Survey: Job Candidates Should Expect Four Interviews Before Offer

Monday, August 1, 2005 - 01:00

Even if candidates ace the first interview, they should be prepared to go a few more rounds to prove they're a contender for the job. In a new survey, attorneys polled said that on average they interview candidates four times before extending an employment offer. They cited having little or no knowledge of the company or firm (37 percent) and uncertainty of career plans (24 percent) as the most common reasons job seekers lose out to their competition.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada.

"While many law offices anticipate adding staff in the coming year, they want to make sure each candidate is a good fit before extending an offer," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "The best way for job candidates to impress hiring managers is to familiarize themselves with the firm and be prepared to discuss how they can directly support the organization's vision and goals."

Mr. Volkert offered additional suggestions for a successful interview:

  • Warm up. Prepare yourself mentally for the meeting. Conduct an Internet search to become acquainted with recent cases in which the firm has been involved. Visiting the company's website also provides a good overview of its specific practice areas.
  • Learn from the heavyweights. Past associates of a law firm or corporate legal department are sources of valuable information. Inquire about their work experiences and the company's culture.
  • Display fancy footwork. Hiring managers may ask questions such as, "How do you respond under stress?" or "How do you approach a problem for which their appears to be no clear solution?" to uncover clues about your work behavior and decision-making skills. Developing concise candid responses to these types of questions will help you avoid being caught off guard.
  • Pull out all the punches. Come prepared with a few questions of your own about the organization's future plans and the growth potential for the position.
  • Stay in the match. Be prompt in sending a thank you note that expresses appreciation, restates your enthusiasm for the opportunity, and touches on strengths that you bring to the job.