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April 12, 2012 6:54 PM

The Careerist: Eight Tips for Acing the Interview

Posted by Vivia Chen

It's not just a friendly conversation. Nor is it true that there are no right or wrong answers. Not to be paranoid, but I think interviews are sometimes power games in which the interviewer watches you—the crafty mouse—squirm in confusion and fright.

The good news for law students and laterals is that most firm interviews aren't quite as sophisticated about hiring as companies like Goldman Sachs or Google (click here and here for examples). But the bad news is that some firms are starting to adopt corporate hiring techniques. A few have adopted "substantive" interview techniques—like putting recruits through "personality" tests or simulated client meetings.

But even when firms don't use formal vetting devices, some have tricks up their sleeves. In his book Hiring for Attitude, Mark Murphy reveals the mind games that interviewers play to vet potential employees. For those who have little desire to slog through an entire H.R. book, Business Insider provides a nice synopsis:

1. Be wary of the awkward silence. It's not that the interviewer is socially awkward (though that might also be the case); rather, the silence might be deliberate. "When faced with an uncomfortable silence, people will start talking 95 percent of the time," says Murphy.

2. Be egotistical. "High performers answered in the first person 60 percent more than low performers did," says Miller. So don't be modest—and use "I," "me," and "we" with abandon.

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