The Interview Process – Don’t Let These Extra Steps Surprise You!

Some job seekers may remember a time when the interview process was pretty simple – send in a resume, interview for the position, receive an offer…

For better or worse, those days are over.  The search process often includes a plethora of steps, stages, and hoops through which you must jump, and it is best to know what may be coming before entering this process.

If working with a good recruiter, you should know every step of the process before authorizing submission to a particular opportunity.  If you are pursuing a position directly, you will need to ask questions about the process in your first interview.

Some parts of the process that may surprise candidates include:

Drug Testing

If a candidate has recently sampled a “recreational” drug, he or she may be unpleasantly surprised when a job offer is made contingent on a drug test.  Many legal professionals do not realize that some corporations require drug tests for ALL employees (not just those operating dangerous equipment, etc.) – so it is a good idea to to obtain this information if you are beginning or in the midst of a job search.

Background Check

Most lawyers are not particularly nervous about a background check, but bear in mind that a long ago conviction could come back to haunt you depending on the position.  For example, if you were convicted of a financial misdemeanor during college, (even if the state Bar found you fit for membership), a potential employer in the banking/financial services industry may not be able to get past this type of issue.

Personality/Behavioral Tests

There is not much that one can do to “prepare” for these aspects of the interview process. That said, you should know that such tools exist and sometimes are strongly relied upon by employers in deciding whether or not to move forward with a candidate.  So, even if your interviews were spectacular, do not count on an offer until you have moved past this sometimes important step.

While you can only prepare in advance for some of the above steps (i.e., drug testing), it is important to understand each of the requirements and know your vulnerabilities before investing time in a lengthy interview process.


McCormack Schreiber Legal Search is Chicago’s premier attorney search firm. Since 1998, we have been placing experienced attorneys of all levels in a full range of exciting law firm and in-house positions. We are committed to providing the highest level of service and results, and we welcome you to contact us in confidence at