Next Level Questions to Ask to Impress Your Interviewer
Do you have any questions for me?
Most candidates know that they should be prepared for an interview to make a great impression. Something that many candidates overlook, however, is the opportunity to create a great impression by knowing the right questions to ask during their interview.
The questions that a candidate asks during their interview are just as important as the answers that they give because the right questions reveal whether the role, firm, or department fits with you.
Candidates should think beyond ordinary questions that do not actually reveal much (“What’s the firm culture like?”).
In my experience, the best questions involve asking people to tell a story about something that happened at the firm or company that would not happen elsewhere. Here is a short list of some great questions that helped land some of my candidates their dream jobs:
“What problem are you trying to solve?”
This question puts the game in your court, and the interviewer (particularly a more senior attorney or partner) will have to share a thoughtful response. As you listen to their response, see if you can picture the potential impact you can deliver. Take the pulse of the team. Did the interviewer provide insight on how you could contribute? How does this relate to your experience to what your target employer could benefit from?
“What are the three skills that I will use most in this role?”
Your interviewer would have spent a lot of time assessing your qualifications and skills by the time it is your turn to ask questions. This is a smart question because it requires the interviewer to share the needs they feel are most important. Perhaps they will reveal qualities that you discussed during your interview—excellent, now you have an opportunity to remind them that you’re the right fit. In the event that they are sharing skills more sophisticated than what you have to discuss, you have a chance to share that you can deliver on that need.
This question provides you with an opportunity to align your skill set with the position.
‘Whose leadership style in this organization inspires you and why?’”
This is a great question to ask an interviewer who is at a similar point of their career as you are. Get a sense of what they like about the leaders of their firm. Do they have different examples of great leaders? Is it something ordinary, or the norm?
As an added bonus, now you have a valuable nugget about the team that you can use during the interview process. You know whether the partner that you will be speaking to next is admired by his or her team. You have an insider tip that can come in handy when building rapport with your potential colleagues. Or…you might see flashing warning lights and know that you should approach with caution.
“Tell me about someone who came to the firm and succeeded quickly.”
If you’re speaking with a more senior attorney or someone in a supervisory role (or supportive/outsider role), this question conveys two things: first, that you want to excel; second, that you want to excel immediately (or as soon as possible).
This accomplishes some of the goals discussed in the earlier question: excellent insider tips, a point of connection with a potential upcoming interview, or warning lights. Similar to the question above, it never hurts to have something flattering to say to your interviewer that came from his or her colleagues.