Questions to Ask as a Prospective New Hire (It Works for Solos)

interview9Oftentimes, rezooming attorneys may want to start out as an associate with a solo or small firm practice because they feel their skills are rusty.  This means you will have to sit down and be asked questions. (These questions are great for the solo practitioner interviewing perspective hires, too!).

This inevitably leads to that pesky interview question you wish they wouldn’t ask but often do. In the olden days, before the Internet, you could get away with saying nothing because there was little about the company or practice of the lawyer outside its four walls on which you could comment. Now, between Facebook, corporate websites, blogs and LinkedIn, to name only a few, you can find out almost anything about a prospective company. You can read about the culture within a firm or the presence and accolades, triumphs and failures of any given attorney, how the company or the attorney view(s) success and employee stresses that may face you when hired.

Do not despair!

This month’s column is dedicated to giving you four basic questions to ask that need little research and may uncover information that will or will not resonate with you. As rezooming attorneys, we are always worried about being asked a question about our break in service. Now, lets look at how to find the answers we need to make the right choices on our rezooming journey.

1. What quality do you feel is important for me to succeed in this firm or working along side you?

This question will provide you with your interviewer’s view of this firm’s value system. If he responds, “taking independent responsibility for your assignments” you can expect to have autonomy in the product you provide and accountability for that product will be important to the firm.   If you want hand holding this may not be the firm for you. This question signals to them that you are not only thinking about the valuable experience you bring to the firm, but how you can apply that experience in a way that fits smoothly into the current system.

2. Ask the interviewer to describe a recent day in the life of an attorney in the firm (or whatever position you will be filling in the practice), then ask them about a day that was unusually hectic or stressful?

The information provided will give you insight into what happens in the firm on a day-to-day basis as well as how they handle job stress at the push to the finish line or when a crisis hits. It is not as abstract as imagining how you will fit in the future of the firm. It gives you a peek into how deadlines and conflicts are handled. A good follow up question is to ask what might have been handled differently or done before to have made this particular stressful day better/different. It shows you not only think about the hard times but also evaluate the response to assist in making transitions smoother in the future.

3. If I am hired, envision what I will have accomplished in the first quarter of my employment.

Indicate to them you are interested in delivering once on the job by exploring what you might be asked to accomplish from the beginning. It provides you with insight into things they may be expecting of you, which they may have missed explaining during the interview.

4. Please tell me some of your favorite office events and traditions that are unique to this firm/company/solo practice.

This question can relax an otherwise serious conversation. It lets you find out about special things the firm does for its employees, celebrations they have and things they want employees to avoid. You find out what they are all about that has nothing to do with the job. It is a firm/office culture question.   It will key you in to whether they have roaring summer parties in the Hamptons or if they have rules about in office dating. It will give the interviewer an opening to let you know the fun part of working for the firm. If they cannot answer this question think if an interesting or wacky office culture is an important piece of your rezooming experience.

There you have it. Four go to questions that will help you stay on top of the interview process. They help you find out how the firm works from a broader perspective. They help the interviewer see, if you are hired, how you intend to participate in the work and fun of the firm.

Now go out there and Rezoom!

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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