So, you’ve successfully navigated your interview, you’re hopefully feeling positive but as it draws to a close the interviewer turns and asks the inevitable “So, do you have any questions?” You would be forgiven if at this point your normal interview nerves start to creep back in, as your mind starts to race through all of the information it has been presented with during the interview, searching for those magic questions that will make it evident that you are one of the most worthy candidates for the position. Thinking through different options for suitable questions beforehand will help you to answer with confidence, and helps ensure you leave the interviewer with a lasting good impression. .
When preparing your questions remember that the interviewer will not be trying to catch you out, they are generally enquiring as to whether there is anything you are unsure of. Therefore, it is sensible to take time before the interview to consider whether you are completely clear on what the role you are applying for entails. Make notes of anything you feel you would like further information about. You will undoubtedly be provided with a lot of this knowledge during the interview. So be sure to listen carefully to what the interviewer has to say and mentally take note of any remaining gaps in information that could need clarifying at the end. Not only does asking questions related to the role allow the interviewer to see your level of enthusiasm and interest in the position, but it also enables you to seek illumination in areas which you may be unsure about.
Establishing the exact responsibilities of the role allows you to better understand which strengths and skills the employer is looking for, so you can further emphasise relevant points about yourself. Examples of questions that would be suitable to ask could include:
“What are the responsibilities expected of this role?”
“What does a typical day here look like?”
“Are there any extra duties which haven’t been mentioned?”
“Whom does this position report to?”
“What are the biggest challenges of this role?”
“How many people work in this particular office/team?”
If you are confident about the role on offer, either because you asked or because you were given the information in advance, the second option for suitable questions involves asking for more details about the company. We always advise researching the company before the interview, looking for valuable information that you could ask about later. Showing that you have taken the initiative to find out about them beforehand is a great way to establish rapport with employers, as it shows that you are genuinely interested and passionate about what they do. By bringing up facts that you have researched in advance, you show the employer that you have made the effort to prepare for the interview and that you are likely to be a motivated and attentive employee. Taking the time to do this research also allows you to gain more insight into the company’s ethos, culture and direction, helping you to evaluate whether you are the right fit for the role and what you can say to reinforce this. Questions could include:
“What are the company’s ambitions for the years ahead?”
“What is the culture of the company?”
“What are the company’s plans for growth and development?”
“How has the company changed over the past few years?”
“Who is your company’s competition, and how do you compare to them?”
“What do you like best about this company?”
Another line of inquiry is asking for details about the type of applicant that the employer is looking for in particular. By establishing the perfect applicant archetype, you find out which strengths you should further highlight and which weaker areas you may be able to develop. Use this opportunity as a learning experience for you to look back on in the future to further progress your professional skills. Suitable questions include:
“What kind of person would fit best in your company?”
“What are the most important skills for a candidate to have?”
“What qualities would a candidate possess to excel in this role?”
“How do I compare with other candidates who have applied for the role?”
The final questions you ask should aim to round off the interview and show to the interviewer that you are keen on taking the role. An excellent question to ask at this point is:
“What are the next steps in the interview process?”
By asking this question you show that you are eager to move forward in the hiring process. It also gives you insight into the expected time frame for hiring so you can follow up accordingly.
If you ask nothing else, your one crucial question should be:
“Do you need any more information from me?”
Remember that interviews are designed to be a two-way process. They are just as much a tool for you to become familiar with the company as the company to become familiar with you. Be sincere, transparent and open with the information you share. Explain yourself clearly and comprehensively to ensure you present yourself in the best way you can. It can be tempting to simply say that you do not have any questions when asked because you fear asking a ‘silly’ question. However we encourage you to always take the opportunity – we advise asking two questions at minimum to build a relationship with the interviewer. Refer to the lists above before your next interview to help you prepare to create a lasting impression when the critical moment comes.
The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs is a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or you would like to advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey. For more information visit www.institutelegalsecretaries.com.