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Real-Life On-Campus Interview Nightmares


It’s job season for rising 2Ls. It’s a stressful time for pretty much anyone. But, I’ve been hearing a lot of hilarious stories, so I’m going to share some with you.

The Ronald Reagan Library

I was interviewing with a big firm in the City. They’re known for being especially left leaning in an industry that’s itself very liberal to begin with. So I walk into a partner’s office for my second interview of the day, and there’s presidential memorabilia everywhere. Pez dispensers, bobble heads, buttons, and a huge map marked with what are probably the birthplaces of US presidents.

She asks me, “So, where’re you from?” I tell her I’m from this small town in California. She goes, “Isn’t there a presidential library near there?” I answer, “Yeah, it’s the Reagan Presidential Library, I worked there and . . .” And the moment I said “Reagan,” I thought I should backtrack. “Well, I really didn’t like it though – my mother forced me to work there. I’m not even a Republican.”

The partner turns and slowly brings down this giant, framed portrait off her shelf and just holds it between us. It was the Gipper.

The Wedding

There’s a knock on the door. It’s the recruiting person, letting us know the time is up. I’m thinking, “Great, this interview is over. It went pretty well. I managed not to screw anything up.”

I’m walking toward the door with the partner behind me as we pass about a dozen photos of his family. I say, “You have a very nice office. I like your photos.” My small talk game is on point.

I’m distracted thinking about how well the interview went, and how I’m going to smile and thank the partner for his time, when he responds, pointing at one of the photos: “That’s my son. He’s getting married this weekend.”

I go, “Oh cool, are you going to the wedding?”

“Umm—yes. He’s my son.”

The Handshake

So I just had lunch with two really friendly, young associates. They seemed like the kind of girls I could be besties with. I felt like we really clicked.

We get outside the restaurant, somewhere in Midtown, and we’re about to part ways. I turn toward one of the interviewers and go in for a hug—purely on reflex—as she stretches her hand out for a handshake. I manage to mush her hand into my body as I half commit to the hug. I feel awkward, try to back out, apologize.

She says, “Oh, a hug. We can hug!” So now she hugs my outstretched hand into her body. I feel all of Midtown staring at me. All right, we’re hugging now. So I turn to the other associate and I go in for a hug, because, obviously, we’re hugging now. Nope. She has her hand stretched out.

The Truth

I had a screener interview with a DC firm I really wanted to work for. The only problem was that I didn’t have any ties to DC, and this particular firm really wanted DC ties. So I prepared this long spiel about what attracts me to DC, and how I love the work the DC firms do, and so on.

But really, I love NYC. It’s home to me, and I don’t want to live in DC. Ugh, but this firm is so perfect for me. For them, I would go to DC anyway.

The interview starts with a few very typical questions. Do you like law school? What’s your favorite class? How was your summer job? Then he cuts me off mid-sentence and goes, “So, New York or DC?”

“Well, it’s going to be a really tough decision for me. Really tough. I love New York, it would be very difficult for me to leave.”

I can see myself saying these things and my inner voice is screaming. STOP. NO. YOU LOVE DC! DC!!!

But it’s too late. A few days later, I got a rejection email.

So in my moment of truth, I forgot to lie.