How to respond when an interviewer asks: Do you have any questions?
As legal recruiters, we know all too well that an interview is a two-way street. Your interviewer will ask you questions to learn about you and your skills. In return, you should prepare questions to ask them about the position, your direct report(s), and the workplace in order to be sure that this is the right move for your legal career.
In addition, if you don’t prepare questions in advance, you run the risk of the interviewer assuming you aren’t interested or are unprepared.
Your opportunity to ask questions usually comes at the end of the interview. Prepare at least two questions that demonstrate your interest in the position, your drive to excel in the role, and the fact that you’ve done some homework (e.g. researched the law firm, specialties, industry, etc.).
As you conduct your pre-interview research, make note of topics that you’d like to find out more about from the employer.
Keep in the mind that the best questions are focused and open-ended. Avoid yes or no questions and avoid questions that are so broad that they are difficult to answer. You don’t want to stump the interviewer when you’re trying to make a good impression and develop rapport.
Here are a few top picks from a legal recruitment consultant (aka yours truly):
- Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?
This is your chance to learn as much as possible about the role, so you can decide whether this is the right move for your legal career. By learning more about the day-to-day tasks, you will also gain more insight into what specific skills and strengths are needed and you can address any topics that haven’t already been covered during the interview.
- What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
This question can often lead to valuable information that’s not in the job description. It can help you learn about the firm’s culture and expectations, so you can show how you’d make a good fit.
- Describe the culture of the firm.
Are you a good fit for this particular law firm? Make sure you are comfortable with the workplace culture and dynamics.
- Who do you consider to be your top competitor, and why?
You should already have an idea of the firm’s major competitors, but it can be useful to ask your interviewer for their thoughts. Naturally, they will be able to provide you with insights you can’t find anywhere else.
- What are the biggest opportunities facing this law firm right now?
This question shows your drive to seize opportunity and may help you learn more about where the firm will be focusing over the next several months.
- What do you like best about working here?
Ask about your interviewer’s personal experience for additional insight into the culture.
- What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
This question can help you learn whether the firm promotes from within, and how career advancement works within the organization. By asking the question, you show your interest in growing with the organization — just be careful not to phrase it in a way that sounds too self-serving (i.e. When can I expect a raise and a promotion?).
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
This question shows that you are eager to move forward in the process. It will also help you gain important information about the timeline for hiring so that you can follow up appropriately.