5 Interview Questions to Ask Legal Staffing Candidates

Posted by Angela Warner on May 2, 2013 9:00:00 AM

It’s well into the afternoon of a busy day; you receive a virtual tap on the shoulder from Outlook to alert you of a meeting in fifteen minutes.  A few short minutes later, your Legal Assistant enters your office to let you know that your 3pm interview has arrived and is waiting in the lobby.  And there you are, dropping your casework to jump into an interview.  We all know that asking the right questions during an interview is important.  Finding out more about the legal candidate is equally important, but you have to ask the right questions to get the right answers.  And yet it happens all too much, we find ourselves meeting with a potenial legal staffing candidate totally unprepared. 

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An interview is obviously an investment of your time, but it’s much more than the hour you are spending with the candidate.  Sixty minutes is sixty minutes, so it’s important to make the best of it, and with that, comes preparation.  It’s also an investment in finding and hiring the right person.  Making a bad legal staffing decision can be a costly one, and at the end of the day, when all the facts have been presented; when the gavel comes down and it’s time to make that final hiring decision, how will you judge that you’ve come to the right verdict?  By asking the right questions, chances are you will have a strong case behind your decision, and that’s where we’d like to present a handful of questions for you to consider to help you get started. 

Exhibit A - Why did the candidate decide to seek a position with your firm?  This should tell you a lot about what kind of research they’ve done and why they’re interested in working for your firm, specifically.  And after all, isn’t research a huge driving factor in the Legal field?

Exhibit BRegardless of the position, Legal Secretary, Paralegal, etc., what prompted them pursue a career in the Legal field? This will give you an indicator of the drive behind their decision.  What motivated them to pursue this career choice, and whether or not it’s a field they’re passionate about (or did they just pursue the route their parents suggested).

Exhibit C - What unique contribution do they feel that they can make to your firm? Put them on the stand. Have them present their case to you, to see what they reference as important contributions, how confident they are in themselves, their ability to be a key contributor to your team, and how well they are able to present the information.

Exhibit D – Define the top key characteristics of your firm’s success/culture and have the candidate elaborate on how their own skills align with those core values.  This will help you have a better understanding of the candidate and how he/she relates their own beliefs to those of your firm.  This should help you determine whether or not they will be a good fit with the culture of your firm.

Exhibit E – Ask them what their plan will be to continue to grow with your firm.  How ambitious is the person in front of you, how proactive will they be to learn new information and adapt to the changes that constantly occur in the fast-paced and ever changing Legal landscape?  Ask them, and see what plan they have in place.

These ideas should help you be more prepared the next time you are faced with hiring the right legal candidate and making a good investment of your time.  Case closed.


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Tags: interview tips, hiring tips, hiring best practices, management, supervisor tips

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