Congratulations! You have a job interview. Maybe it’s for a clerkship, a graduate position or even a casual job to help pay your way through law school. Whatever it’s for, a job interview is a two way street. Although you’ve probably been practicing your answers to some common job interview questions, you’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions too.
This is important, not only to show your interest in the position, but also for you to find out a bit more about your prospective employer before your first day on the job.
Here are some questions you should ask in a job interview (and a few ones that you shouldn’t).
Questions to Ask
1. Questions which clarify the employer’s expectations of you, such as “What are the responsibilities of the position?” and “What are your expectations of me in the first six months?” will help you determine whether the role and the employer will be a good fit for you.
2. Especially if you’re new to either the industry or the type of position you’re going for, ask about the sort of training, mentoring and feedback you’ll receive. This will also demonstrate to your prospective employer your commitment to learning the job.
3. Ask about the opportunities for career progression and/or ongoing employment if you’re successful in the role. Not all firms that run clerkship programs have upcoming graduate vacancies and you want to know this, especially if you’re choosing between two firms.
4. Questions that also demonstrate your interest in the company or your department are good to ask. Questions about the size and responsibilities of your department are a start, but I’m sure you can think of better ones!
5. At the end of the interview, it’s a good idea to ask about the selection process and when you can expect to hear from the employer if this hasn’t been made clear to you. It’s also okay to discuss when an expected start date would be.
Questions to Avoid
1. It goes without saying, but do your research. In the interview you should be able to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the company or firm. It’s okay to clarify a few of the finer details, but don’t ask what they do!
2. There’s a right and a wrong way to discuss matters such as expected work hours and overtime. Rather than asking, “How many hours do I have to work each day?” it is acceptable to ask what a typical workday is like. You will usually gain an insight into the expected hours of the position as well as getting more of an idea about your daily tasks.
3. Don’t talk money too early. Usually, the position will have an advertised salary range or the employer will mention the salary in the interview. Don’t just walk in and ask about the pay!
4. It’s a bit tacky to start asking questions in the interview about when you can take your first holidays. If you have a trip planned, it is advisable to let them know about this tactfully, perhaps when availability and start dates are being discussed.
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