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I have recently realized how uncomfortable many of my candidates are with the idea of a phone interview. The most common concern my candidates have is that they feel that they interview better in person. They worry that their personality may not come through over the phone. They also feel that if the firm were truly interested in them, they would bring them in for a face-to-face interview.
- Why A Phone Interview?
A phone interview is very common when firms are talking to an attorney who is located out of town. However, I am seeing more phone/screening interviews happening even for local candidates. Many candidates are confused or insulted when this happens to them.
Firms are run more efficiently than they used to be. When I started practicing law in the early 2000s, phone interviews were rare, even for out of town attorneys. If they liked your resume, they brought you into the office. Firms wasted a lot of time and money doing this, and thus, the screening interview has become far more common. Many firms even have the screening interviews conducted by the recruiting coordinator, rather than they attorneys, so as to not to waste the attorneys’ time.
- The Common Goals of a Phone Interview
As an interviewee, your goal in a preliminary interview is a focused goal: to get a second interview. The firm usually will either have very targeted questions about your experience, or they will ask very broad questions. This is because you will likely face one of two scenarios: the firm either wants to know that in general, you have the type of personality that they want, or they are looking for very specific experience before moving to the next step with you.