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Time to move on? Top 10 Tips to resign gracefully

  • July 13, 2022

With the prospect of a new role on the horizon, arguably the hard bit is done. You have aced your interviews, impressed your new Firm, and are no doubt looking to the future and the next steps in your career.

But even with the excitement of a new legal position looming, there is still an incredibly important step to take in making that move – handing in your resignation to your current Firm.

Here we offer our top tips on how to address this often-uncomfortable conversation – and ultimately remain professional, and on good terms as you exit the business.

1. Communicate to your Manager first

With an exciting new role to look forward to, it can be tempting to tell close associates and friends, however the first person who should hear about it is your reporting manager. If a senior partner, or even your Manager themselves hears about your intention to leave from another colleague, it goes without saying that it won’t leave a favourable impression which is ultimately what a well-thought our resignation is trying to achieve.

Arrange a time to speak to your Manager and let them know the situation first. Face to face is ideal as it minimises any misunderstandings or miscommunication, although video call would also work well for those who work remotely or in order to expediate the process.  It is best practice to verbally tell your Manager of your intention to leave along with the reasons that have led to that decision as it is highly likely that you will be asked both why you are leaving and where you are going to – so it’s wise to have a response planned.

 

2. Be prepared for conversations around negotiation

Whatever the reason or reasons for leaving your current firm, it is always worth having a preliminary conversation before you start looking for new opportunities, to see if those initial reasons may be overcome. If, however that conversation didn’t take place, you should nevertheless consider what you would do should a counter-offer be on the table once your make your intention to resign clear.

In the current market, where demand for legal professionals is outstripping supply, this is exceptionally common, so you need to at least be prepared for such a scenario and ask yourself, would you actually accept a counter-offer?. The answer to that lies in ultimately revisiting the reasons you wish to leave in the first place.

Counter-offers take many forms including increased pay, a promotion, enhanced benefits, or a combination of all of those, and there is no doubt that it can feel flattering to be in that position. However, research suggests that 80% of people who accept a counter-offer tend to leave within 6-12 months of accepting. Is it likely you’ll also be part of that statistic?

 

3. Prepare your resignation letter

Once the decision to leave is final, you must put this in writing. When it comes to your resignation letter, it should be short and polite. Within the letter itself, it is not necessary to justify your reasons for leaving your current law firm or go into lengthy explanations as you can are likely to have (or have had) a more informal chat about this with your reporting Manager. The document is simply to cover the legalities of ending your contractual agreement with your employer and will be kept on record, so details like the date of the notice, confirmation of notice period, and last working day should be accurate.

You may wish to use the formal communication as an opportunity to highlight things you are grateful for – skills you have learnt, help and advice you have received, and opportunities to boost your legal career that have been offered, but that is not mandatory. Do, however avoid the temptation to criticise your colleagues, boss, partners or clients.

 

4. Discuss Those Finer Details

Your Manager will mostly likely want to discuss with you the finer details around how and when you will let colleagues know you are leaving. You may wish to inform them individually, or as a group, or have your Manager tell them for you.

You also need to confirm your notice period and how this effects your new role start date. This should be communicated clearly in your contract of employment, but it is always worth a conversation on whether it is realistic to shorten this (if desired by any party) or even extended on request.

Whether your notice period is 2 weeks, 2 months or anything in between, its important you are aware of this before giving your new employer a start date that you may not be able to commit to. Be prepared that in some cases, you may be placed on gardening leave rather than working your notice period.

Garden leave (or gardening leave) is when an employer tells an employee not to work either part or all of their notice period. This could be because the employer does not want the employee to have access to sensitive or confidential information they could use in a new job (Source: ACAS) In this case, you are still employed by your employer, just not working for them and therefore you are still entitled to your salary and contractual agreements in this period of time.

 

5. Plan A Robust Handover

Scheduling time to plan for a smooth transition shows you to be a true legal professional and not someone who leaves a law firm or an employer in the lurch, or projects unfinished. Think about your specific areas of responsibility – current caseloads, unfinished assigments, urgent jobs and upcoming commitments, as well as information on your clients that your successor or wider team will need.

If possible, invest some time in training up your successor, or at least making formal handover notes, to ensure you minimise the impact on the firm when you leave and once again, keep the working relationship positive.

 

6. Start Clearing Your Desk

Once colleagues are aware that you are leaving, you can start to clear your desk so that it’s ready for the next occupant. Removing paperwork, filing and archiving, binning wastepaper and taking personal items such as photographs home will ensure your workplace is ready, clean and welcoming for the next person.

 

7. Stay Committed

It may be tempting to spend time planning what you will do in your upcoming new legal role (and if time permits, there is definitely merit in keeping in touch with your new employer during your notice period – following their social media accounts to keep track of the latest news, be aware of any networking events etc) but nevertheless, you are still being paid to do your current job – so it’s important to remain committed to that role until the very end.

Remaining an active team player, working hard up to the last minute and completing casework where possible will be noted by colleagues and your employer and will ensure you leave on a positive note – and your professional reputation within the legal community follows you as you move on.

 

8. Embrace The Exit Interview

If you are offered an exit interview by your law firm, it’s always a good idea to take that opportunity while you can. These usually take place between yourself and a HR manager and are aimed at establishing any way in which they can improve the firm or addressing issues of which they may be unaware of.

While you can, at this point, bring to light any concerns you might have, keep your observations professional and your criticism constructive, always keeping in mind not to burn any bridges.

Taking these steps will not only provide closure on your previous role but will ensure you leave your law firm a well-respected and professional ex-colleague, with whom your former team and senior partners will be happy to network with and recommend in the future.

 

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help and market insight, your transition can be smoother and quicker – and get you the outcome you’re looking for.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal IT personnel to Practice Managers.

Whether you are building your legal team or are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Stands Out To Legal Employers

When it comes to selling your value to a recruitment company like Clayton Legal and the clients we work for, there are a few pivotal documents required to draw attention to yourself. 

