Law Firms Relying More on Behavioral Interviewing to Find the Best Candidates
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According to the article in The Legal Intelligencer, and posted August 27th at law.com, “Behavioral Interviewing Gains Momentum in Law Firm Hiring” by Gina Passarella, the underlying goals of law firm interviewers have changed.

Interviewers are looking for candidates who, in addition to being able to provide an excellent work product, can offer real world value to clients, and can handle the often stressful law firm environment.

Termed behavioral interviewing, the technique helps interviewers measure future job performance on how interviewees handled previous situations. It’s also called competency-based interviewing, which mirrors the move for many law firms toward competency-based advancement.


In the article, Christopher Boyle, hiring partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, explained that behavioral interviewing isn’t a complex concept; it merely focuses on digging deeper into a candidate’s resume for examples of how he or she may have exhibited characteristics of an attorney for which the firm is looking. For example, do they have the ability to deal with adversity? Can they handle the repercussions when they make mistakes? Were they put into unexpected situations?

Candidates might be asked to field such questions as: “How did you handle the last time you received an unexpected project?” or “What was an innovative idea you came up with in the workplace?”

Hiring partner Eric Kraeutler from Morgan Lewis & Bockius explained behavioral interviewing  is a way to talk with students about the important decisions they’ve made in their lives and why they made them, so as to better understand their decision-making abilities and their orientation to characteristics the firm believes are important.

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In addition, Kraeutler said he views the traditional goal of behavioral interviewing — increasing attorney retention — to be in line with the refocused efforts of bringing on those who can add more for clients. Those attorneys will be the most successful at servicing clients and will then likely look to stay on with the firm because of their professional success, he said.


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