Job Hunting Tips

I am loving the bad on campus interview ("OCI") stories over at Above The Law. Especially "Comment 83," but be warned, it's a little off-color.

Anyway, I've got one story. It's not really an interview story, but it is a good "don't" story for law school students interested in finding a job.

Two friends of mine from law school work together as lawyers for the government. They're good friends with each other, they were friends in law school and they're happy to work together now. Neither of them have any hiring responsibilities. Maybe they could put in a good word for someone, sure, but government hiring is a little more complicated than that. One of them, we'll call her Sarah, was out on family medical leave this past spring. The other one, Joan, got a call from a student who was, at the time of the call, a student at our former law school.

The student called Joan at her office and said, "I'm currently a student at your alma mater, and I just had a first interview with your employer. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your job and maybe get a few tips for the interview process." My friend Joan thought this was a nice approach and was happy to help out someone from our law school, so she spent about 15 minutes chatting with the law student and sharing some thoughts and tips.

I thought it was really nice of Joan to give her time in that way.

But, then the law student called again. And again. Asking things like "When do you think I'm going to hear from them?" and basically whining about not having a job. I understand that it's frustrating to not have a job. I understand it's frustrating to not hear from an employer, especially if it's a job you really want. Tell it to your friends, or your classmates, or your career services office. But, seriously, one phone call to a lawyer in the office is fine, then you get maybe one follow-up, tops. Any more than that, you're entering stalker land.

(Unless, of course, the lawyer is saying, "Call me back and let me know what happens!" Which wasn't what Joan did.)

But wait, it gets better. Then she called Joan again. And she went out of her way to thank Joan for her time. Which was nice. Sort of.

She said, "Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I really appreciate it. You're the only one who even spoke to me. You know, I called someone else from our law school. Her name was Sarah. Can you believe she didn't even call me back? And I left her a bunch of messages. How unprofessional is that? She couldn't even give me the courtesy of a phone call? What is with some people?!?"

Not a good way to get a job. Here's a free tip: Don't bad mouth ANYONE, you don't know when you're talking about someone's best friend. And don't assume the worst about someone - if someone doesn't call you, maybe they're dealing with something more difficult than you can imagine.

p.s. I've heard she did not get an offer. Go figure.

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