Favourite question to ask

Is there anything on (or off) your résumé that we have not yet touched on that you wanted to make sure we discuss today?

 “It is hard to pick just one question as the best interviews are dynamic conversations that allow us to get to know each candidate individually and provide insight into their strengths and professional goals.  By actively listening, we often come up with questions that allow us to follow up on the interesting things that the student has accomplished and learn more about them. Along these lines, I find that asking the following towards the end of the interview is often helpful: Is there anything on (or off) your résumé that we have not yet touched on that you wanted to make sure we discuss today?

This question ensures that every candidate feels they got to put their best foot forward and show us what matters most to them in terms of their skills and experiences.

I want to personally take this moment to wish all the students participating in the interview process the best of luck, I look forward to meeting with you in the weeks ahead.”

– Nanci Ship, BCL’00, LLB’00, Chief Legal Talent & Culture Officer, Davies (Montreal)

Favourite question to ask

What are you looking for out of this process?

“I find this lets me determine whether candidates have turned their mind to the environment they are looking for in which to build their practice and grow their career.  This can provide insight into whether candidates are looking for a long-term career path with a given firm as opposed to simply a summer job.  It is not that I am looking for a specific answer, but more that candidates have a thoughtful answer showing that they are being deliberative about how they are approaching this important stage in their career.”

Favourite question to be asked

What do you wish you had known when you were going through this process that you didn’t know, but have subsequently learned?

“I like this question because it shows that the candidates are approaching the process with an open mind and seeking to learn everything they can to make an informed decision.  It also indicates that they care about my perspective and are open to learning from others’ experiences which is critical in the practice of law.”

– Jonathan Bell, BCL/LLB’07, Partner at Bennett Jones LLP (Toronto)

Favourite question to ask

Why did you apply to our firm?

“I listen to hear their reasons. Some students have researched the firm and have specific reasons for applying; others haven’t and therefore give a vague answer. As a small firm, we are looking for students who are interested in our firm, our work, and our people. The answer to this question immediately tells me how much they know about our firm, and therefore how interested they might actually be. A student who has taken the time to learn about our firm stands out.”

Favourite question to be asked

Tell me about your career path

“I came to my firm somewhat circuitously, so I like this question because it gives me the opportunity to show students that there’s no one ‘right path’ in law. Everyone at our firm got here in different ways; it gives me a chance to reassure students that their summer placement is not the ‘be-all, end-all’. I encourage students to experiment and to push themselves outside their comfort zone.”

– Marion Sandilands, BCL/LLB’14, Partner, Conway Litigation (Ottawa)

Favourite question to ask

What are the key characteristics that you are looking for in a workplace, that you feel will allow you to thrive and to do your best work?

“There is no “right answer” to this question, so it allows me to listen for clues as to the candidate’s values and overall approach to being part of an organization. It is a question that is open-ended enough that the candidate can take the opportunity to drive the conversation in a direction that will showcase their strengths and what is motivating to them in a professional environment, and that will allow me to get a better sense of their individual needs and contributions.”

– Lindsay Balson, BCL/LLB’13, Partner, Blakes (Toronto)

Favourite question asked

What would be on your gravestone?

“I panicked a bit when they first asked me this because I had never considered what would go on my gravestone! But they gave me time to think about my answer and it got me to really think about what I want to do with my life and ultimately what I want to leave behind. Thinking about this guided my decision-making in what job offer I wanted to accept.”

– Charlotte Taylor-Baer, BCL/JD candidate, Toronto and Vancouver recruitment participant