In our Careers Clinic, we hand over to you, our community, to send in a question on career progression.
This month, Associate Director and family law recruitment specialist Paula Pawlowska explains why it’s so important to ask questions in an interview setting and the sorts of questions you should ask when you meet with a potential new employer.
I’ve got an interview coming up for a role I’m really excited about. I’m quite nervous about the prospect and really want to make sure I’m making the most of the opportunity. What sorts of questions should I ask the interviewer when I’m asked if I have any questions?
“An interview is a two-way conversation, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to recognise that. It doesn’t even matter if you’re one PQE solicitor or if you’re a paralegal, in an interview, you need to gather the information you need to decide whether or not the firm you’re meeting with is the right one for you, in exactly the same way that the law firm needs to make sure that you’re the right hire.
Your recruiter will tell you about the firm’s culture, the interview process and what the team and the firm are like more generally. But if you are going in for an interview, you should focus on specifics. What are the targets within the team and what expectations there’ll be around those targets? What’s progression like within the firm? Is there a clear progression structure? How often are promotions? What does it take to be promoted?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a paralegal looking to progress to a trainee or a senior associate wanting to make the step up to partner, if career progression is important to you, this is your chance to ask these questions so you have clarity before you decide whether or not the firm you’re meeting with is the right one for you.
You might also be wondering about salary. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend bringing money up within an interview (your recruiter can handle salary-related conversations on your behalf), you should ask the interviewer about appraisals. Appraisals usually include salary reviews, and it might be useful to know when appraisals happen because they will be important for your development and progression.
The last thing I would ask the interviewer is what their favourite thing is about working there. Because if someone asked me this, I would quite comfortably say that the flexibility at Realm is amazing, but someone else can share something different. Make sure you ask the people who are interviewing you what it is that they like the most about the place, as they might tell you something about the firm you don’t know yet.”
Do you have a career question or dilemma you’d like help solving? If so, you can get in touch with us by completing the form at the bottom of this page.
About the Career Accelerator
The Careers Clinic features in our Career Accelerator mailout every few weeks. It is designed to help you develop your skills, get advice from leading lawyers in your practice area and better understand the current legal opportunities on offer. You can sign up to receive the Career Accelerator straight to your inbox, by completing the form below.