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An interview is a process of “mutual discovery”. As such, asking questions is as important as answering questions during an interview. There are 3 reasons why you need to ask questions:
Reason 1: To Get To Know The Law Firm Better
The purpose of an interview is to allow an employer and an applicant to know each other better.
Although you should have found out about the targeted law firm before the interview (either through online search, friends or even eLawyer), the session is a good avenue for you to clarify your doubts and make inquiries about your preliminary findings.
For example, when you browse the website of law firms, it is quite common to see the law firms claiming that they provide comprehensive legal solutions (an “all-rounded” firm), that is, they provide services in all areas of law such as litigation, conveyancing and corporate law. Quite often, you find that some of these firms may only be known for their litigation work and their so-called conveyancing and corporate law departments are small. By asking the law firm the amount of head count in a particular department will give you a better idea what could be the bulk of portfolio, exposure or experience that you can possibly gain in the event that you will join them.
Reason 2: To Show Your Interest In The Law Firm
There are always 2 parts of an interview. The 1st part usually starts with the interviewer asking you questions in order to know you better and to assess whether you will be a suitable employee. Thereafter, the employer may tell you about the firm, its areas of practice and so on. The interviewer may conclude an interview by asking you a general question like “Is there anything else you like to know?”
This is not a good time to maintain “golden silence”. Instead, you should seize the opportunity to put forward some prepared questions and show your interest in the firm and or the job by inquiring about, your job responsibilities in greater detail, the expectations of the employer, or the firm’s future plan or direction.
Reason 3: To Demonstrate Your Maturity
Answering questions tactfully and presenting yourself well in an interview is crucial. However, asking the RIGHT questions could also give the interviewer a good impression of you. In most cases, interviewers are senior lawyers. Thus, most of them are always able to read your mind based on the questions that you have asked.
For example, if you ask about the remuneration package even before understanding the job scope, you may have given the interviewer an impression that you are more interested in the monetary reward than the job itself. Instead you should only discuss the remuneration issue when the interviewer raises it.
Lastly, though asking questions is important, be mindful that it is like a double-edged sword where asking the RIGHT questions will bring you credit. On other hand, asking the wrong questions may expose your ignorance or immaturity. Therefore, the most important rule is not to ask questions only but to ask the RIGHT QUESTIONS at the RIGHT TIME.
The author of this article is Eddie Law, Legal Recruitment Director in eLawyer.com.my, the leading legal recruitment portal in Malaysia. eLawyer Recruitment specialises in providing innovative and cost- effective recruitment solutions to law firms and corporations to meet the challenges of recruiting suitable legal candidates.
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