When evaluating you as a job candidate, every organization wants to know you actually want to work for them. Not that you want a job. Not that you want to work for someone. That you want to work for them. Why should an employer waste time with a prospect who doesn’t care about them? Whether you’re a law student or battle-tested lawyer, employers will not advance you in the hiring process unless they are convinced that you have genuine interest in their business.
I remember interviewing a prospect who didn’t ask a single question. She looked great on paper and we had a good conversation about her achievements and experience. But she didn’t ask me anything. The end of the interview went something like this:
Me (pointedly): “So, do have any questions for me?”
~ silence ~
Her (surprised): “No.”
~ silence ~
Me: “Okay then. Thanks for your time.”
~ end scene ~
Okay, here’s the thing. Obviously, this left a bad impression for me (since I’m talking about it years later). And when my evaluation form asked me to rank her level of interest, you can guess I didn’t give her high marks. In fact, I noted she hadn’t asked one question during the whole interview, and couldn’t even muster a question when I specifically invited her to ask one. Again, this prospect was great on paper and was generally fine in the interview. But she didn’t demonstrate any actual interest in us so she didn’t advance in the process.
Still, now and again, job candidates resist when I explain this to them. It’s not really important, they rationalize. And what questions would I ask anyhow?
So I was glad to stumble across CMS Cameron McKenna’s “Why asking questions at a law firm interview is so important” which explains that:
In this one little excerpt, CMS mentioned twice that job candidates need to use questions to demonstrate interest in their firm. CMS believes so strongly in asking questions that they even give you five questions to consider asking your interviewer; although those questions are geared toward law students, they’re easily adaptable for more senior lawyers. So no more excuses!
What questions do you recommend asking interviewers?