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Ducks, Semi Trucks, Upscale Doctors’ Offices, and Your Destiny
published January 10, 2013
No matter what, be sure to ask questions. After the interviewer explains the position, benefits, and history of the firm, he or she may ask if you have any questions. If the candidate says "no," the interviewer may think the candidate does not go beyond what is presented or shows little interest. Of course, if you have had an extensive dialogue and the question is really asking, "Do you have any further questions?," you may be better off not extending the interview.
However, if you have talked a little about yourself, then listened as the interviewer explained the position, it's probably better to ask at least one or two questions. Make certain the question is related to
While these are questions that eventually need answers, now is not the time. You must first sell the employer on your skills and abilities to do the job. You'll find out quickly enough what goodies the firm will bestow upon you. This information will be important to you in order to negotiate the total compensation package.
Stay focused on what has been said, no matter how nervous you might be. Come prepared, armed with background information on the firm as well as questions to ask the interviewer. Don't take out a list though! Many attorneys and law office staff find a list suspect. Interviewers prefer to participate in friendly conversation rather than an inquisition. Here are a number of appropriate questions. Two to four questions should be more than enough. The time to ask about benefits such as vacation, parking, or tuition reimbursement is during a second interview or toward the end of the first interview and before salary negotiations. Asking too soon about benefits risks a hidden message, "OK, enough about you, what about me?," which doesn't exactly help to get the job.
Just because the firm may ask you questions relating to your technology skills does not mean that you are prohibited from finding out just how technologically savvy they may be! If you are a new paralegal or a veteran exploring a job change, here are sixteen questions you can ask to help you evaluate your potential new employer's orientation to technology utilization in the practice of law:
It's hard to believe, but illegal questions do get asked, even in law firms! You're probably aware potential employers cannot ask certain questions. But prejudices sneak in, whether knowingly or "accidentally." You can choose not to respond, tell the interviewer the question is illegal, or lecture to the interviewer about Title VII. While this might make you feel better, the end result is likely to be an apology, not a job offer. However, under no circumstances are you required to ever answer a question about:
Even if employment with this firm means you'll never cross paths with this interviewer, be very clear this person does represent the firm. Taking a job with a company that discriminates is not necessary. Under no circumstances are you required to answer an illegal question. If, after the initial shock has worn off, you do decide to answer, it doesn't have to be directly. One of the best answers was given by a litigation paralegal with more than 20 years' experience. The question asked was, "How would you feel about working for a firm where all the senior partners are younger than you?" The paralegal's reply was immediate. "If what you are asking is, 'Do I have the energy for the job, the answer is yes.' " The key phrase is, "If what you are asking . . ." Get to the heart of the question. What is really being asked?
Another great response to an illegal question is taught by Susan Miller, a Los Angeles-based career counselor. Illegal questions may arise regarding children, child care, spousal approval, and family relationships. A typical question may be, "Tell me about your home life." This question is usually geared toward a woman of child-bearing years. The correct response, according to Miller, is, "Everything in my home life is supportive of my career." If you were sent to the interview through a staffing organization, be sure to report the illegal questioning to the agency. They need to know.
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