Good questions for an interviewee to ask the interviewer????
September 11, 2008 8:03 PM   Subscribe

(Asking for a friend) What are some good Interview questions for the interviewee to ask the inviewer. The interviewee is a commercial real estate lawyer interviewing with a firm in a western state. i.e. What are some smart things to ask that will differentiate my friend from the other applicants?
posted by Fuzzy Dog to Work & Money (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Be as knowledgeable about the job as possible; not only will that make an interviewee stand out, but when I can't think of many questions the issue is often that I don't know enough about the issue being discussed.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:14 PM on September 11, 2008

Ask about where the company wants to be going. Where do they want to be in 5 years. Ask that and the interviewer will talk for 5 minutes and think you are a great conversationalist.
posted by cccorlew at 8:28 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your question made me think of one that your friend should ask: What differentiates your firm from your competitors?

As Solon and Thanks said, be knowledgeable. Ask questions that imply some understanding of the firm / real estate business. "So, how do you think issue X will impact the business in the long run?" kind of thing. This not only shows that your friend knows his/her stuff, but it will get the interviewer talking & your friend gets to see what kind of people he or she will be working for.
posted by altcountryman at 8:44 PM on September 11, 2008

It's cool to have a good interview type question up your sleeve, e.g. "what could I be doing for you in the future if I excel at my current position," but it's also a good idea for your friend to ask questions that they really wonder about. Does your friend want to make sure they get regular vacations? Yes, ask. Do they want to know how often goals are re-set or how often evaluations are given? It's important, you know. Why not ask for a sense of what the work environment is like? Questions about the grind can make just as much of an impression, and make you seem serious about getting to work.
posted by Gilbert at 8:55 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

One thing that always carried me through firm interviews was to ask the interviewer (almost always a lawyer) to talk about any interesting cases he or she has worked on recently, or victories the firm has had. Good, passionate lawyers will gladly talk about their work, and why they think it's interesting, and you'll get insight into the kind of work you can expect. If no good answer comes up, that's surely a red flag for the firm.
posted by naju at 9:35 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I asked a similar question that got some good answers.
posted by bda1972 at 9:53 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

How do they measure success amongst employees?

This will tell you a fair bit about the culture.
posted by spatula at 12:00 AM on September 12, 2008

Ask them what they like about working at the organisation. It can give you a good idea about the culture and morale at the company, and it can put you and the interviewers on a more equal footing.
posted by fonetik at 2:28 AM on September 12, 2008

I always ask 'Would you recommend this company to someone, and why?' It seems to be a little unexpected usually, and the interviewer's reaction (more than their words) will give you a good idea of whether you really want to work there. If they respond enthusiastically, it's a really good way of turning an interview into a conversation, which really gives the interviewer a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings for you. If not, you might not want to be there anyway.
posted by Jakey at 3:11 AM on September 12, 2008

I have always received a positive response after scouring the company's website and building questions off of that - the "about us" or "our history" links are particularly useful. Let's say your friend reads that this firm expanded into commercial real estate in 2002; he could say something like "I saw that your company branched into commercial real estate a few years back - what prompted this transition?"

If your friend asks a few questions in that vein, the interview goes from a simple question-and-answer to a dialogue between your friend and the interviewer. I believe creates a better impression.
posted by amicamentis at 5:49 AM on September 12, 2008

"What personality traits would the ideal candidate have?"

"What do you dislike most about your own job?"

Both of these can give you some real insights into the position -- and the boss.
posted by futility closet at 6:19 AM on September 12, 2008

"How many and what kind of clients does the firm have? Does it depend on a few major clients or do they have a large turn-around with smaller clients?"

"What are the firm's expectations for my 'rainmaking' skills? How involved can I be in developing new clients?"
posted by GPF at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2008

"What did you wish you knew before you started working here?"
posted by Ookseer at 2:41 PM on September 12, 2008

How is the relationship between your group and other groups?
posted by Four Flavors at 3:19 PM on September 16, 2008

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