The questions you ask during the interview make all the difference in getting the next job opportunity.
Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants advises attorneys on how to take their career to the next level. Here are her insights on the legal search:
I don’t believe in just getting a job, to get a job.
You spent years in law school and paid a considerable amount of money to get that degree. Then you have to study for the bar exam, which takes considerable time and energy, not to mention the cost.
Why would you take just about any job as a lawyer?
Attorneys work anywhere from 40-80 hours a week. On average you spend about 46.9 hours each week, working (Google Reports). There are 168 hours in a week. And you are spending nearly half of that time, practicing law. Do what you love.
You need a crystal-clear vision of your career path. Ask yourself . . .
- -Why did you become an attorney?
- -What practice area are you passionate about?
The job interview is a nerve-wracking experience. It’s a complicated, confusing process that is designed to weed out those who are simply not a good fit.
In the early stages of the interview process, never ask about compensation. That’s negotiated once an offer is made. Make no mistake, get a question wrong and you’re eliminated from consideration.
Sure, it’s about the money. But be honest with yourself, do you fit in with the firm’s culture? Will you thrive in this environment? Or would you be better off at another firm for less money?
Anticipate what will be asked during the interview. Law firms want the best and are very careful about who they bring on. Preparation is key, you’ve got to listen, respond, and ask questions to determine if the opportunity matches your career goals.
- 1. What differentiates your law firm from all the other law firms?
This question is important to learn about how the firm sees themselves in the marketplace. Is the firm staying up to speed with technology, marketing, diversity etc.?
- 2. When interviewing for a particular practice area of law, you’ll need to understand what types of cases the firm takes on.
Question the types of cases they handle, and cases they pass on. How narrow is the practice area, will there be enough diversity for you to grow. And conversely, will the firm take on most anything that comes through the door. How does this sit with you? This will help you assess if the firm is a good fit.
- 3. Ask what is was about your resume that stood out and got you the interview.
Take note of the interviewer’s insights to better direct your answers and questions with specific experiences and skills that are critical for the position.
- 4. How long has the interviewer been with the law firm?
What is their career trajectory and why did they choose to work here? This will give you insights if the firm’s leadership’s goals and ethics are aligned with your values and principles about law.
- 5. What does the interviewer enjoy most about working here?
Listen carefully, do you think they really like working here. Has there been high turnover? How much new business has been brought on? If the answers are vague and seem politically safe, you’ll need to research what being said outside the firm.
- 6. What is the process of on-boarding new hires?
The answers to this questions will guide you in understanding how much support you can expect and where you may need to fend for yourself. If you’re not satisfied with the response, have your recruiter do more digging on your behalf.
- 7. How does the firm measure success?
Listen carefully. If they don’t discuss how compensation, bonuses and promotions are awarded, don’t push this. Alternatively, they may talk about important intangibles such as: leadership, community service, ongoing marketing efforts etc. Understand what is said and what wasn’t discussed. This will help you decide if the firm is a good for for you.
- 8. What are the biggest challenges in (—— fill in the blank) the practice faces?
Subtly ask how the interviewer sees your skills to meet and overcome those challenges? This can be very telling. Is the practice leader looking for a worker bee, or someone they can groom to take over the practice one day?
- 9. What is the firm’s diversity hiring strategies? Do they have a diversity committee?
This is perhaps the most important question you can ask. Leadership’s answers will inform you as to what the firm values and areas that they may be lacking in. Find a firm that is focused on being relevant and responding to today’s workplace needs.
- 10. In closing, ask if there Is there anything they need clarification to help make a positive decision in hiring you?
Many of my candidates fear this question. No one want to hear criticism. Listen carefully to what is said. Thoughtfully respond to anything that may be mis-understood and cite details and information so the interviewer can make a good hiring decision. This also, help you understand what not to do on the next interview.
Shari Davidson — “When working with me, I will ask you questions to align your search with your career goals. Everyone’s goals are different — no one strategy works for everyone. We will create a STRATEGIC PLAN that is just for you.”
Let’s get your career back on track, email me at [email protected] and we’ll get started.”
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About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.
Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at https://www.onbalancesearch.com
Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.