As a law student, you may have had multiple summer associate law firm offers (unless you were a summer associate candidate in 2009 and in that case you would have been lucky to find a job cleaning toilets at a law firm). However, interviewing as a lateral attorney is a whole different ball game. The stakes are higher, the competition is tougher, the interviews are more intense and the rejection is more prevalent. If you are having a hard time getting past the interview stage – check out my tips below on how to handle rejection and move your job search forward.
- Do not focus on the negative. It is not worth your time to analyze why you didn’t get an offer. Do you really want to be at a firm that doesn’t see your potential?
- Focus on the employers who are interested in you. You may need to look at small, mid-sized, or boutique firms, or firms in a less competitive market.
- Try to understand what factors may be preventing you from getting traction with an employer. In my experience the following factors usually come into play:
a. Lack of relevant experience: Regardless of the job description – often times partners are looking for someone with very specific skill set, tailored to their practice.
b. Lack of credible ties to the community or lack of bar admission: Unless the search is hard to fill, employers prefer to hire people who are local and admitted to practice within the current jurisdiction.
c. Commitment issues: Perhaps you gave off an ambivalent vibe in the interview or didn’t convince the employer that you really wanted to work at their company. Be aware that some employers automatically assume a lack of commitment from candidates who have done a lot of job-hopping in the past.
d. Poor interviewing skills: The interview is the only shot you have at impressing your future employer. The interview can quickly go downhill if you are not prepared, presentable, confident, and well spoken.
If you are starting a job search or trying to overcome rejection, reach out to a recruiter for assistance. Effective recruiters know early on whether you will be a strong candidate for a certain role and can effectively prepare you for your interview. They can also offer up insight as to why you were rejected for a certain job and how to increase your chances of getting hired going forward.