Don’t be fooled when your interviewer turns the tables, usually near the end of the interview, with an innocent “do you have any questions for me?” Your questions, or lack thereof, will be used to analyze at least three things: 1) Did you research the law firm? 2) Did you listen effectively in the interview? 3) Do you want this role?
Not only can this important opportunity to ask questions be used to assess your eligibility for the job, it’s also a great opportunity for you to determine if the role is right for you and if this law firm is where you want to work. In this market, legal technology professionals often have their pick of offers and deciding which one is best for you can be tricky. That’s why making the most of your interview is essential.
In addition, your questions are an opportunity for you make it clear why you are perfect for the role. According to John Kador, the author of 301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview, you want your questions to make a statement in the form of a question: “Highlight your qualifications. Demonstrate your confidence. Reinforce your commitment. Understand the employer’s challenges. Make yourself accountable. Advance your candidacy.”
As one of the best ways for you to learn about a law firm and a great opportunity for you to seal the deal, we’ve got three ways to make the most of interviewing your interviewer:
1. Show You’re A Culture Fit
Your website emphasized that ___________. What would you say is the most important aspect of your culture?
What are your law firm’s values and how do they play out in the workplace?
I’m really excited you emphasized how important a healthy culture is here. Can you tell me more about what you like about the culture, and how it impacts your day-to-day work?
While “company culture” can often be mistaken for the “perks” a company offers or the personalities and interests of members on the team, it is really about the values a law firm upholds. In asking one of these questions, you demonstrate not only a desire to align your values with that of the organization, you also show that this is a top priority for you to be at a law firm that has great values and has woven those into their culture.
Increasingly, employers are embracing the concept that having the correct people on their team, from a culture fit perspective especially, may be the most important thing for their success. The surest test for how committed a company is to upholding their values and building a strong culture, is how hiring managers and employees talk about it. Once you’ve heard what they share, be sure to relate to their response and express how you share those values as well.
2. Show You’re Ready to Make an Impact
What challenges is the law firm or department facing that someone in this new position could help overcome?
What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
What personal characteristics do you think would be ideal for someone in this position?
Most law firms are looking for legal IT professionals who are ready to take on challenges and get results. By identifying the law firm’s challenges—and how you can help alleviate them—you show your potential employer that you don’t just want a job, you want to make an impact on the tech department and the company.
These questions also have the added benefit of giving you a clear window into where the team stands today, why they are hiring, and what they look for in their legal technology employees. Asking what qualities a candidate needs to do this job well demonstrates your desire to understand how you as an individual can uniquely contribute to the organization beyond the job description. In addition, your interviewer may realize that the person they just described sounds a lot like you.
3. Show You’re Results-Oriented
If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priorities on my to-do list?
What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 60 or 90 days?
What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
One of the most essential things you can do in an interview is gain an understanding of what the job is actually like, day-to-day. At the same time, you want to show your interviewer that you understand that “a day in the life” is only a part of the equation. By asking about priorities, long-term accomplishments, and how performance is measured, you can get a real feel for the job, while also making it clear that you value planning, prioritization, and being measured on results. In addition, asking these kinds of questions will give you insight about your day-to-day tasks, while also making it clear that you understand not all tasks are created equal, which is key to success in any position.
“Any Questions for Me?” is usually your last opportunity to impress the interviewer and what you ask matters. The questions should be mutually beneficial: they allow you to make a statement about yourself that helps the interviewer learn more about you and they give you the opportunity to assess if you’re a good fit for the law firm’s IT team.
Go prepared to your next interview with several questions in mind, as the worst thing you can tell an interviewer is that you don’t have any questions. If much of what’s been detailed here as been covered in the interview and you’re willing to be bold, ask: do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? Asking this question means you’re willing to talk about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities and receive coaching, which is highly valued by employers. It also gives you the opportunity to address concerns upfront. Instead of leaving your interviewer ruminating on those hesitations, they’ll be focused on all the reasons you’d be an asset for the law firm’s tech department.
If you’re looking for your next legal tech opportunity and want personalized interview advice: