As expert Legal recruiters we invest time with our candidates to ensure they are best positioned heading into an interview with a potential employer. A large part of this is around coaching and giving candidates the confidence to ask insightful questions during the interview process. In an interview situation, asking questions is a good way to demonstrate your interest in a role. Likewise, if you have any concerns / reservations, asking the right questions can help you gain a useful insight into what a law firm or organisation is about.
So what are some of the most common questions we see candidates ask in an interview?
• What is the firm / organisational culture like?
• What is the team structure?
• What are the training and professional development opportunities in the firm?
• Which partners/managers would I be receiving work from in this role?
• What would be the mix of work I could expect in this role?
While these capture more of the ‘expected’ questions we encourage some alternative questions might be worth considering asking that will allow you to dig deeper and gain a better insight into the organisation and it’s innerworkings.
What is the firm (or team's) plan for the future in terms of growth or how you see the team/firm developing?
This gives you an insight into the strategic side of the business allowing you to access how this aligns with your own goals.
What does the firm take into account when promoting its lawyers e.g. from Solicitor to Senior Solicitor
Asking questions around advancement shows your drive to progress and also an indication if promotion is more experience or merit based (or a mix of both).
What would a high performing lawyer at my level look like for you in the team?
This indicates you're wanting to achieve a high standard and will tell you what they consider as ‘good performance’.
How are workflows managed internally within the team?
This type of question will tell you how workflows and capacities are co-ordinated e.g. if there is a weekly catch up to discuss matters / files each member is working on.
How are billable targets set in the firm? What are the daily billing targets (or yearly)?
The answer to this question might tell you how strict a practice is on billing targets and allow you to have a discussion around what they consider achievable.
What internal training and development does the firm / organisation do to help upskill staff or would training be based solely on external CPD?
This shows a commitment to continued learning and improvement and give you a sense for how structured or unstructured an employer might be with training and development.
What social activities / events does the firm / organisation / team get involved in?
This will give you more of a true representation of a firm’s culture and how the team operates.
If you have a concern over staff turnover in the firm / organisation you could mention that you understand there have been a couple of changes in the team, and ask if this is a replacement role or growth-related role and ask what has staff tenure looked like prior?
This will tell you if people have just happened to move on at similar times but for various reasons that signal it's still a good team (e.g. people have left for overseas travel) or if there’s something culturally to be more concerned about.
Asking the right questions in an interview process is a powerful tool as a candidate to dispel any reservations you might have about a role and gain insights into the firm or organisation.
From an employer’s perspective it’s crucial to be prepared to be asked these types of questions and have a clear value and brand proposition to articulate. How you articulate these messages and responses can make a huge difference when it comes to engaging a candidate.
Our expert Legal recruiters can help both candidates and employers prepare for getting the most out of an interview, give one of the CoLegal team a call to discuss.