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Preparing to Interview Candidates: A Checklist

By Betty Wang, JD on November 05, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you and your firm prepared to interview the next candidate for that open associate, paralegal, or intern position?

Sure, the pressure is on for the candidate to be on his or her best behavior and to impress you, but it's a two-way street -- you and your firm have to impress them in return, as well. Otherwise, what's going to compel the very best candidate to pick you? Why would they want to accept an offer?

Here's a checklist on some things that can be help you when it comes to interviewing your firm's next candidate:

  • Was there an email confirmation? You may have set up the interview on the phone, but did you follow up with an email confirmation? This way, the candidate has all the relevant information about the firm and interview ahead of time and you can have a paper trail set up in case of confusion or a need to reschedule.
  • Do you know the area? As part of your introduction to the firm, make sure you're also familiar with the area. This means knowing about the parking situation, nearby food spots for lunch, and what other convenient businesses are around. Remember, everything is taken into consideration when one looks for a job.
  • Is there someone to meet the candidate? Make sure your staff is properly on notice about your interview schedule. Is there someone to greet the candidate? To show them to the waiting area or the conference room where the interview will be conducted? Not having all these set in place will make your firm look incredibly unorganized and inefficient -- who wants to work at a place like that?
  • Is your office a mess? Sure, there are various schools of thought when it comes to the cluttered vs. clean desk debate, but, for the sake of making a first impression, you'll want to ensure that the firm doesn't look too much like a mess. A little personality is fine, but anything that could infer sloppiness should be avoided.
  • Is everyone ... happy? Do the other associates and your staff look like they actually want to be there? If they don't, what will compel the candidate to want to work there?

Once you get these opening items checked off, of course the substance of the interview is up to you. Good luck, to your candidates and you.

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