I know within three minutes of meeting an attorney if he or she will interview well. All of the key elements discussed in last month's column, "Winning at the Interview," show themselves quickly: self-confidence, likeability, presentation, etc. Winners are succinct, intelligent and engaging from the outset. But I also meet a lot of windbags, as well as surprisingly inarticulate lawyers.
Once making it through this cut, however, an employer faces the more difficult challenge of selecting the person who will actually become the most productive performer. Employers shouldn't be seduced into simply picking the most charismatic interviewee. When a client says, "I'm trusting my gut" and going with candidate xyz, I worry that we may have been charmed. Great interviewee does not always translate into great employee.