The interviewing process is punctuated by uncertainty. Indeed, uncertainty is perhaps its defining feature for everyone involved.
On many antiquarian maps, there is a simple, chilling statement scrawled at the edge of the known world: "Here be monsters." This is the mapmaker's rather dramatic way of saying, "No one is quite sure what lies here, but it is almost certainly bad." But a hedge of this sort is not nearly as evocative, nor as indicative of human nature, as a miniature pictorial of ravening mythological beasts. From a psychological perspective, this three word warning symbolizes how humans have dealt with uncertainty from time immemorial: with a keen sense of dread. And returning from a law firm interview that was difficult to read can fill you with a similar sense of foreboding. With no quick feedback, this can rapidly deteriorate into worry, followed by full-blown panic, and finally, despair. Meanwhile, your recruiter could be negotiating a lavish salary package for you with the firm. Who knew?
The interviewing process is punctuated by uncertainty. Indeed, uncertainty is perhaps its defining feature for everyone involved. Let's take one example. Particularly in the early stages of a recruiting cycle, interviewers often present a 'poker face' to everyone. Needless to say, this is unsettling -- especially for their spouses -- and even more so when you contrast it to the sometimes fawning (by comparison) courtship process that you may have encountered in law school. The normal cues that accompany friendly human interaction, such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expression are either intentionally obscured or altogether absent, as if you were meeting someone who missed the audition for Invasion of the Body Snatchers by several decades. Why is this?
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