When you walk into an interview for a legal support job, you may feel like you are on trial. But in reality, interviews are a two-way street. Sure, you have to demonstrate that you have the correct qualifications for the position and possess the professionalism and attitude to be an asset to the firm, but you must also consider your own best interests. You will spend a third of your waking hours on the job, so you owe to yourself to make sure the job is right for you. Ask these questions to learn more about what it will be like to work there before deciding if it is the right job for you.
Who will I report to? Will you report to an administrator higher up the chain or assist an attorney directly? Will you work for more than one attorney? Will you have a hard time getting a straight answer? Working for a firm with no clear chain of command may mean assorted projects are thrown on your desk with no clear priorities – a recipe for stress.
What is your management style? If you interview with the attorney you will be working for, this is a critical question. Is your potential boss a micromanager or a leader who will trust you to get things done once you’ve gotten through the training period? Do you work better independently or need a bit of hand-holding?
What area of law will I be working in? Some firms serve many specialties. The type of law can reveal a lot about the lifestyle you can expect on the job. If the legal team you work for focuses on real estate or bankruptcy law, you are probably assured of working 9-5 pretty regularly. If their specialty is criminal law, you may miss a lot of dinners.
How do you get new employees up to speed? The first few weeks on the job can really set the tone for your career at the firm. Is there a structured program? Will you be given documentation to read or offered a shadowing/mentorship program? Or will you be expected to sink or swim? Only you know how you work best. If they have a six month ramp-up program and you’d rather dig right in, you’ll get frustrated. If they throw you in the deep end, but you need time to get your bearings, you’ll be lost.
How is success measured in this position? Clear expectations are essential. There is nothing worse than believing that you are doing a good job only to find out that your boss disagrees. Ask the interviewer to share what has made previous people successful in this position.
At Kent Legal, our recruiters specialize in finding great jobs in Toronto for legal support professionals. Contact us to learn more about our legal support recruiting services, or browse our great legal support job openings in Toronto today!