My most recent foray was a disheartening trip to a small law firm. I knew I was in trouble when the office manager called me up to setup the interview and started off with “before we go any further so I don’t waste your time, the salary offered will be in the high 30’s.” Ouch. Well, let me count out the change in my sofa cushions… yup. Still owe $160K in law school debt, which means I could possibly pay that off the week after never on that salary. Anyway, I can always keep looking for a better job while padding the resume with a poorly paying job, right? It always looks better to be able to say you were an Associate at XXX Law Firm, even if for a short while.
So off I go to the interview. The firm specialized in Real Estate, and had a bunch of other side businesses operating under the same umbrella (title, litigation, etc). The office was nice. Nice enough that I walked through wondering why I was being shafted with an offer of a “high 30’s salary”. I guess because they felt they can.
The interview went well enough. Standard questions. The interviewer made the wonderful move when I came in to say let me refresh my memory of your resume, and then proceeded to read through it and my cover letter for the obvious first time during a nice silent 5 minute stretch. I asked a few questions about the place trying to obliquely figure out if the place was going bankrupt or whether they were just cheap bastards. I thought maybe some of the difference could be made up in benefits… hehehe… there were none to speak of. The interviewer actually stated something to the effect of ‘well… if you don’t already have insurance… there is something offered through the firm.” (translation: the offered plan is so bad no one here uses it so I can’t tell you anything about it.) This sentiment was repeated for the other non-benefits.
The office was also damn near empty of people. Several open offices which I was told used to and ‘would soon have’ a paralegal, and a law clerk… but didn’t now. And they were looking at replacing one of the attorneys who left; it was beginning to look like the only people actually working there were the interviewer / name on the door, and the secretary. In the end the interviewer seemed to reach an unspoken conclusion and I got the impression they were looking for someone with more experience in real estate than I had… for a salary in the ‘high’ 30’s…. I’m soo sure they will find that someone.
I don’t feel too bad that this one slipped away.
minor update: As with every job interview, I send out a thank you card for the interviewers. My rejection letter to this wonderful position showed up the other day… and in a perverse twist, the interviewer effectively mirrored back my thank you note in some parts verbatim, in their rejection. I’m actually not sure if the interviewer was just lazy… or whether this was a parting FU. Weird.