Interviewing Primer 101.10: Understanding the Interview Process—What Employers Want: The Rest of the Hierarchy-2

The remainder of the Hierarchy of Legal Employer Needs, while mentioned less and with less emphasis by employers, is still important. This rest of the Hierarchy does not lend itself to the same precision or clarity as either the “Big Six” or the “second tier” job candidate attributes addressed in this blog series. Nevertheless, the more of these qualities you are able to demonstrate in addition to the ones most in demand, the better off will be your competitive position.

These additional candidate traits that employers are concerned about are presented below in alphabetical order. My survey of employer needs, empirical feedback from legal employers and my follow-up discussions with them did not reveal a clear hierarchical order.

  • Accountability
  • Analytical Ability
  • Attention to Detail
  • Business Bottom-Line/Budget Consciousness
  • Client Development and Retention Skills
  • Flexibility
  • Follow-Through
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Initiative
  • Law School Attended
  • Leadership/Leadership Potential
  • Leading by Example
  • Meeting Deadlines
  • Mentoring Ability
    • Attorneys
    • Staff
  • Organizational Skills
  • Problem-Anticipation Ability
  • Problem-Solving Ability
  • Productivity
  • Stability
  • Well-Roundedness
  • Work Ethic

Final Thoughts about the Hierarchy

The legal job candidate who possesses all 33 traits that comprise the Hierarchy probably does not exist. Don’t be discouraged if you do not possess all of them. Employers understand that the dream candidate is not out there.

Moreover, keep in mind what I said at the beginning of this blog series: there is considerable overlap among these candidate attributes. There is no need to agonize too much over definitions.

Even if your cold-blooded self-assessment reveals that you possess only a few of these attributes, the fact that you understand the Hierarchy and respond to it in both your application documents and especially during your job interviews will make you competitive and attractive to employers.

Finally, if you feel compelled to look for a Hawking-esque “Theory of Everything,” the bottom line is probably closer to this than anything else: apply common sense and good judgment to your job campaign and the achievement of your career goals. If you do that, you should be OK.