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8 steps to successfully recruiting legal talent

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Hiring new legal staff is no easy task. You need to consider qualifications, hands-on experience, area of specialism, salary, bonus; the list of things to think about is endless. Add to that the fact that many areas of law are facing talent shortages and hiring becomes a real challenge. Solicitors are in short supply in a number of specialisms - the Law Society has published findings reaching critical shortage levels.

In the face of chronic shortages, you need to ensure that hiring is efficient and effective. If you can’t find the right person or if your hiring process just isn’t working then your firm will lose out in the long term. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to smooth any bumps in your hiring process.

Tips for hiring the right legal candidate

Follow these steps to help you get it right first time, every time:

  1. Act fast: When a candidate with an interest responds you must act swiftly. The longer you wait to get back to someone that shows an interest in working for your firm, the greater the risk of them being snapped up by the competition.
  2. Project your brand: Treat your potential employees like you would your clients – show them what’s so great about working with you and demonstrate that your firm is an attractive place to work. For a greater insight into employer branding our blog has everything you need to know.
  3. Avoid mistakes when hiring: It is absolutely crucial to get the hiring process right, not just from a business perspective, but from a legal perspective. While this is true of any organisation, it is especially true for law firms. We’re not teaching you to suck eggs here, but the importance of this cannot be overstated. Ensure that the person handling your recruitment is experienced and has a sharp eye for detail so that you won’t be exposed to accusations of discrimination or lack of due diligence. Not only do you not want to avoid hot water, the embarrassment factor of getting it wrong would be significant. Which takes us to our next point…
  4. Dodge recruiting blunders: Ensure that your recruitment agency is experienced and unlikely to make errors. Having an external recruitment provider cause an issue would be just as embarrassing and uncomfortable as if the mistake was made in-house.
  5. Be clear on how you will go about recruiting: Will the process be in-house or outsourced? Will there be a single point of contact within the firm, or will recruitment be handled by a group of people? Having a clear process in place ensures all parties know where they stand and will enable the firm to respond quickly to candidates, giving you the best chance of hiring the right person.
  6. Be transparent: If you’re going to attract the very best legal talent – and retain that talent – you need to be upfront and clear about everything: expectations, culture, the type of work available, salaries and bonuses. Any unexpected surprises could just put potential candidates off your firm, or see them jump ship shortly after joining you.
  7. Have a plan for the interview stage: A clear process for assessing candidates is crucial to screening the most suitable legal professionals.
  8. Ensure the recruiter understands the job spec: Nobody knows your staff or the vacant position you need to fill like you do. That’s why it’s so important to give a clear, detailed and accurate job description to whoever is doing your recruitment – especially if you’re handing the task over to an external recruiter. Ensure that they understand the job spec entirely, as being able to accurately represent your firm to prospective employees stands you in good stead for finding the solicitor with the skills and experience needed. Plus they’ll be able to filter out what you want to avoid. It may be a good idea to enlist the help of a reliable legal recruitment specialist who has experience of recruiting for the legal profession and is familiar with the intricacies of the sector.

Hiring the right person is tough for any organisation, especially so in the competitive climate of the legal profession. We hope these eight steps will make recruitment efficient and straightforward, so you can successfully appoint the right person to the post. Not only will a clear recruitment strategy and a trusted recruitment partner make the hiring process better, it’ll give your firm the boost it needs to thrive in the long term.

You might also like to read our blog on Talent pipelining for success, and if you’re looking to recruit now, get in touch with us by calling 01772 259121 or Register a Vacancy directly online.

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