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Shape Up! Practice Management Tips for 2010

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Hiring Interview Questions
When interviewing an attorney candidate, especially one who is inexperienced, law firms might want to describe scenarios that are intended to reveal how a candidate would deal with a difficult or awkward situation. The last two items below are examples of scenarios that were used in the author’s firm.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to accomplish a task under a tight deadline while working with someone who was difficult to get along with.
  • What are the three most important things that you contribute to an organization? What are the three most important things that you could contribute to our firm?
  • What are some of the most imaginative and creative things that you have done in a job?
  • How do you deal with stress or conflict? What clues have you come to recognize as signals that you may be under too much stress?
  • How would a good friend describe you?
  • What kind of people do you find most difficult to work with?
  • What do you think are the most important characteristics and abilities for any person’s success? How do you rate yourself in these areas?
  • When have you failed?
  • Describe the circumstances and how you dealt with, and learned from, the experience.
  • Describe the work environment that you consider optimal for your personal satisfaction and best performance.
  • Scenario: You are an attorney working at our firm on a day when you are the only person in the office. An elderly woman comes into the office asking to see a lawyer right away. She does not have an appointment but says that she needs to sign some papers. She has no papers with her. What do you do?
  • Scenario: You are meeting with a 65-year-old gentleman to take will instructions. He tells you that he has three adult children who are financially well off. He advises that he is divorced, pays spousal support to his ex-wife, and is currently living common law with another woman. Although he has no problems sharing most of his personal information, he refuses to answer any questions about his assets and tells you to write down $1 as his net worth. How do you proceed?

Exit Interview Questions

  • What originally interested you about the position you are leaving?
  • What were your expectations when you were hired?
  • What expectations were met? What ones were not met?
  • Do we as a firm “practice what we preach”? With clients? Team members? Suppliers?
  • What can we do to improve in any of the above areas?
  • What were the key frustrations in your position? Suggested solutions?
  • What are the ideal qualities and skills a person should have for the position?
  • Was working here a positive learning experience? If not, please comment.
  • If you were hiring for your position, what questions would you ask candidates?
  • If you had to make one recommendation, what would it be?
  • If a friend was applying for a job at our office, what would you tell them?
  • Are there any other concerns or comments that you would like to make?