It’s important to remember that an interview is a two-way street. The employer wants to learn about you, but you also need to learn about them. One of the best ways to do this is to ask questions at the end of your interview (but not questions that could easily be answered by looking on the firms website!). If you don’t think about them in advance, you run the risk of the interviewer assuming you are not interested in the role/ firm or haven’t prepared and are winging it.
Steer away from yes or no questions. You want to build a positive rapport with the interviewer and open-ended questions can help this.
We have put together 8 key questions (in no particular order) to consider asking when preparing for an interview.
- What makes someone successful in this role?
- This question allows you to understand what would be expected of you. It also portrays that long-term growth within the firm is important to you and you are wanting to achieve this.
- How do you evaluate employee performance?
- This question lets the employer know you eager to meet whatever goals they set. But if they expect unrealistic results, this can help determine your decision.
- How would you describe the work culture/environment?
- This allows you to understand if it is the style of firm you want to work for. Finding out about the culture, ethos and working environment will factor into your decision-making process.
- How is the legal department structured within the company?
- You will get an idea about the size of the department and who you will be working closely with and could give you an insight to the line of reporting.
- Where do you think the firm is headed in the next 5 years?
- By asking this questions it allows you to know the firms future plans to see if they fit in with yours. You want to know if and how the firm is growing, so you can grow with it too.
- What are the biggest opportunities and/or challenges facing the department right now?
- This question may help you learn where the department will be focusing its energy over the coming weeks and months. It also conveys your willingness to help the team and helps you understand key trends and issues in the industry from the interviewers perspective.
- What do you enjoy about working here?
- This question should give you some real insight about if this is the employer for you. If the answer is bland, vague or negative then maybe this firm isn’t the right place for you.
- What are the next steps?
- This question will wrap up your interview perfectly. It will show you are eager to move forward in the process and will give you the hiring timeline, so you can follow up appropriately through your recruiter.
Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits in your interview, let your recruiter get that information for you. Don’t ask questions that can be answered easily by looking on the website, you want your questions to reflect a genuine interest in the firm.
And remember - asking questions at the end of your interview is almost as important as answering them. If you ask the right questions it has two benefits: it shows you have a genuine interest in the company and It is also your chance to establish whether it’s the right role for you in the long term.