I’m a 2010 law grad with an interview at a biglaw firm in the next couple of days. For the last 6 months, I’ve been working at small law firm, and I was laid off last week. I applied to the biglaw job more than a month ago (before I was laid off, although I did know work was waning). My problem is I’m anticipating the question “Why are you looking to leave your current position” and although I have a great answer prepared about the challenges and opportunities this firm would provide me that my small firm didn’t (with more firm-specific details, of course, but I’m choosing to leave those out), I know I also have to mention I’m no longer at small firm. I’m worried because everyone I’ve talked to has told me that unemployment is the kiss of death in biglaw, and I’m afraid the biglaw firm will toss my application in the trash once they realize I was laid off. Do you or your readers have any suggestions on how I can best phrase this? For what its worth, the small firm job was contingent on workflow from the get-go and there was always an understanding between me and my boss that the position might be temporary. I think I’m a great fit for the biglaw position, and its exactly what I want to do, so I’m really hoping this interview goes well.
First, good luck on the interview!! This can definitely be a touchy subject, but ultimately it sounds like you’ll be fine. (Pictured: dark-clouds-over-downtown manhattan, originally uploaded to Flickr by dandeluca.) Some notes:
a) Be honest. You never want to hide something on a job interview. I’d even suggest that you watch your tenses — you don’t have to say “When I was there, I did X Y and Z” but you should make sure you talk about your work there in the past tense.