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.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Diary of an Interview

4:26 pm: I arrive at the Charles Hotel for my 4:40 interview. Dozens of my classmates are in the lobby, all wearing dark suits. Most of the ties I see are red. Mine is blue. I’m screwed. I find the chart with all of the firm names and the locations of the “hospitality suites.” I’m going to room 743. I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it. 734.

4:27 pm: Dozens of my classmates stream out of the elevator. I don’t know how they all fit. I get in. I press 4. 437. That’s where I’m going.

4:28 pm: No, that’s not it. I get back in the elevator. 7. 743. Got it.

4:29 pm: I arrive at the hospitality suite, where they ask my name and tell me who I’ll be meeting with. They hand me a packet filled with brochures, pamphlets, and a one-page bio of the guy I’ll be meeting with in 11 minutes. I have 11 minutes to read seventy-five pages about the firm. Go.

4:30 pm: One piece of paper they’ve handed me tells me my interviewer is in room 913. Got it. I leave the literature some other firm gave me in the lobby on a chair in the hospitality room, and head back to the elevator.

4:31 pm: “Oh, hi.” “Yes, I’m interviewing with them too.” “Room 913.” “Oh, you interviewed with the same guy four hours ago?” “Oh, he was a purple three-eyed monster?” “Oh, thanks.” “Yeah, good luck with your Wachtell interview.”

4:32 pm: Back in the elevator. I press 9. I get out and walk the wrong way, circling the entire floor of the Charles. I eventually double back and find the room. The hallway is filled with people dressed just like me. Except their ties are red, and my tie is blue.

4:34 pm: Sweat is beading on my upper lip. I’m glad I took a napkin from the hospitality room.

4:35 pm: My fly is open. Didn’t notice that before. Let’s fix that. Zip.

4:36 pm: “Oh, hi.” “Did I finish reading all the brochures? No, but you did?” “Yes, that’s right, I should probably talk lower here in the hallway.”

4:37 pm: Someone down the hall has just knocked on the door. It’s three minutes early. And this whole knocking thing seems pretty rude.

4:38 pm: I swear, a girl just bent down over the keyhole and cleared her throat. She cleared her throat into the keyhole in order to get the guy’s attention without knocking. People are weird.

4:39 pm: Someone else has knocked. I feel funny knocking.

4:40 pm: Everyone else has knocked.

4:41 pm: I knock. A voice from inside says, “one minute.”

4:42 pm: It’s been one minute. Cleared-her-throat-in-the-keyhole girl just knelt down on the ground and blew air into the crack under the door to get the interviewer’s attention.

4:43 pm: The door opens. The interviewer and my classmate are laughing heartily. He must have liked her. I have to follow a funny person? Goodness. “Hello, I’m ‘A Lawyer.’” “Hello, I’m ‘Really Nervous.’” “Come on in and have a seat.”

4:44 pm: Someone told me never to sit down until the interviewer sits down, so I stand there awkwardly for three seconds until he sits. I put my resume folio on the table. Then on the floor. Then back on the table.

4:45 pm: “So, how are you?” Good, this is an easy one. I know the answer to this one. “I’m good. How are you?” “Good.” Oh, great, we’re connecting quite well here so far.

4:46 pm: “I see on your resume that fourteen summers ago, you played in a sandbox. Tell me about that.” There’s twenty-six unique “askable items” on my resume. He has just picked the one I ranked twenty-sixth on my list of which items I most wanted to talk about. Great.

4:47 pm: “That’s great.” His tie is red. My tie is blue. I’m screwed. “I also see on your resume that you went to college. How was that?” Glad he got specific with that one. “Well, I thought college was a great experience. I wippledly hoppled.” That’s my best anecdote. The ‘wippledly hoppling’ story. Always gets a laugh. He doesn’t laugh. “And then I snickeldy trifled.” No reaction. Plan B. “And, in one class, I blah blah blah blah blah ---” Stop talking. You’re not making any sense. Stop talking, take a breath, and start over. “Blah blah blah blah ---” He’s not listening, I’m not even listening. I don’t know what I’m saying. “Blah blah blah.”

4:48 pm: “That’s interesting.” Neither of us have any idea what I just said. “So, do you have any questions I can answer for you?” Uh oh. There’s 12 minutes left, and he’s already pulled out his trump card. This can’t be good. “Actually, I noticed on your web site ---” Indicate you’ve done research. Check. “That you have a very strong fiddledy floo practice, which I’m very interested in ---” Say what you’re interested in. Check. “And I was wondering if that’s a place where a lot of people start out.”

4:49 pm: “Actually, we don’t do fiddledy floo. We do bliddley bopple bollywock.” I mixed up my firms. Jeez. That was dumb. “Oh. You don’t do fiddeledy floo? Not even just the floo? What about internationally, in countries like Gobble, Gibble, and Grog?” I figured I’d at least let him know I knew where the international offices were.

4:50 pm: “Well, not in Gibble. And we don’t have any offices in Gobble and Grog. You might be thinking of Toronto, where we are planning to expand next fall.” “Yes, I must have meant Toronto. I hear it’s a lovely place.” “I hate Canada.” “Yes, me too.”

4:51 pm: “So. What to do. Let’s see. I went to Harvard. I had Professor Zipple. What about you?” “I had his wife, Professor Zapple. She’s wonderful.” “I hated her.” “Me too.”

4:52 pm: “Did you hear someone knock?” “No.” “I think I did.” “Yes, me too.” He stands up. This isn’t good. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Best of luck with all of your future endeavors.” This surely sounds like he’s never planning to see me again. That can’t be good language. “I’d shake your hand, but I hate you.” That’s also not real favorable talk. “Go away now.” At least he’s being subtle about it.

4:53 pm: The hallways are empty, and will remain so for seven more minutes, until the good interviews end. I go back to the hospitality suite, pick up a foam squeeze toy in the shape of a pen, and a pen in the shape of a piece of foam, and go on my merry way. Don’t think I’ll be getting a callback from this one.