The humble CV is one, followed quickly by your LinkedIn profile. 

As LinkedIn is the biggest social business network outside China, with 850 million members listed, it is more crucial than ever to leverage the opportunities your LinkedIn profile provides as a positioning tool for your legal career. 

Your LinkedIn profile has many positive attributes. Unless you share a name with a well-known person, it is highly likely that your profile, if created properly, will appear on the first page of Google. 

Even though your CV/Resume is a standard document that demonstrates your career journey, a LinkedIn profile can deliver even more insight about you as a potential recruit in an interactive and engaging style that a CV alone cannot achieve. 

In today’s post, I want to share why your profile is so important and the easy, quick wins to ensure your legal LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd. 

Headlines and Pronouns 

Your headline is often the first piece of text a recruiter or potential hiring manager will see, so make it count. Paraphrase what you do, and the good news is LinkedIn now allows 220 characters, including spaces. Here is an example of a legal headline that works.  

“Solicitor at BLM. Working in the Housing Team dealing with insurance litigation, housing disrepairs and property damage in Liverpool” 

With D.E.I. being on most workplace agendas, LinkedIn now allows you to add your preferred pronouns on your profile. The use of pronouns will let hiring managers, colleagues or online connections know how to address you to prevent any misconceptions.  

A Professional Photo 

LinkedIn produces numerous reports that demonstrate the power of imagery and media on your profile. Profiles with a professional photograph can get 14 times more profile views vs those with selfie style images or group pictures. 

Phone technology today means there is no excuse not to have a professional LinkedIn profile picture. Ask a colleague or friend to take a photograph with their smartphone in good lighting where you shoulders and face are visible to give an honest and accurate perception of who you are professionally. 

Head and shoulders are the best shots. Your face, preferably smiling in appropriate business attire, makes the best impact. Remember, recruitment consultants viewing your profile are imagining how you will fit into their client’s organisation, so this is an easy way to make an impact.  

How To Get In Contact  

As a first start, do you have all your contact details visible?  

Make sure you have a mobile number and a Gmail/Hotmail address that is your most active and professional email account. Try to avoid the likes of 90sbaby@hotmail.com or something with your birth year in as this can indicate age bias subconsciously.  

A professional url demonstrates your attention to detail, for instance, LinkedIn.com/in/Andy Gold as opposed to LinkedIn.com/in/Andy-Gold-2671c567. 

It’s also important to include links to your blog where you share knowledge related to your sector which is a great feature a lot of LinkedIn users forget to utilise.  

Featured Section

Have you written papers or presented at a legal industry conference, or recorded any work-related videos?  

If the answer is yes, add them here, and this will certainly make you stand out from the crowd and gives recruiters or potential law firms the chance to see more of what you can do rather than just reading it on a CV. 

Your About Section

Please do not add only your essential skills or paste sections from your CV into your summary section. Use it to catch people’s attention as you share relevant information about who you are and your skills and abilities; you have 2000 characters, so make them count. 

In this section, talk about the value you will add to an organisation alongside your skillset. Be different and stand out by explaining how you might help a potential new employer solve their problems while being genuine and authentic. 

Our experience as recruiters is this attracts our attention, plus it makes it easier for us to ‘sell’ the fact you are a ‘must see’ candidate for our client and pick out your best attributes towards their needs. 

Here are some examples from LinkedIn themselves as to what they see as great profile summaries. 

Add to Profile and Open To

On the right-hand side of your profile, you will see a button that says ‘add to profile’. When you click this, it reveals all the additional sections you can add to your profile.  

From featured items to licenses and certifications, and courses and recommendations the list is endless to really boost your profile against your competitors.  

If you are open to work and currently not employed, you can add this to your profile picture by clicking the relevant button. This lets recruiters know instantly without even clicking on your profile that you are a potential candidate for their client and therefor you are most likely to be seen.  

In the ‘add your profile’ section under background, share details of all your work experience that will communicate your capability. Then list all your education and volunteer activities. Today, organisations have an active CSR programme that they love to promote to new starters; therefore, this area is essential to share too should you have experience in those departments. 

Under accomplishments, you can list publications, certifications, patents, courses, projects, honours and awards, test scores, languages and how you are involved with communities that are important to you. 

This makes it easy for a recruitment organisation to identify your skills and expertise as a potential match for their client. 

The big question is, does your profile: 

  • Help your standout? 
  • Communicate your value, including providing supporting evidence? 
  • List your work achievements? 

Share Useful Content

Depending on your current organisation and their social presence, you can share and like content until your heart is content. This unconsciously communicates to everyone how connected you are and what is important to you. When someone arrives on your profile, it is one of the first sections they can see. 

You can now share an article or even upload a compelling image or create a video on your LinkedIn profile. All of which enable you to communicate your personal brand and show recruiters areas of your work you are particularly interested in the most. 

List The Skills You Know Are Important in Legal

When it comes to legal skills, you can add up to 50, which could help you stand out to a recruitment consultant and your future employer. You don’t have to add all of them as only your top ten will be profiled, so make these the most important. 

The UK is in the grip of a skills shortage. Therefore, if you know you have in-demand skills, communicate them on your profile wherever you can. You would be surprised that this is an area often forgotten by even the best of candidates. 

Endorsements and Recommendations

We all now live and work in the review society. Social proof is a significant influencer in our current community. Who has not viewed Trip Advisor before booking a restaurant or holiday with their significant other? It is the same in the business world. 

Therefore, collecting recommendations and endorsements is crucial for your career. If you have not got any, ask for them from your contacts. All too often, people are shy about asking for validations of their work. The good news, which might surprise you, is that many people are more than willing to give you a recommendation as long as you offer to give one back in return. 

Finally, Complete Your Profile in Full

A question for you? Are you using all the features we have mentioned? 

Do you have a presentation or video on your summary? Have you got a link to a paper you have written? 

