Job interviews aren’t meant to be an interrogation — they are supposed to be a dialogue. Law students should understand that on-campus-interviews (OCIs), and interviews in general, are as much about making sure the firm/organization is a fit for you as it is that you are a fit for the firm/organization.
Preparing for the Interview
Before OCIs, at a minimum, you should research the firm/organization — and the interviewer(s), if you know that information ahead of time. For a thorough checklist on what to prepare, click here.
At a minimum, conduct a Google search. Take a look at their website. Look for the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. While you’re on LinkedIn, see if the firm/organization has a company profile. Also check out the LinkedIn profiles of other lawyers at the firm/organization. How long have they been in their current jobs? How long have they been with the firm/organization? What was their background before they joined the firm/organization?
Your research will not only help you understand the firm/organization better, it will help you ask more informed questions in the interview.
Asking Questions of the Interviewers
If you haven’t asked questions as the interview progresses, there will likely come a time in the interview when the person conducting the interview says to you, “So, do you have any questions for us?”
That’s where your research comes into play. Surely as you were learning more about the position and firm/organization, you were curious about a thing or two. Even if you weren’t, it leaves a negative impression on the interviewers when you don’t ask any questions. It can either signal that you’re not interested enough to muster up any questions — or that you didn’t know anything about the firm/organization coming into the interview and weren’t paying attention enough to latch onto any information shared in the interview. Both scenarios don’t bode well for your employment prospects.
Sample Questions to Ask
With that in mind, here are more than 15 questions you can ask in a job interview. Choose 4 or 5 of them (at a minimum) and write them down on an index card or sheet of paper.
- What are some of the skills and abilities you see as necessary for a student to succeed in this role?
- What challenges might I encounter if I take on this position?
- What attracted you to working for this firm/organization?
- What have you liked most about working here?
- From all I can see, I’d really like to work here, and I believe I can add considerable value to the company. What’s the next step in the selection process?
- What is currently the most pressing business issue or problem for the firm or department?
- Would you describe for me the actions of a student who previously achieved success in this position?
- What are the most important traits you look for in a student?
- How would you describe the experience of working here?
- What have I yet to learn about this firm/organization that I still need to know?
- What kinds of learning opportunities are available for students?
- What is it about the firm/organization that keeps you here?
- Did my résumé raise any questions I can clarify?
- What type of training is required and how long is it?
- How regularly would performance evaluations occur?
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Every year, Lawyer Coach Paulette works with law students on preparing them for OCI and firm interviews. For more information, please visit www.21stcenturylawyer.ca