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by Vault Law Editors | April 16, 2008

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Attended a session called "Interviewing and Hiring Millenials."  Millenials, as we learned, are that 75-million-strong cohort of Americans born between 1978 and 2000.  The strange creatures exhibit such behaviors as "multitasking" and "having high self esteem."  According to Jim Kennedy, the management consultant who gave the presentation, 87% of law firms are having recruitment and retention problems with this group.  Apparently these youngsters, who have been continually praised--and never criticized--their entire lives, present "unique challenges" to law firms who want them to review documents for 18 hours a day.  Those krazy kids at "Buiding a Better Legal Profession" are held up by Kennedy as practically the incarnation of the Millenial ethos.  (Sorry to say, but I personally found the BBLP manifesto as hilariously naive, with its demand for work/life balance and the abolition of the billable hour.)

Kennedy offers a fundamental critique of the recruitment process: the superficiality of the interviews.  Top firms simply do not challenge elite students in the interview.  Apparently, discussions of fantasy football or reality television shows do not probe the competence of applicants.  Consequently, the interviewees were left unable to differentiate among firms.

Kennedy lays out some principles for a more effective interviewing process.  These included "Reflect the student's feelings.  Play down bad news.  Give Genuine Praise."  (But don't these perpetuate the "overindulged/overprotected" nature of millenials?  And set up false expectations about the nature of the job?)

Kennedy concludes by detailing his "Interview Funnel" methodology, which is designed to better elicit candidates' personal qualities and motivations.  Here's a hint to Millenials: When asked "what did you do when you received a lower grade than you thought you deserved?"  The answer is NEVER "I called my parents."

                                                                               -posted by brian

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