Going on an open day to a law firm can be extremely daunting. It therefore helps to be prepared with several intelligent questions that will really make you stand out to graduate recruitment for all the right reasons!
This demonstrates your interest in the firm specifically and can be very useful to you in establishing the firm’s focus and values.
Knowing what the firm is about can be invaluable when deciding whether it’s the right fit for you.
2. Where do you see the firm in 5/10 years?
This is an insightful question that encourages the respondent to think very carefully about the answer. It also demonstrates that you are a forward-thinking individual who is interested in hearing about the firm’s plans for growth, which firms always appreciate.
The answer to the question will also be very useful in helping you establish if the direction of the firm is one you identify with.
3. What made you choose this firm?
This question really demonstrates an interest in the person you are talking to and helps you understand the culture and atmosphere of the firm.
The responses you get will provide a unique insight that will give you an edge on an application.
4. What do you think I should do to make my application stand out?
This is an extremely important question since it gives you the best insight into what the firm is looking for from candidates.
Although most firms seem to give an indistinguishable list of key skills, there are certain things that individual firms value and hate to see on application forms, making it useful for knowing what to avoid in your application.
What questions should you definitely NOT ask?
1. How much do you earn?
It is generally considered to be an unprofessional display of bad etiquette to ask how much one earns.
Besides, this demonstrates that your interest is not primarily with the firm’s work and clients; the firm will most certainly not be impressed.
2. What is your work/life balance?
Although it is not wrong to ask about the activities that the firm is involved in outside typical working hours (for example pro-bono work), explicitly asking about work/life balance gives the impression that you are not willing to work as hard as you can.
Therefore, it is better to focus on questions about life at the firm generally, from which you will most likely be able to grasp an idea of the firm’s work/life balance.
3. What is the worst thing about the firm?
It is best to keep your questions positive as far as possible.
If you genuinely do want to find out about the difficulties, it is best to phrase a question such as: Is there anything you have found particularly challenging as a trainee? A question such as this will be much more likely to yield an honest and useful response.
After creating a list of amazing questions bound to impress recruiters, there are a few other things to consider. It is important to direct your questions to the right person at the right time.
Often, there are plenty of allocated time periods throughout the day for question and answer sessions, and these are often with different groups of people in the firm i.e. trainees, partners, graduate recruitment. Take advantage of these opportunities!
To help ensure you direct your questions to the right person, make a note of which questions you would like to direct to trainees, partners and graduate recruitment in turn.
If you have the opportunity to have a networking lunch with trainees for example, it is better to ask them about their training contract rather than retention rates!
Directing your questions will enable you to get the best responses and demonstrates that you have put thought into them.
Therefore, view an open day as an opportunity to make the best impression, and gain an insider view into the culture of the firm.
Dress the part, be enthusiastic and show initiative by asking well thought out questions that make you stand out from the crowd.
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