Hiring Summer Associates: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

By Cristina Yu, Esq. on April 24, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Summer is fast approaching, and that means summer associate interviews are well underway.

Are you planning to hire an intern? Here are three mistakes to avoid so that you and the associate can both have a productive experience:

Mistake No. 1: Not Being Ethical.

Don't hire a summer associate unless you know that you'll be extending an offer later if she meets expectations. This isn't necessarily a matter of professional ethics, but rather personal ethics. If you waste your intern's summer, you're dealing a blow to her career before she even begins it; that's not fair and it won't reflect well on your firm, as Business Insider notes. If the associate is to be unpaid (not all law is BigLaw, after all), be sure to follow the Department of Labor's guidelines for unpaid interns.

Mistake No. 2: Not Vetting Candidates on the Internet.

You can learn a lot about candidates through a simple check of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest and Instagram, The Washington Post suggests. Be sure to do an Internet search on the person's name to see what else is out there, and check to see if the candidate has any blogs. Just be aware that names that seem unique may not be. So don't penalize someone because she shares a name with an unsavory character.

Mistake No. 3: Wasting Time During the Interview Process.

Let's say you've thoroughly vetted your candidate. Nothing is standing in the way of your extending an offer after she graduates, as long as she demonstrates her ability as a summer associate. Once you meet her in person, you still might decide she's a bad fit.

If the first person who interviews a candidate is able to absolutely rule her out, why waste her time and everyone else's by having more people talk to her? Keep your options open by not giving the candidate a list of people who are going to interview her. Then, if she's a non-starter, you can thank her and send her home. You're not doing her any favors by prolonging a stressful process that is now pointless.

Do you have any tips on mistakes to avoid when hiring a summer associate? Please share them on our FindLaw for Legal Professionals Facebook page.

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