It is interesting the impression people get from reading a full LinkedIn profile. It sends a message to recruitment companies that you are a person with attention to detail and take their career and work-life seriously – a great candidate for their clients.  

About Clayton Legal 

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.  

 

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.  

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Legal Sector Hiring Trends: What Is Happening In The Market

The last few years have certainly seen monumental shifts in the hiring landscape from talent shortages to remote and flexible working.

There is more to come. The impact of the war in Ukraine and rising inflation due to fuel costs and supply chain issues will undoubtedly impact even more candidate decisions to move for more money as the year progresses.

At the end of 2021, there was a record 1.2 million vacancies according to the O.N.S. across all sectors in the U.K. More than fifty per cent of companies reporting staff shortages said they were struggling to fill vacancies.

Unemployment continues to decline, falling to 1.4 million in the three months to October 2021. While unemployment is still above levels before the pandemic, it is now below the average level in the five years before the beginning of quarter one of 2020.

Before we dive into the legal landscape, let us look at recruiting across other sectors first, which naturally will impact the business growth of the legal sector.

The Hiring Trends Index

The hiring trends index reveals that vacancies reached a record high in quarter one, although the growth rate is slowing down compared to the end of last year.

In the recruitment sector, this is known as a candidate-driven market. This is demonstrated by the fact that over forty per cent of businesses have increased their recruitment since the start of the year.

Most companies plan to keep hiring this year, with only 4% planning to decrease recruitment in Q2 2022.

A few points of note from the index, which are present across many legal firms in the U.K., is that companies are seeing an increase of over 20% in hours worked, resulting in one in ten employees leaving because they ‘feel’ overworked. This is connected to over a quarter of employers being concerned about their staff’s mental wellbeing.

All parts add to a complex hiring equation playing out for legal firms across the U.K.

The War For Legal Talent Will Get Worse

In a recent Law.com post, several U.K. law firm leaders were interviewed about their predictions for 2022. The war for legal talent was a key area for discussion on the back of an increasingly dynamic legal landscape in 2022.

Though several leaders predict a slowdown of the transactional surge that occurred in the last half of 2021, they anticipate a rise in restructuring, insolvency, and dispute work, which will continue to fuel what many call an “unsustainable” war between firms to attract the best.

In today’s marketplace, firms need to consider their benefits package overall. Though increased pay rises and higher salaries will carry on, law firms will have to focus more on aspects such as their company culture, the quality of clients they work with and how they look after and develop their staff.

This was backed up by a recent post in The Guardian, where Jon Boys, the labour market economist at the C.I.P.D. confirmed what is happening across the country. Employers are working harder than ever to keep their staff ‘happy’ and do more for them, be that better clients to work with or the option for flexible working.

As a result of market conditions, many firms are coming to the Clayton team seeking advice on how to improve their employer value proposition in the market, from salaries to looking at alternative working patterns that offer greater flexibility.

Work-life balance is no longer simply a buzzword in the H.R. departments of law firms that want to attract the right legal talent for their growth. Working hard is a given in most law firms; however, many legal candidates are actively considering moving to a more empathetic firm that will allow them to create some balance in their lives.

Alison Brown, an executive partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, a respected international firm, when interviewed by Law.com, also commented that firms need to create a culture that appeals to people. Giving people the best work with work-life balance would be the differentiator when legal candidates choose their next employer.

In summary, candidates are willing to move firms, but with an abundance of choice in such a competitive market, it remains a challenge for employers to truly stand out and offer compelling job opportunities in a Firm that has an already strong employer brand, and is able to articulate it’s vision, culture, and wider employer value proposition.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Your Legal Career Checklist

When was the last time you sat down and reviewed to what extent you are meeting your career objectives?

And I don’t mean your annual review with your line manager; I’m talking about your deeply personal career goals and intentions.

Wherever you are in your career journey, it is a good idea to periodically analyse your current position depending on where you want to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything on track and working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to meet your goals?

To help you measure if your legal career is progressing as you envisaged when you started out, we have created the following checklist to provide you with a snapshot of whether you’re on the right track.

When you work through this checklist, it is essential to remember the reasons you got into your current role in the first place.

What did you set out to achieve in your career – did you plan on making a certain amount of money in a specific timeframe?

Was your move into your current role related to what was going on in your personal life? For example, were you about to leave home, get married or were you saving for a deposit for a house?

And also, what is important to you about the company you work for? Do you fit in with your company’s culture? Do you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and managers?

If your current role or company is not fulfilling you in the way you had hoped, or if the pace has slowed down recently, it could be a sign that you need to start making some big career decisions – is it time to move organisations?

Read each statement below and decide on how much you agree, using the following scale –

1 – Strongly disagree

2 – Disagree

3 – Neutral

4 – Agree

5 – Strongly agree

So, let’s get started!

Career Checklist

1. I am progressing the way I want in my career.

2. I have achieved some of my career goals, and others are within reach.

3. I enjoy my work and look forward to going in each day.

4. The people I work with are very supportive and friendly.

5. I feel like a valued member of the team I work within.

6. My manager gives me the right balance between support/guidance and working under my initiative.

7. I feel I make a difference within the company I work for, rather than just being a number.

8. The company I work for really invests in supporting me to achieve my goals.

9. I can see a clear progression path within my current company.

10. I am happy with the level of training and personal development offered by my current employer.

11. The company I work for believes in me and trusts me to do my job well.

12. I feel that my company enables and supports my focus.

13. I am recognised and rewarded for my work.

14. The sector I work in really interests me.

15. I am happy with the location of and commute to my place of work.

16. I feel my company offer a fair and competitive commission structure (if applicable).

17. The monetary remuneration I receive has enabled me to achieve goals in my personal life (i.e. buy a house, go on my dream holiday, etc.)

18. I feel I have the right work/life balance working for my current company.

19. I am happy with the way my working day is structured.

20. I can see myself staying with this company for a long time.

What Did You Score?

