Every hiring manager knows the importance of creating functional job descriptions that list the key tasks the person hired is supposed to perform. However, fewer managers are aware of the importance of interviewing to find a good “cultural fit” as well.
Every law firm and corporate legal department has its own internal culture: the set of conventions and expectations that govern work hours, work styles, communications, and other behaviors. Finding a person who works well within this framework helps boost the new hire’s productivity and encourage longevity by ensuring he or she can work well within the existing culture.
To identify candidates who are a good cultural fit as well as a good functional fit, ask questions like these:
- “Describe the work environment or culture in which you were most productive and happy.” The candidate’s answer will tell you a great deal about the culture he or she is looking for. But a candidate description that lines up with your organization’s culture is only the first step. Candidates who can also explain why they function well in that environment demonstrate critical thinking and self-awareness that sets them apart from the rest.
- “What are the most effective roles that a good manager plays with his or her team members?” Although not all legal support staff will be interviewed for management roles, their answers to this question will shed light on the kind of cultural support they need to do their best work. They will also provide insight into how the candidate might perform if he or she is promoted to a managerial position in the future.
- “If you could change one thing about your current work culture or environment, what would it be?” This question helps hiring managers determine what culture elements the candidate perceives as problematic, as well as revealing whether and to what extent the candidate has thought about practical, positive changes that could be made to improve his or her own productivity within a problematic context.
- “When you work on a team, what role are you most likely to play?” The ability to work on a team is one of the most highly-prized “soft skills” hiring managers look for in legal support staff. Discovering how the candidate typically fits himself or herself into a team setting will help hiring managers determine how the candidate might “fit” into the organization as a whole.
At Kent Legal, our experienced recruiters help match legal support staff to top employers throughout the greater Toronto area. For more information on how we can help your organization, contact us today.