Whether you are gearing up for your training contract interviews, applying for NQ Solicitor roles or looking at your first Paralegal position, you must not only be prepared to answer questions about yourself but also to ask your own questions.
Many applicants dread being asked if they have any questions, but your answer should never be “no.” Interviews are conversations and should be treated as such – they are as much an opportunity for you to get to know the firm as they are for the firm to get to know you.
Questions to ask
To show your enthusiasm, interest and intelligence, you should arm yourself with a few insightful questions to ask your interviewers. We have gathered some of the best questions to ask in law job interviews to help you get started:
“What are you looking for in a new hire?”
Show your conscientiousness by asking about the skills, qualities and experience your interviewer is looking for. If they mention any that have yet to be brought up, make sure to demonstrate how you tick every box.
“What type of assignments will I be working on?”
If you are interviewed by a legal practitioner, they should be happy to detail the kind of cases you can expect to work on. You could follow up with a question about how work is distributed among staff.
“What are the firm’s growth plans in the next 5 years?”
It looks good to be inquisitive about the long-term prospects of your potential employer, but only ask questions about the firm’s plans if they are not available online or elsewhere – you don’t want to look like you haven’t done your research.
“What is the next step in the hiring process?”
The hiring process in law firms is often a multi-stage affair. Show your eagerness and interest by enquiring about what to expect next.
“What kind of feedback and evaluation will I be given?”
As a graduate, the feedback you receive for your work is important for your professional development. Show the interviewer your awareness and willingness to receive criticism by asking about assessment and feedback.
Crucial to your interview success is preparation. You need to research the firm’s history, work and culture in order to ask focused, open-ended questions that reflect genuine interest in the job.
Questions to avoid
Aside from having no questions prepared, the biggest mistake that interviewees usually make is enquiring about aspects of the job that benefit them, rather than asking about what they can bring to the role. Our advice is to avoid questions such as:
“How much will I be paid?” or “What benefits will I get?”
Any questions about the salary and benefits package of a job should be avoided until after you have an offer – unless the interviewer brings it up first. Questions such as these suggest you are thinking about what you can gain from the firm, rather than what you can contribute.
“How many hours will I work per week?”
Another one to ask once an offer has been made. If you make this seem like your primary concern about the job, the interviewer may not take your application seriously.
“How long can I expect to wait until my first promotion?”
This question suggests you are only interested in the position while you wait to move on or move up. If you really want to ask about prospects, ask about training opportunities and professional development, rather than pay rises.