Tally up what you scored and take a look below at some of the points you may want to consider when thinking about how you want your career to progress in the future:

 

20-40

Alarm Bells! This score says your career isn’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying your current role. We suggest thinking about why you aren’t enjoying your position or not achieving what you want. It might be time for you to move on or think about whether your current company or role is for you. Do you need a more supportive environment, better career progression, or even a change of sector?

 

41-60

Room for More A better score, which suggests you enjoy aspects of your job, but there’s lots of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but you feel you aren’t personally getting the support you need to achieve your career and personal goals. You need to consider if you can see changes happening in your current company by speaking to your manager, or if you feel working here has run its course and to progress, you need to move on.

 

61-80

Meeting Some Goals You’re neither very happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as completely engaged. Which means that if the right opportunity came your way, you would consider it. When you feel this way, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You need to decide if you want to move, why is this? Understand if it’s just a case of you only feel like this when you have a bad day or if it’s more often.

81+

Loving Life and Your Job You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy the place you work. There may be small elements that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough to make you think about working somewhere else. However, we suggest you don’t become complacent. Sometimes, being in a company for too long can demotivate you in the long run. If you’ve been working with the same company for a while, is it time for a fresh challenge with new people?

 

If this checklist has prompted you to think harder about what your current role and company are providing you with, and it has made you realise that now is time for a change, then get in touch with Clayton Legal today. We can help you in deciding what step to take next to further your Legal career.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Interview Rejection: Handling Rejection From The Law Firm You Wanted To Work For

  • February 22, 2022

Rejection rarely feels good.

I am sure we can all remember that amazing boy or girl we thought we would be with forever who then unceremoniously dumped us.

Ouch!

On the upside, although being rejected for a role in a firm hurts, it’s rarely personal, unlike Mr or Miss Right, who cuttingly informed us they didn’t feel the same way we did.

Over the years, we have placed thousands of candidates, and the law of averages naturally suggests our clients have rejected many more. In today’s post, we wanted to share insights and ideas on how to bounce back, learn the lesson and move on to something even better.

Managing Your Mind

Our minds are amazing. They keep our body working like clockwork most of the time and enable us to do the most incredible things. For example, inventing technology that allows us to speak to our friends in LA or design our new fitted kitchen online with one click.

All good, although unfortunately, our brains always want to keep us safe and consequently swerve towards the negative more times than the positive, evidenced by the latest neuroscience research.

So, how does this relate to your interview rejection?

Candidates torture themselves when the hiring manager says no, often forgetting the bigger picture. Rejection is regularly blown out of proportion and viewed as a huge sign of failure.

By thinking objectively, you can use the experience to build on your strengths and address development areas, which helps you find the next role and law firm that suits you best.

Being objective, let’s start by asking for feedback to plan your next interview in an informed way.

Ask For Feedback

Always ask for feedback.

It might not be easy to hear, yet it is the best way forward if you want to make improvements.

Ideally, you will receive this from either the hiring manager or your legal recruitment consultant. If you are working with another recruitment consultant, not Clayton Legal, ask for it.

You might be surprised that there isn’t any feedback because the explanation might be as
simple as:

  • another candidate might have additional or relevant skills, or
  • worked in the role slightly longer, or
  • had gained more experience in a specific sub-sector.

All logical reasons why now wasn’t your time.

On the other hand, maybe there were gaps in your CV that you didn’t explain.

Perhaps the examples you shared were not relevant to the questions asked. Maybe interview nerves got the best of you, and your presentation floundered.

The key here is to use this useful data to hone your approach next time. With practise and focus, all of these areas can be improved.

Plan Your Future

The most common reasons for rejection are lack of technical skill, capability, experience, cultural misalignment and poor interview skills.

Let’s look at each in turn.

Technical skills and experience take application and time. It might be that additional training and self-development are required or looking at a sideways move to gain additional experience before moving upwards.

Cultural misalignment isn’t something you can always predict and in honesty, being turned down is probably a good thing. If you are very friendly, bubbly and enjoy a practical joke, being with a super analytical firm isn’t going to work long term for either of you.

Poor interview skills can be improved. These can range from being more confident, answering questions in detail about the results you have achieved for other law firms and communicating your worth.

It is not uncommon to find out that a candidate hasn’t shared some of their results or specifically how good they are at one part of the role.

Interview skills work both ways, and surprisingly your interview may be carried out by a partner that isn’t experienced in interviewing or remembered to ask you what you can bring to the role.

Always be prepared to answer questions in detail and have your top three results you are proud of that align with the job description you are working to.

Then communicate these achievements during the interview.

Knowing which areas need work is a great opportunity to create your plan, which can be in conjunction with your recruitment consultant.

Here at Clayton Legal, we work with our legal candidates confidentially, often years and months before they are ready to move.

Knowing the goals for their legal career, we can map out a logical approach and next steps. This might include suggesting a sideways move before going for a Head of Practice role or staying put for a year to gain stability and experience that specific law firms are looking for.

Finally, Look For The Gain

Though it isn’t always easy to see, rejections are often good for us. They help us identify what we are missing and do better next time with more knowledge and awareness.As recruitment consultants, it’s not uncommon to see a candidate rejected who, a few months later, gets an even better opportunity; imagine if that could be you?

How Can We Help?

Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team here.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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How To Pass Your Probation Period In Your New Legal Role

  • February 18, 2022

Probationary periods? When you look at the dictionary definition (a process of testing or observing the character or abilities of a person who is new to a role or job), it makes logical sense that an ethical law firm would have a probation period for all employees.

So today, let’s clarify what a probationary period is and how to ensure you pass yours with flying colours!

Probationary Period: A Definition

As a general rule in the UK legal sector, probationary periods last anywhere between three and six months, depending on the level of the role.

During this time, both you and your employer have an opportunity to decide if you are a match for each other, which you are both hoping is the outcome.

