect" when offering callbacks? I had the luck to do pretty well with a lot of big firms with some very, very good numbers, but some of the smaller firms in those markets that I was actually really interested in dinged me hard.