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Some of the most predictable legal job-interview questions are deceptively simple:
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"What are your biggest weaknesses?"
"So, do you have any questions for us?"
Choose your responses with care. While open-ended questions like these may seem like softballs, you could end up with your foot in your mouth -- and perhaps ruining your shot at landing the job.
Because your career is on the line, here are 10 things you should never say in a legal job interview:
1. Did you go to a top-tier law school like I did? There's no good reason to discuss law-school rankings in a job interview (or ever, actually). Coming across as an elitist snob may affect your ranking among potential job seekers.
2. I can't wait for the free food! Yes you can -- and you should definitely wait until after you get a job offer to ask about perks.
3. What's the least amount of hours I can bill, and still become partner? Part of this query shows your ambition; the other part suggests laziness. Keep any plans to "work smarter, not harder" to yourself.
4. Which partner should I not want to work for? Doesn't matter -- you've just talked yourself out of a job. Especially if one or more partners are on the interview panel.
5. What's the credit limit on the company AmEx? A potential company charge card may have you thinking "Cha-ching!" -- but if you bring it up, say "Buh-bye" to your job prospects.
6. Does your firm have any rules against dating clients? Just try to ask this one. We dare you.
7. Where is the office "nap room"? Sorry, is this interview making you tired? Any talk about taking a snooze at work will ruin your shot at landing your dream job.
8. How much of a bonus should I expect my first year? Hmm, good question... Maybe we should ask the 10 other job candidates sitting outside what they think?...
9. I don't know. Wrong answer! C'mon, you went to law school didn't you?
10. Is there a drug test? Umm, there is now!
What else should you not say in a legal job interview? Share your ideas at our FindLaw for Legal Professionals Facebook page.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.