There will be a different notice period during the probation time frame, depending on your employment contract. It is usually much shorter and will vary from firm to firm. Your employer hasn’t recruited you on a whim; they want this to work out positively, as I suspect you do too.

Your new law firm has a duty of care to both you, their current team, and their clients. There is nothing worse than realising the role isn’t right for you or from your employer’s perspective.

Before we start looking at what to do to pass your probation, let’s remove the uncomfortable question on most new starters minds: “what do I need to do to make sure I don’t fail?”

Why New Legal Hires Fail

Though many new hires panic that their skillset and technical ability need work, capability is rarely why people fail. Any professional law firm knows and understand that everybody isn’t the finished article.

They want you to deliver in your new role, of course, whether you are a legal cashier or a head of commercial litigation. However, I am sure during the interview, you discussed how you want to develop your legal career.

During your hiring process, your legal recruiter will have assessed your CV, qualifications, experience, and skills aligned to the job role. Your hiring manager will have asked various questions to give examples of how you have achieved multiple results.

However, it is up to you to turn up and demonstrate what we call the double-A criteria;

  • Attitude and,
  • Aptitude.

Fact: Failure happens because of a lack of personal application.

HRmagazine in the UK and LeadershipIQ in the US shared extensive data that confirms that attitudes drive over 89% of hiring failures, while a lack of technical ability came in at only 11%. Career builder shared similar alarming research that 30% of managers had sacked staff for poor timekeeping.

I suspect you can see the pattern here of why people fail.

In summary, poor interpersonal skills often lead to an unwillingness to accept feedback—for instance, poor verbal communication skills, lack of listening and being too emotional.

One client came to us to ask for help with their recruiting, after making a series of poor hires.

One particular new property solicitor gave yes and no answers to everything rather than expanding her answers with the detail her manager needed. Then she complained that her manager was interrogating her. It was as though her twin sister, not her, came to the interview.

The person in question turned up ten minutes late every day without giving a reason, too; a pattern emerging all around the new hire’s attitude.

Motivation, or lack thereof, is another factor that leads to failure. Your employer doesn’t expect you to be the legal version of Ted Lasso, 100% motivated or enthusiastic all the time; however, demonstrating commitment and energy towards your role is something they want to see.

There is good news – all of the above reasons for failure are easily rectified with some mind management and awareness of your impact.

So, knowing attitude is key; what else can you do to make your probation plain sailing?

Make an Impact

Making an impact is easier than most people realise. Being positive and approachable are such easy wins. You moved into the role for a reason, so ensure people get that you are excited and enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.

Dress codes vary in today’s workplace, and it’s still a good idea to dress smartly. This demonstrates to your new manager or leadership team and those around you that you take things seriously.

We mentioned earlier about lightness; whatever you do, don’t sabotage all the great ideas we’re going to give you by not paying attention to this key failure metric.

Though an uncomfortable truth, when you are new in an organisation, you are more visible to everyone, so make sure they see what you want them to see.

Put in Place Your Progress Plan

Here at Clayton Legal, we work with the best clients, and they all have specific objectives and criteria they share with new team members during their probation period.

However, we know that that isn’t always the case with every firm. We appreciate that you may be reading this post as a legal professional struggling with your probation. Our first suggestion is to make sure that you align with the objectives your manager has given you with the outputs required in your job description.

If you haven’t been set SMART goals, set them yourself. Always ask your manager to give you examples of what exceeding, good, average, and poor looks like.

Feedback is fascinating, as we alluded to before, so remember to be proactive here and ask for feedback from your manager and colleagues.

Forewarned is always forearmed; their experience of you can help you alter what you are doing, how you’re working and how you’re interacting with people.

Keep a record of your progress, positive and development feedback, and what you did to change. Write down your wins, too, when they happened and what you did.

This process alone is invaluable because it will help you prepare ahead for your review while also giving you a framework to keep winning in your role.

For many people, being “on probation” can cause a level of anxiety. Our human brain doesn’t help either. It has a habit of looking for the negative all the time.

I hope by reading this post, you appreciate that passing your probation isn’t the onerous task you are making it out to be.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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How To Negotiate Your Legal Pay Rise This Year

  • February 15, 2022

As I sit down to write this post, my phone has pinged to let me know that the UK economy has rebounded with the fastest growth since World War Two. A 7.5% increase despite falling back in December due to Omicron is a positive situation for business in the UK.

In contrast, our cost-of-living worsened in December after inflation jumped to 5.4% – its highest level in almost 30 years – driven by the higher cost of clothes, food, and footwear; this is likely to get worse as the cost of fuel doubles for many.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, says to ask for a pay rise now is to cause further economic decline.

In fact, according to a recent analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility shared in the Newstatesman, the UK is on course to endure two more decades of stagnant wages, revealing the negative news that we should expect to earn less in 2026 than 2008.

Confusing when we consider the legal sector.

The last two years have seen many law firms report their best year ever, which we can confirm with the number of recruitment instructions we are receiving from our clients.

As a hard-working and productive legal professional, what are your options? Let’s share a few suggestions in this post.

Know Your Facts

The legal candidates we work with here at Clayton Legal are switched on. They know how their firm is faring in the market and what growth is anticipated in future years.

When law firms plan growth, they also understand that they will need to plan financially to increase headcount and ensure their current team is engaged and recompensed appropriately.

Well, hopefully, that is the case.

Though not in every firm.

Taking your time to research salary packages puts you a step ahead because it demonstrates that you have evidence to back up your pay raise request. This data is vital because it will give you leverage when starting the negotiation.

The question then is where your current firm sits on the spectrum, and are you being paid the going rate?

This brings me to the next point.

Know Your Value

Pay and remuneration is a prickly subject, and we aren’t guaranteed a pay rise every year for simply turning up and delivering on our objectives.

Remember, no legal manager likes being held to ransom and at the same time, they appreciate honesty. If you aren’t happy with your remuneration package, you have to tell them; as uncomfortable as that conversation feels.

