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Interview Questions You Should Ask in the Wake of COVID-19

COVID-19 has altered the typical way that we perform many aspects of our jobs—including how we actually secure a position. Video interviews are nothing new, but they have not been as common in the legal industry, so you may be feeling more nervous for the unexpected aspects of the interview. Luckily, when it comes to virtual interviewing, best practices remain the same: research the employer, make sure your materials are polished and ready, practice answering questions in advance, and—perhaps most importantly—prepare your own questions. Entering an interview with well-thought-out questions not only shows your research skills, but it also demonstrates your enthusiasm and interest in the job.

What has changed with today’s video interviewing is the reason for the change in the interview medium: the coronavirus pandemic. While you don’t want your entire interview to focus on how the firm is handling the virus, it is still an important topic to cover so you can understand how the firm responds to crises and supports its lawyers and staff. That said, it’s also important to think long-term and ask questions that will help you determine whether the firm is the best fit for your goals. Below are some questions to consider for your next legal job interview.

General Interview Questions to Prepare

Tip: Determine your career goals, whether that means tackling certain types of assignments, hopping on a certain career path, gaining broad exposure to practices, working in a diverse atmosphere, having support to do pro bono work, or something else. Create a list of questions that will help you uncover whether this firm will meet your goals.

  1. Why did you select this firm/organization, and why do you continue to stay here?
  2. What kind of tasks does someone of my level perform, and what kinds of opportunities exist for reach assignments?
  3. Can you explain the assignment process?
  4. What has your experience been with training and mentoring, and how has it helped you in your development as a lawyer?
  5. What qualities would make me a strong candidate at this firm/organization?
  6. How/why did you select this practice area? Can you discuss your day-to-day work in this practice and some of the clients with which you work?
  7. What sets your firm/organization apart from peers?
  8. What do you like best about this firm/organization?
  9. How will my work be evaluated? What is the standard practice for providing feedback?
  10. What kind of business development training is available? Do you feel there is a path for upward growth at this firm/organization?
  11. What is the most challenging aspect of your practice?
  12. Describe your firm’s culture? How do lawyers interact across offices and practices?
  13. What is the last pro bono matter on which you worked? Do you feel the firm is supportive of pro bono?
  14. What three words would you use to describe your firm? Your practice?


Interview Questions Related to COVID-19

Tip: Take time to think about how you hope your future employer would respond to a crisis situation, and draft some questions to probe this employer’s response to coronavirus. Make sure your questions are not critical or accusatory, but rather are inquisitive. Also, don’t focus your entire interview on this topic; while COVID-19 is a major part of our life today, you need to also think about your broader career in times outside of crisis mode.

  1. In what ways did your firm adapt to virtual working and social distancing in response to COVID-19? What was your experience with these shifts?
  2. Do you have a formal remote policy and if so, what is it?
  3. What kind of technology do you have to facilitate remote work?
  4. What has your experience been working with your firm’s IT?
  5. How has the firm continued to foster community and relationships throughout the coronavirus pandemic?
  6. How would the firm welcome and train new associates virtually if stay-at-home orders remain in effect and/or return?
  7. Would I be able to meet with more lawyers via video for informational interviews?
  8. How do you think virtual working has strengthened your practice? In what ways has it been challenging?