During law firm interviews, the issue of past employment is a common topic. The applicant might talk about their past jobs in terms of what they liked and what they didn’t like. They might also talk about why they are seeking a new opportunity.
By the same token, this is often an area of interest to the law firm as well. Any law firm wants to make sure the applicant would be a good fit for the law firm. And past employment is one potential indicator.
Obviously, every job has pros and cons to it. There is no question that any employee may like certain things about a prior job a whole lot and not like other aspects at the same time. All of this is naturally going to come out in a job interview.
However, no matter the situation, it’s important to look for applicants who address these kinds of issues with class and diplomacy. Class and diplomacy is critical because it can help ensure that the employee will behave similarly in your law firm if you were to hire them.
Class and diplomacy means that the applicant is even-handed when talking about their prior positions. It means that they are discreet in terms of maintaining confidentiality and proprietary information regarding their prior job. It also means showing respect, that they acknowledge that being a boss, or owning a business, is a difficult endeavor and that (as much as they think they can) they might not be able to do it better themselves.
On top of all of this, an applicant ought to have a prior boss as a job reference. If all the references of the applicant were merely co-workers, or somebody mid-level who might not even be with the company any longer, this does raise questions.
In the end having multiple jobs is not necessarily a bad thing. Employees can take nuggets of gold from their past employment and ultimately decide to move on to a different experience. However, look for applicants who address these issues with class and diplomacy in the application and interview process. These are the applicants you want.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.