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Going In-House

Asking The Right Questions

You do not want to be blindsided by what your assignments, hours, or compensation in-house actually end up being. This is why it is important to ask thoughtful questions. Although the more direct questions about lifestyle and compensation should be asked after you get an offer, you can ask more general questions about work environment, assignments, and benefits. Many candidates are so excited about an opportunity to work in-house that they will take it no matter what. Consequently, they pay little attention to any negative information they may have gleaned during their interviews. Ignore this kind of information at your peril! If they tell you, for example, “We will do our best to let you go home after 5 p.m., but there may be times when you have to stay later,” investigate further. If you do not, you may be unpleasantly surprised with your hours after you start working there. Your interviewers will often hint at what will be expected of you, so pay attention to subtle cues.

Lacey sought to leave her in-house position for one where she thought she would have better career advancement. During an interview, one of her interviewers said he was surprised at Lacey's interest in this job. Lacey could have brushed him off, but she carefully inquired further. She discovered that her new position would have a much more demanding schedule, the pay would be lower, and she would have fewer benefits. Learning this information helped Lacey decide this company was not a good fit for her after all.

Likewise, if personal reasons may preclude you from traveling or working late, be upfront with your employer (while emphasizing that you really want the job, of course). Your interviewers should know by the second or third round of interviews if something will be a dealbreaker for you. If you continue to interview after you are told about demanding hours or travel requirements, it is implied that you are agreeing to them.

For in-house interviews, your level of preparation and your personality are the two most important elements. Try to connect with your interviewers by talking about subjects such as hobbies or their achievements. Remember that it is always easier to click with your interviewers if you know something about them and show a genuine interest in working with them. If you exhibit excellent personal skills, if you are courteous and polite, and if you do not initiate discussions about hours and compensation before getting an offer, you are one step closer to getting that offer.


  • • Personality and preparedness are the keys to a successful in-house interview.
  • • Exhibit humility and show genuine interest in working with the company.
  • • Conduct thorough research about the company, your job requirements, and your interviewers.
  • • Never initiate a discussion about hours and compensation until the interviewer does.
  • • Be mindful of the interviewer's busy schedule, and be patient if a significant amount of time elapses between interviews.
  • • Record your impressions shortly after the interview, and always send thank-you letters.
  • • Do not ignore any negative information that could affect your decision to accept an offer.

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Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsGoing In-House - Unique Aspects Of In-house Positions, The Interview Process, The Importance Of Homework, Personality Fit