At Clayton, whenever a candidate comes to us where pay is a problem, we always ask if they have had a discussion with their manager first.

It’s surprising how many people haven’t.

Sometimes a straightforward conversation like this works. Sometimes it doesn’t, and this is where honesty with yourself is important. Here are a few questions to consider.

  • What value are you delivering to the firm?
  • What results did you achieve last year that were above what was expected?
  • Is your manager or HR fully aware of your contribution to the firm?
  • Considering this, how will you demonstrate how valuable you are?

As a first start, use your performance objectives showing all your achievements. This way, you will let your firm appreciate your worth and what it might cost to replace you.

You could take your manager through the goals that were agreed upon together and what actions you have taken to achieve the results you have.

You will be surprised how well this works. Your manager could be responsible for a lot of people. They are human too, and might not have all your performance wins etched in their memory.

Know What You Want

This final point is key; know what you want, and here are a few things to consider.

  • Do you have a figure in mind?
  • Is this based on your personal need?
  • Your analysis of the current market?
  • How much you think you are worth?

It is important to know what you want and why and have justification for the figure you are asking.

Here is something else.

Is money your real motivator, or are there other options to consider? The world of work is changing, and many firms could consider hybrid working for day weeks and sabbatical leave. These are all options that are now on the negotiating table that wasn’t just a few short years ago.

Know Your Walk-Away Point And Your Options

You might be pleasantly surprised that your pay rise suggestion is accepted, especially in the current talent market.

However, be prepared that it might not. Therefore you need to consider your options.

The upside is that we are currently in a candidate-driven market because of the skill shortage fuelled by Covid-19.

For you, this means that your options are open, and if you are prepared to move, you can potentially join a new law firm and continue to develop your career while being appropriately rewarded.

And this is where we can help.

The team here at Clayton Legal have placed literally thousands of legal professionals.

Our twenty + year record of success has enabled us to develop trusted relationships with many of the UK’s law firms, including the Legal 500, Top 200 and smaller and independent regional law firms. We work in partnership with all our customers to deliver on both career expectations and business drivers.

Depending on your role and experience, we may be able to personally represent you to our clients too. If you would like to have a confidential conversation about you and your legal career then do get in touch. You will find all our contact details here.

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth last year, the legal sector wasn’t one of them. Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team here.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Legal Interview Skills: How to Excel In Your Virtual Interview

  • January 22, 2022

Though this post will focus on virtual interviewing ideas, the fundamental process of the interview is the same.

Interviews are an opportunity for candidates and employers to ‘meet’ virtually or face to face. This enables you to ask questions of each other, demonstrate why you as a candidate will be an ideal hire for the firm in question while you test their compatibility to help you develop your legal career.

Interviews can still be an unsettling experience, particularly in an environment where virtual interactions are still taking place across the sector, and many of us aren’t always keen to jump in front of a camera.

Like any life skill, preparation is key. As you prepare for your interview, ensure you answer the following.

  • Knowing why you want to move now.
  • How you will communicate the value you bring through the results you can achieve.
  • How to demonstrate your confidence and capability in every way, including on video
  • And how to confirm you are what your prospective employer is looking for.

If you plan to develop your legal career in a new role, this blog will help. I will be reviewing several interview fundamentals and how to present well on video.

The first part of any interview process is to gather data – let me explain.

1. Do Your Research

As a legal professional, you will be used to researching extensively for cases and arguments. The same dedication should influence your job search too. Start by getting to know the firm you’re hoping to work for and make sure you can answer the question, “Why are you a good fit for our team?”

The legal recruitment consultant you are working with will help with this, and it is vital to do your research.

Assessing the firm’s website, social media channels, current legal team, and online content can give you a good insight into the values and principles that guide the business.
You may even find it helpful to look into the background of the person who will be interviewing you on LinkedIn so that you can ask questions related to their role. Remember, asking questions in an interview is a great way to show you are interested, involved, and engaged, all key employability skills every firm is looking for.

2. Plan and Prepare

Planning and preparation can make all the difference to how confident you are as you enter the interview.

As you prepare, look through the job description and expectations and discuss the key motivations and drivers for the firm with your recruitment consultant.

For example, suppose you were applying for a Family Solicitor role. In that case, the requirement might be to demonstrate prior experience working within Private Family Law and manage your workload efficiently.

Therefore, logically what examples do you have to demonstrate where you have gone above and beyond in this area? Once you are clear on examples, it is much easier to use them to answer questions.

Though you can’t predict every single question you will be asked, several time-tested questions might appear. Prepare for questions around:

  • Your motivation to study law
  • What’s the most difficult case you’ve ever had to deal with?
  • How do you deal with an X, Y or Z situation?
  • How would you handle a difficult client? Can you share an example?
  • Why us and why now?
  • What are your career aspirations?

Many firms use a combination of general and competency-based questions, so be prepared for both. A general question may have a yes or no answer though there is usually an opportunity to share more detail, which helps you demonstrate your knowledge and the drive you will bring to the role.

A competency-based question may be asked so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and skill in a specific area. Say that is client management. Use a situation here and describe the scenario, then share your action and the result you achieved.

Practising your interview skills is a great way to perfect your answers to complex questions. It’s also a chance for you to ask people whether you’re making the right impression with your overall attitude, presentation, and image.

3. Master Your Video Skills: It is Easier Than You Think

Video interviews are still often part of the first stage of the hiring process after the hiring team has viewed your CV.

Depending on the firm, you may be asked to record a video where you answer a number of questions about yourself and your capabilities as part of a first screening stage.
Videos ahead of time give you an opportunity for multiple takes to get everything right. Though the hiring manager won’t expect you to be in a professional studio, it is important to record your video to profile you in the best possible way.

People use two popular cameras; one is a webcam, the other a smartphone. I want to share a few important details about both.

