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When an interviewer asks me what questions I have for him, what should I ask? What shouldn’t I ask?
There are some standard questions which can be viewed as being asked too much. However, they should still be asked at some point, because you do need to obtain this information. You want to show that you are ambitious about taking on responsibility, and want to know what you need to do to move up.
What will my day look like?
What kinds of matters will I be working on?
How is feedback given and how will I know I'm doing a good job?
What is the partner -associate ratio on staffing matters?
Will I get client contact, and when?
How is work assigned? Would I be working directly for certain partners?
At what level would I be managing associates more junior?
Why are you hiring for this position? (Did someone leave, or is the practice growing)?
How does your office interact with other offices in the firm? Would I only work with partners in my office, or firm wide?
Will I be staffed on a wide variety of matters or do you prefer associates to specialize in an area?
If you sense that your interviewer wants to talk about himself or the firm, here are some questions you can ask about his own experiences to get him talking.
What has been your interviewer's most exciting experience at the firm?
Why did he choose this firm?
This practice group?
What is his favorite part about working at the firm?
How would he describe the firm's culture?
Conversely, there are certain questions that should never be asked during an interview. Avoid any discussion of salary, and do not ask how many hours you will be working.These topics can be reserved for discussion when an offer has been made and prior to acceptance.
More questions not to ask:
"Do your associates ever take vacations?"
"What time do your associates generally go home at night?"
"Can I get client credit as an associate?"
"How much pro bono work can I do? Will I get hours credit for it?"
"How many hours do I need to work so that I can get a bonus?"
In short, if you show an interest in working hard at the firm, and avoid questions indicating that you are more interested in vacations, minimizing your hours and earning bonuses, you should be fine.
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