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Learning from Failure

With the hope that it will benefit you, I’m sharing a story below of a time when I epically failed a job interview. It was actually more of a meeting to see if I was even worthy of a full job interview…but the failure taught me a big lesson for all future networking meetings and job interviews.

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I started my career in the marketing department of a record company.

A few months in, I thought I wanted to switch to working in the A&R department, which is the team that signs new artists to the company and oversees their recording process for each new album.

When I heard of an opening at my employer, I set up a meeting with the head of A&R and one of his top team members.

I did zero preparation for that meeting.

Instead, I thought, “I know music – I’ve been listening to it my whole life”. I also thought, “I’m smart – I’m a lawyer – of course they could benefit from hiring a smart person for a role like this. Plus my personality will carry the day.”

Wow, was I wrong!

Because I had never even stopped to think through what I’d be asked, I was caught off guard by the very first questions. They asked, “What are 5-10 new bands that you’re listening to these days?” And then, “Who do you think are the top music producers today and why?”

Anyone who knows anything about A&R knows that these questions make perfect sense for an A&R interview. But because I had never even stopped to think through any of this stuff before waltzing into their office, my brain wasn’t able to overcome the adrenaline-induced brain freeze that can occur during an interview.

Needless to say, I epically failed that interview.

I couldn’t think of anything! In the heat of the moment, I couldn’t even remember the great, new music I had listened to on my drive into work.

Today, I consider myself lucky – that failure taught me early on the importance of thorough preparation for job interviews and networking meetings. I’ve never let anything like that happen again!

In fact, in my JD Refugee® class and private coaching sessions, I work extensively with people on their communications so that they walk in prepared to their meetings and never experience the awfulness of my A&R interview.

I can’t tell you how many people have benefited from my epic fail at that A&R meeting! After all, I’ve been helping people prepare for meetings and job interviews since 2003, when I first became a legal recruiter.

Especially when you are changing careers and trying to break into alternative careers for lawyers, you need to be on your game. You need to be able to clearly articulate what you have to offer the new role and why it interests you. After all, your history shows you as doing something completely different. So it’s only natural that someone will have a lot of questions as to why this. Why now.

All of that is basically an extra hurdle for you on top what people already in that career path need to convey in their meetings. It’s all doable, so don’t let that extra hurdle intimidate you. But it means that you need to prepare before your meetings ….and not be an idiot like I was with the A&R people.

I hope my embarrassing story helps you!

Related Posts:

How to Fail a Job Interview
Interviewing Tips
Finding Your Career

 

GET MY FREE SELF-ASSESSMENT!

Thinking of leaving the law? The best first step you can take is a good look in the mirror. START HERE:

it's free!
You’ll also get periodic updates, reminders & access to career guidance programs sent to your inbox. We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe via a click at any time.