Abandon Random Acts of Interviewing — A Structured Process Is Worth the Effort


Law firms across the country once again are visiting law school campuses to interview students for much sought after summer associate or entry-level positions. A lot of time and effort will be devoted to this process, and yet, looking down the road a few years, a significant number of those hired will have left the firms they joined with such excitement. Some will leave voluntarily and disenchanted with big law. Some will be “coached” to explore other opportunities. The firms then will struggle to determine where the process went wrong running through a litany of possibilities: they [insert associate name] lacked the inner motivation or drive to work as hard as we needed them to, they were never going to be able to develop a book of business, they weren’t smart enough to do the high end work required, they didn’t work well with the team, and so on. Wouldn’t everyone benefit from an interview process that provided a window into some of the candidates’ traits and behaviors that will and won’t lead to long-term success in the firm? A more structured interview process can provide just that needed information.

Both the research literature and practice suggest that behaviorally based structured interviews are a significantly better hiring tool than unstructured interviews in which questions are unplanned and vary across candidates. Structured versus Unstructured Interviews: Facts and Research summarizes key advantages to structured interviews, in particular: increased accuracy in predicting future performance, enhanced objectivity and reduced bias, and greater legal defensibility. Types of organizations that utilize structured interviews also are identified, as is a list of additional references. Read on for a powerful summary of the benefits of a more structured interview process that can be used to convince the naysayers in your organization that there is a better way.

To download Structured versus Unstructured Interviews: Facts and Research, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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