Key Questions to Ask When Interviewing Legal Professionals

Posted May 27th, 2024 by Urban Legal Recruitment

Sharing Our Best Practices for Interviews with Legal Professionals

A business with the right people on the team makes all the difference. We’ve seen it time and time again with our recruitment clients. But how do you make sure you’re bringing the right support staff on board for your business or legal firm? 

It’s important to make sure your recruitment processes look at more than just hard skills and areas of practice. A great fit should also check several other boxes, including a candidate’s soft skills, cultural fit, experience, work style, and ethics. 

Let’s look at some of the top strategies businesses and law firms in Canada can use when hiring legal professionals and support staff.

Know the Purpose of Your Interview

The art of a great interview requires preparation, but preparation begins with setting out great intentions. As recruitment experts, we like to start by asking you questions about the position. 

What do you envision for the person in this role? What’s most important to you? How will this position support the goals of the company now? Five years from now? 

How you answer these questions will depend on how your business is run, the role you’re hiring for, and your overall company culture. 

It’s also important that everyone in the decision-making process is on the same page when it comes to understanding why you are hiring and who you are seeking; this allows you to make confident decisions as a team. 

Lay Out Your Process

A great deal of time can be wasted when a specific recruitment process isn’t laid out ahead of time. Consider what information you’ll need to make a strong decision. Will you want multiple interviews with different team members? How many references will you contact? Do you need candidates to complete skill assessments?

You’ll also want to consider how to manage timelines in the hiring process; great candidates can get snapped up quickly, so you’ll want to minimize the time between interviewing and offering a position when possible. 

Prepare Ahead of Time 

A bit of preparation before an interview can ensure you aren’t wasting your time on candidates who won’t be a good fit. It’s important to review the candidate’s resume, looking for potential areas where you may have specific questions. You can also head to a candidate’s online profiles and perform a basic internet search to see what arises outside their official resume. 

Understand Different Interview Techniques 

Although we can provide several general tips and strategies for interviews, there are many different interview techniques that HR professionals use when interviewing candidates. Each technique will ask different types of questions for a unique purpose. 

Some of these include: 

  • Behavioural techniques - designed to understand how a candidate behaves in general.
  • Situational techniques - designed to understand how a candidate might behave in a specific circumstance.
  • Competency-based techniques - designed to assess a candidate’s actual demonstrated competency in certain skills or areas of knowledge. 

Using a blend of questions will help assess the candidate’s ability to handle legal scenarios and demonstrate relevant skills in different ways. 

Determine Your Questions 

The right questions can help you make more confident decisions during and after an interview. You’ll want to ensure your questions assess candidates on several levels and get to know them. 

Make sure you have a list of prepared questions you’d like to ask each candidate. To make this easier, you can categorize your questions into several areas, such as: 

  • Legal knowledge & experience
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Teamwork
  • Ethics
  • Communication & advocacy skills

In some cases, you may also have additional questions based on someone’s specific experience or background. Have these prepared in advance as well by scanning candidates’ resumes before the interview. 

How You Can Streamline the Legal Hiring Process

Wading through a list of candidates to find those who are qualified can be a time-consuming process. Many companies prefer to join the hiring process at a point where only qualified candidates have been brought forward. 

Legal recruitment professionals in Canada can help streamline the hiring process for legal positions, including legal support positions. Teams like ours work side-by-side with law firms and companies that have legal departments. If you have questions about the process for recruiting lawyers or legal support staff, such as managers or assistants, we’re always happy to answer questions about legal recruitment!

Learn More About Legal Recruitment Best Practices

A highly effective legal team with excellent support staff can make all the difference for a legal firm or business—we’ve seen the proof of this! If you’d like continuous tips and strategies for hiring legal professionals, follow Urban Legal Recruitment on LinkedIn or visit our website. We publish articles regularly to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the world of legal recruitment.