Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, July 23, 2004

TO: All members of the firm
RE: Appropriate and inappropriate interview questions

With recruiting season upon us, I wanted to ensure that we do not repeat some mistakes from the past, as well as ensuring we do not run afoul of the law. Please heed the following points carefully, especially if you're disabled, since you're the first ones we'll fire in a downturn anyway.

1. It is very important to be sensitive to issues of race. Do not acknowledge the candidate's race in any way, even if you have the best intentions in mind (e.g., examples from last year, telling a student who was either Scandanavian or just had really fair skin how the salary will allow him "enough money to visit the Nordic homeland," or insisting the firm "needs you for the diversity brochure.") However, if you do find yourself making a reference to someone's ethnic background, please at least be accurate. Recall the problem last year when Don asked the slightly overweight Canadian student if he was a sumo wrestler, leading to a puzzled reaction. Finally, do not overcompensate with hyperbole. "I have never met a person like you I didn't like" is not appropriate small talk. Especially not when followed up with, "of course, I live in a gated community and my father was a Nazi."

2. Similarly, gender is a very sensitive area. Despite what normally passes for appropriate talk in the office, do not refer to female candidates as "bitches." Please keep that kind of language limited to non-interview situations or when the candidate is not within earshot. Also, references to how much you would like the chance to get a particular candidate pregnant are usually not appropriate, with some exceptions (see Appendix A). Finally, don't tell any female candidates about the mandatory sterilization for first-years.

3. It is unfortunate that 'political correctness' has made it impossible for us to continue using our old evaluation scale ('genius,' 'normal,' 'retard'). Instead, we will use numbers corresponding to those three levels: "1," "2," and "absolutely not, due to apparent mental illness, or just doesn't seem Protestant enough." Please stick to those terms.

4. Don't tell Jewish candidates about the annual pig roast. When in doubt, assume all candidates from Ivy League schools are Jewish.

5. Moving on, please refrain from using stereotypes about certain undergraduate institutions when conducting the interview. "I see you went to the University of Florida. I think I saw you in a Girls Gone Wild video" is not appropriate for an on-campus interview, although standards are more flexible during call-backs.

6. Do not vomit on the candidates. Even if they are ugly.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. Especially the morons on floor 17.