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Career 411: Rules to Follow to ask Great Questions During the Interview

When I was in law school and interviewing to secure a legal internship or job after graduation, I always dreaded one part of the interview, “So, do you have any questions for me?” This seems like such a simple question, yet I was so afraid that I would appear incompetent that I felt stumped. You do not need to fill this way, and here some helpful rules and hints to follow to make you stand out during this part of the interview.

 

  1. LISTEN:

As you will soon realize (if you haven’t already), in order to be an effective lawyer, you must be an active listener. You cannot tie yourself to the safety blanket of a script, either during a witness examination, or during an interview. While it is always a wonderful idea to jot down a few questions to ask at the end of your interview, don’t ask questions that have already been answered during the conversation.

 

  1. FOLLOW-UP:

The end of the interview is a great way to follow-up on the items that were discussed during the interview. If there is something that you discussed that you want to know more about, this is the time to ask. This not only shows that you have true interest, but that you are actively engaged in the conversation. .

 

  1. DON’T ASK THE OBVIOUS QUESTION:

If you can easily find out the answer by looking at their website, then you shouldn’t ask the question. If you ask the obvious question, it shows to the employer that you haven’t put in the preparation necessary to ace the interview and that you don’t really want to work there. For example, don’t ask a firm what areas of law they practice if that is readily available or what geographic locations they practice in.

 

  1. RESEARCH THE FIRM:

Being that this is 2015, most firms, other than solo practitioners, have very detailed websites, which usually indicate important information such as practice areas, geographic areas, as well as the attorneys that staff each division. You do not want to ask what type of transactional experience you may get as a summer association to a solely litigation firm, because again it will show that you did not properly research the firm. However, a wonderful question would be, “After researching your firm, I realized that a lot of your practice deals with the health care industry, can you give me an example of a project I would be able to be involved with as a summer associate in this practice group?”

 

  1. ASK QUESTIONS YOU GENUINELY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO:

Finally, don’t ask questions because you think they will make you look “smart” to the interviewer. Ask questions that you honestly want to know the answer to. If you don’t, it will come across as disingenuous. If you want to know why the interviewer chose to work at that firm, ask them? If you want to know what types of projects are given to summer associates, ask them? If you want to know what things you can do to stand out as an outstanding clerk, ask them? By asking questions you care about, you will show the potential employer that you want that job.

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