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job Interview zooming from bed in pajamas

One Way Not to Get the Job: Interview From Your Bed

If These Résumés Could Talk is a Wall Street Journal feature in which recruiters and headhunters share their wildest and most interesting stories. Previous installments of the series are here.

By Francesca Fontana
June 6, 2024 at 9:00 pm ET

This article includes 4 outrageous Interview fails – including one from our own, Chere Estrin re-printed here. Click the link to see all 4 in the full article.

Make yourself comfortable

I like to coach my candidates, because a lot of them haven’t interviewed in a long time and even if they have it’s not something they do a lot of, so it’s not like people are experts at interviewing.

This one candidate was up for a legal secretary position. I was doing a mock interview with her on Zoom, and she was in her bedroom. I always tell candidates to not interview in their bedroom: it’s too personal, people get uncomfortable.

But she said she didn’t have another place to interview. So, though I was reluctant to, I said, “Alright, just make sure it’s really tidy, that there’s nothing out of place, nothing personal showing. Make sure you look as professional as you can.”

The candidate does her interview, and afterward I get the call from the HR manager. She had tidied up the bedroom, like I told her to. But she interviewed in her pajamas—and sitting in the bed! 

I was horribly embarrassed. I didn’t even call the candidate back to ask her about it. I mean, what was I going to say? “What were you thinking?” Obviously she wasn’t!

—Chere Estrin, Estrin Legal Staffing

About the Author

Chere Estrin has over 20 years of experience in the staffing arena, including executive positions in law firms, litigation support companies, and the legal staffing divisions of a $5billion publicly held corporation. She is CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a nationwide staffing organization. Ms. Estrin was founder of the Paralegal Knowledge Institute, an online CLE organization. She publishes the prestigious digital magazine, KNOW, the Magazine for Paralegals, and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Sue, the Magazine for Women Litigators. She is also the author of 10 books about legal careers for attorneys and legal professionals.

Ms. Estrin’s contributions to the legal industry have been significant, and she continues to play an active role in shaping the future of legal staffing and training. She writes the popular,

award-winning blog, The Estrin Report, and has been interviewed by CBS News along with many top publications, such as The Wall Street JournalFortune Magazine,, Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, The Daily Journal, ABA Journal, Above the Law, ALM, Law360 and many others. She has also been a speaker for many prestigious organizations and written hundreds of articles.

As the Co-Founding Member and President of the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP), Ms. Estrin has guided the association’s development and implementation of the eDiscovery and Litigation Support certification exams (first in the country) along with Pearson Publications, a $7 billion corporation specializing in certification exams and educational publishing. She was also the Education Director designing, creating and executing online, live training programs with an on-call roster of over 500 instructors throughout the world. Currently, she provides webinars on legal career matters for LawPractice and Lawline, two of the largest attorney CLE online training organizations.
Ms. Estrin is a co-founding member of the International Practice Management Association (IPMA) and the Organization of Legal Professionals, composed of a prestigious Board of Governors inclusive of judges, an ABA President, and well-known attorneys. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City “Women of Achievement” award and recognized as One of the Top 50 Women in Los Angeles. Ms. Estrin has been writing The Estrin Report since 2005 and most recently launched her podcast, “Lawfully Employed”.

Reach out at: or visit her website at