Using a smartphone, use a stand to avoid a camera shake from a nervous had. A useful technique is to look up or directly at the camera rather than down. This allows you to use your eye contact and body language to maximum effect.

When it comes to video technology, smartphones do an amazing job, and to improve the impact, better lighting and an external microphone will lift the experience. The number of people using video technology has meant that you can get a camera stand, lighting, and a microphone for under forty pounds.

Remember to record in a well-lit room with a plain background behind you.

Recording ahead of time allows you to practise what you say and how you come across. Importantly remember to look into the camera lens, which you can test ahead of time.

Similar principles apply to web cameras which can often be plugged onto a monitor screen or are part of your computer. Test the audio quality ahead of time as using ear jacks or an external microphone might give a better experience.

A headset and earphones are gamers’ choices; however, try to avoid using a headset like this during an interview as they can restrict your movement and are not flattering to wear.

It’s also worth taking extra steps to “set up your space” for video. Make sure your lighting is excellent in your room of choice, and there isn’t clutter or a window behind you in the video stream. If you can’t find a professional-looking space in your home, use virtual or custom backgrounds instead.

Remember, when you record a video like this, taking one will rarely be your best version. Practice really does make perfect, and a rushed or unrehearsed video stands out a mile.

When it comes to having an interactive video interview, the same principles apply that I mentioned earlier.  Remember to look into the camera as much as you can, varying your gaze when someone else is speaking so that you can get a sense check on the body language your interviewer is sharing.

It goes without saying that you should dress for the role you want, which includes all areas of your body that will be both off and on camera.

Being generally confident, friendly, and open will make it easier for your interviewer to connect with you and imagine a space for you in the firm. Pay attention to your actions throughout the interview, and try not to engage in any nervous behaviours like wringing your fingers, or tapping your desk, as this can make you look impatient.

We have focused on working with the camera and sound, and there may be other software involved. If that is the case, download the software you need for the conversation in advance, and practice using it. Ensure you know how to do everything from sharing your screen to muting yourself when someone else talks.

Check the quality of your internet connection in advance, so you can warn your interviewer if you’re concerned you might have any lag issues. You can also contact a friend or family member via video to check your video and audio look and sound as good as possible.

Next Steps

The legal industry is on the verge of a virtual hiring revolution. For some time now, recruitment has been growing increasingly virtual.

Before the pandemic, the Clayton group had already begun utilising video interviewing for our client and our candidate recruitment, with great results.

We have invested in the latest video technology that provides an unparalleled recruitment process for legal job seekers.

Contact the Clayton Legal team today if you would like support to develop your legal job search in the virtual age.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Planning Your Legal Career in Our New Normal Workplace

  • January 18, 2022

At the start of a new year, many of us review where we are in both our personal and professional lives. For those of us working in the legal sector, it’s no different.

The specific details of the legal path you want to take might differ slightly. However, the five fundamentals we are sharing today form part of any successful career planning process, as we have observed placing more than 5000 legal professions over the last twenty-two years.

First, let’s put some context around the impact of the new ‘norm’ when it comes to creating your plan.

The New Norm

As we navigate our way out of the pandemic and multiple new variants, it is fair to say that the new normal hasn’t impacted the legal sector as much as others, except for improved technology, communication channels and virtual recruitment.

We noticed here at Clayton Legal that the phone continued to ring after the initial few weeks of the first lockdown as clients asked us to help fill their roles. This continued throughout 2021, accelerating at pace as the year went on. 2022, so far, shows so sign of this appetite to hire slowing down.

Hybrid, home, and remote working are still major debates across firms as they consider the permanency of such working arrangements.

As predicted by the Microsoft Workplace Trends report, many candidates we speak to are keen to have some flexibility around working in the office or at home. Consequently, we are seeing more firms willing to consider hybrid working moving forward.

The critical piece of the conversation is that skilled legal candidates are in short supply. This results in employers counter offering employees to stay with them rather than moving to a new law firm. Some legal candidates continue to have multiple offers on the table.

In summary, if you are a skilled candidate looking to move, this is your time.

What an opportunity, though let’s have a sense check here. Jumping into a new role with an improved package and a hybrid working opportunity is OK, provided it is part of your long-term plan.
Therefore, consider this as you plan your career. Moving and building your career takes time, depending on the level you want to achieve.

So, what should you be considering in your overall plan?

Decide What You Want

Goal setting and tweaking can happen at any time of the year. As Professor Maxwell Maltz shared in his New York Times bestseller, human beings are success-seeking creatures, and therefore we want to achieve success.

Without goals to inspire and drive you, it’s impossible to know if you’re moving in the right direction. In simple terms, if you don’t know the destination, then you can’t plan the journey.

Deciding what you want allows you to take control of your professional life.

Simply saying that you want something isn’t enough. Goal setting is a strategic process that considers what you want to achieve through a series of milestones and action steps and ends with hard work and dedication.

Therefore, setting a goal and then moving towards it is a logical process we would all be advised to tap into.

Most legal professionals want:

    • To work in an area of law that they enjoy and find interesting

To receive sufficient income for their work to enable them to live comfortably

  • To be considered as being professional and knowledgeable
  • To achieve a work/life balance that allows them to enjoy a life away from their work

No matter your opinion about setting goals, you will find yourself meandering around with no real sense of purpose unless you are clear on what you want.

Choosing stretch goals means finding the right balance between targets you can realistically achieve and aims that challenge you.

However, don’t set goals that are too easy, either. It’s essential to challenge yourself, as that way, you can reap the rewards of feeling accomplished and driven. Find goals that help you raise the bar on your work and performance.

Always have both short- and long-term goals in mind.

Let’s take an extreme example. If you are a trainee solicitor who wants to become a barrister, you will have to move, study, and gain experience over several years to achieve what you want. This will therefore inform the steps you need to cover in your plan.

Remember, the legal field has many options for you to consider. The more you learn about the legal space, the more you’ll discover new career opportunities and paths you can take.

