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Five Common In-House Interview Questions

You have prepared yourself to move in-house and have your first interview. In addition to thoroughly researching the company and position, you should know what kinds of questions to expect – in-house interviews are substantially different from law firm interviews. Companies want to find the right fit and use various interview techniques to make sure you are the one for the job. Here are some types of questions to expect:

1. Why do you want to go in-house?  Demonstrate that you understand the role of an in-house attorney and the position at that particular company. (Hint: The answer is never “I want to work 9 to 5” or “I am tired of billable hours.” Explaining why you want to support the business and get to know one client is a much better starting point.)

 2. What is your salary floor?  Companies usually ask this question early on in the interview process and often insist on a hard number. They want to be certain that the salary won’t be a deal-breaker later in the process. Know the market salary range for that type of company and give an honest answer - if you give a number that is above market or unrealistic for that company you may hurt your chances of getting an interview.

3. Behavioral Questions.  Companies have decided what skills they want and ask questions to find out if you have those skills. They want to know how you have handled situations in the past. For example “Give an example of when you used logic to solve a problem”, “Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.”, “Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled implementing it.”

4. Hypos.  Many companies present hypothetical fact patters and ask you to solve the problem.  Remember that unless they tell you otherwise, you can often ask for more facts that will help you solve the problem.

5. Homework Assignments. Companies often send you a real life assignment to see how you handle the work. Be prepared to redline a contract, draft advice to the business people, or present on a relevant legal issue.

Good luck!

Liz Stone