Blog entry by Natalie Kijurna (Administration)
I’ve worked in career services for 12 years. Half of that time I worked for law schools, and the other half I’ve worked for a court reporting school. While the general questions asked of me about interviewing are typically the same, the substance of the questions and the answers can differ wildly depending on the profession.
In the court reporting world, I’ve been asked several times by students about to embark on their career what types of questions they should ask court reporting agencies/firms in an interview and/or what they should look for when researching court reporting agencies. After all, just as no two court reporters are the same, neither are any two agencies. It’s extremely important, in my opinion, that the brand new, fresh-out-of-school- court reporter figure out what’s going to be the best fit for them because, honestly, this first foray into the career could make or break their love of court reporting. I’ve heard horror stories of brand new court reporters having a horrible first experience and never wanting to write on a machine again. Similarly, I’ve heard stories of court reporters that had the absolute best experience possible with their first employers and their love affair of the profession lasted decades.
In order for graduates to better navigate the employment waters, I’ve gathered, over the years, some questions and tips from social media, articles, and other professionals. Hopefully, this list will help new reporters, and possibly seasoned reporters who might be looking for a change, find the perfect fit! I encourage anyone who reads this to add questions or tips of their own by using the comments section.
· Is there a non-compete contract? This is a contract that says you cannot work for other firms that are in competition with the contracting firm.
· A nonthreatening way to ask about how much you could earn with that particular firm: How many pages can I expect to generate per month while working for this firm?
· What are their page rates? Original, copy, appearance?
· How often do reporters get paid and do they get paid when the agency does or when transcripts are billed out?
· What is the commission split between reporter and agency?
· Does the firm want to do their own production? In other words, does the firm want you to sign a certification sheet, but plans on doing the transcript themselves? Is there specific formatting for transcripts?
· If there’s in-house proofreading, will you get to see your errors?
· Does the firm engage in contract work? i.e. where the firm negotiates with the law firms for the work at a lower rate to get the job.
o Find out how firms handle contract work if they do engage in it. Some will dig in their heels and tell the national firms that "This is our page rate" and there's no lowering it. If for some reason the firm takes a lower rate, make sure the reporters get paid regular page rate.
· What is their book of business like? Do they have a good mix of work from both plaintiffs and defendants, or do they have all their eggs in one basket, so to speak?
· How far will you be required to travel for jobs?
· How do you get jobs? How does the firm rotate jobs? Will you get enough work?
· What is the normal turnaround time for a transcript?
· Do new reporters have a mentor or shadow a senior reporter?
· How many reporters work for the firm/agency?
Please check out this list on List.ly and add your comments and suggestions!
Director of Alumni & Employer Relations
College of Court Reporting
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