Date: March 22nd, 2007 11:14 PM
Author: Irate university yarmulke
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
A reader sent me a link to a Washington Post article from a couple of weeks ago about a law student who's finding it hard to get a job and thinks it might be because of some negative things written about her on a message board. Apparently, the student interviewed with 16 firms, got only 4 callbacks, and no offers. She assumes the lack of offers is because she was Googled, they found some negative message board threads about her, and decided not to give her an offer. "She was stunned when she had zero offers," according to the article.
I can't speak with any particular knowledge about this student, the message board threads, or how any firm but mine makes its hiring decisions, but those would have to be some awfully interesting message board threads to get me to make dispositive judgments about candidates. Perhaps photos of them playing sports, or reading, or sleeping, or doing anything besides work. Maybe some proof that they write poetry. Short of that, I'm a little skeptical. The article mentions that the message board contains threads about "sexual activity and diseases." No serious firm is going to pay attention to that. We do our own battery of tests before they get hired, and the initiation process will take care of any problems going on down there. Lawyers at firms like these don't need genitals. It's all a moot point.
I was bothered by the "stunned" quote. Obviously I'm wrong if these message board threads did in fact stop this girl from getting a job, but it seems a bit presumptuous to assume you're entitled to one. I like to steer clear of anyone who seems too entitled during the interview process. Feeling entitled to anything is definitely a negative, whether it's vacation time, weekends, or food. There's a box on our internal evaluation form we use during the interview process: "Did they ask to use the bathroom?" If so, it's an automatic no. Recruits are not allowed to use the bathroom, and if they ask, they almost always assume we're going to say yes, and give us a look when we tell them it's against the rules. That's entitlement. And I can't deal with it.
Also, maybe this girl just looked pregnant or something. That's always a reason not to give an offer. I don't know why she's assuming it's because she was Googled. I gave up on Googling after I started finding information about other people with the same name that didn't correlate at all. I Googled one candidate when he sent in his resume and called him in for an interview thinking I was getting the shortstop for the Texas Rangers. Turned out he just had the same name. This guy was five-foot-three, thick glasses, terrible breath. He's in the tax department now, doing a terrific job. But he's no shortstop. I thought we could plug him into our softball team and win the division. But he's our third-string statistician now. It's all a mess. We have a 70-year-old retired trusts partner playing left field and a woman playing second base. There are grade school teams that could beat us. We lost 21-3 last week to a boutique entertainment firm. Not even a good boutique entertainment firm. I think their biggest client is that gecko from the Geico commercials. He gets his own trailer.
We reject people for all sorts of reasons. Frankly, it's a badge of honor to have message boards writing about your diseases. One time the Greedy Associates board said I had lupus and I got gift baskets from a half-dozen of my colleagues around the city. Excellent stuff, fresh fruit, great pears. My kids loved it, we had a feast. I was flattered they even cared. Turned out it was just some screwy blood work, I'd eaten too soon before the appointment, it screwed up all the enzyme levels. There's an associate here who complained once that there was a message board thread accusing him of having ambiguous genitalia. Eh, what do I care? Clients aren't reading this stuff, it doesn't affect the firm. I've toyed with the idea of setting up an anonymous message board in the office where people could post rumors about their colleagues. It would give people a place to vent without having to go outside the firm, and it would ensure we were up to speed about everyone's lives, but the proposal didn't get out of committee. Partners with too much to hide.
I do read people's MySpace pages though. I listen to their music. Makes me feel young again. I've got over 350 MySpace friends. Too bad I only have 3 or 4 actual friends. Maybe this girl who got rejected from all these firms would want to be my friend. Not if she has diseases though.
# posted by Anonymous @ 9:47 PM 4 comments