A Goal Setting Framework

One of the most popular goal-setting strategies involves creating “SMART” goals. There are variations on what the “SMART” acronym stands for, but most experts agree that it requires your goals to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Your legal career goals must be clear and defined. A vague goal like “I want to get a promotion” doesn’t provide sufficient direction. Determine what kind of promotion you want that will fit your plan and when you want to accomplish that target.

Conduct a Skills Audit and Contact A Legal Recruiter

To accomplish what you want in your legal career, you will have to up-level your skills relevant to your desired roles. Knowledge is power, and this is where talking to someone who has the ultimate position you want can be useful.

Although, remember that a lot has changed during the last few years and what was once required for a role, either skills or experience, might have changed.

This is where talking to a specialist legal recruiter will help. Here at Clayton, we have over twenty years’ experience recruiting legal professionals and can guide you on the best next steps according to the specific legal career path you want to take.

With the specs for your ideal job to guide you and your CV in hand, write a list of the skills you need to work on and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 4. A rating of 4 indicates that you’re an expert in the area, while a rating of 1 means that you have very little knowledge or skill in that area.

Once you know which elements need the most work, you can develop a list of activities that will help you close the gap.

Managing Your Mind

The first step in developing your legal career is to embrace the right mindset by managing your mind. More than ever, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of working with our mentality to handle whatever is happening globally.

It’s easy to assume that creativity, intelligence, or talent are the things that set successful people apart from the rest of the world. However, the truth is that all the most powerful people in business today reached their goals through perseverance, grit, dedication, and the right mindset.

Your ultimate goal may take a few years, and the more you can manage your mind through the process, the better.
Good Luck!

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth in 2020 and into last year, the legal sector wasn’t one of them. Here at Clayton Legal, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your legal career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team here.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country
since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and
reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from
Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T.
personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Get noticed, get standout, get hired: Top 10 Tips to supercharge your legal job application

  • October 5, 2021

For legal professionals considering a career move, navigating the job market, now more than ever, can be daunting, especially in practice areas where creating stand out is key. Making sure your application is the one that gets noticed, makes that vital positive first impression and works hard to get you that interview, and into that dream role is key. Read our top 10 tips:

1. Do the groundwork thoroughly

You’ve scoured the market, you’ve seen a new opportunity that has piqued your interest, and you know you’re a great fit – but taking a step back and researching that new opportunity beyond the advert is important. Research the firm thoroughly, even if you’re already aware of their brand and reputation in the market. Look at their digital footprint, their social media channels, their brand, and voice across the sector. What are their values, their mission and vision? What are their growth plans and future aspirations? If, at the end of the process you’re sure you’re on the right path, this undertaking will pay dividends at interview stage in demonstrating your knowledge about them as a potential employer.

2. Give your CV some TLC

Neglect your CV at your peril. This humble document is still a pivotal tool to sell your skills, competences and experience and is often the first opportunity you have to impress. Pay close attention to spelling and grammar and don’t forget the basics – clear formatting, chronological work history, personal contact details – but above all make the time to make it relevant to the role you’re applying for. For those who have previous experience outside of legal, perhaps just include the basics here – Company, job title and employment dates. You can then use the remaining space you have to focus on the experience and skills from your most recent roles – applicable, of course, to the role you’re applying for. The same applies if you have many years of experience – you won’t have the space to describe in detail each role and your responsibilities and achievements; particularly as we’d recommended a CV should be on average 2/3 pages long – and at most, 4 depending on your level of experience. Leveraging those skills and experience to make it clear you’re a match is vital – make it compelling, engaging but above all, specific.

3. Learn to love a cover letter

Whilst some believe the ‘cover letter’ as a tool in your application armory has had its day, many in the legal sector concede that they do still have a part to play in allowing lawyers to further demonstrate suitability for roles and illustrate relevant skills and experience. Again – making it specific to the role and that Firm is key. Demonstrate you’ve done your research about that Firm and highlight why you’re the person they need to hire. Be clear, concise and don’t ramble. We’d recommend keeping it to the one page if you can.

4. Hone that elevator pitch

Refining and perfecting your elevator pitch is time well spent as a jobseeker – and will add value when you’re in an interview scenario further down the line. Being able to articulate your intent, unique attributes, experience, and skill set in 30-60 seconds is an art, but once you have this crafted, it can be used to help define your personal statement and across online application forms.

5. Set aside time

Taking time to search the market for new opportunities takes time, and with those prospective roles in sight, formal job applications often take much longer than you might think – especially if you take on board the advice to personalise your application and supporting documents. Setting time aside in your schedule to dedicate to your job application activity is crucial; factoring in time to proofread, spell check and customise.

6. Embrace the tech

The pandemic has certainly brought about a lot of change when it comes to hiring legal professionals – virtual interviews and onboarding made possible through the rapid acceleration and adoption of tech solutions. As a job seeker, look to standout with alternative ways to raise your personal profile. Video platforms for example are a great way to add personality and weight to your application far beyond the traditional CV and cover letter duo. Requests for video supported applications are increasing, and often facilitated by recruitment agencies. Embrace these tools if they’re offered as another vehicle to demonstrate your suitability.

7. Time to get personal

Without a doubt, your (relevant) experience, skills, qualifications, and education are the hero elements of your legal job application– be that in your CV or a Firm’s own application form. But highlighting your interests out of work is still a great technique to demonstrate your personal qualities, and how you might fit with company culture.  Often an optional section of your application forms or CV, that doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time. Rather, used smartly, hobbies and interests can really strengthen your application and make you more ‘human’.  Try to stay away from stipulating interests that don’t really demonstrate a skill or quality that you’re hoping the hiring manager is looking for. ‘Going out with friends’ for example may be something you do outside of work, but it does little to further exhibit your strengths, skill set, personality, or transferrable qualities relating to the job at hand.

8. Audit your own digital footprint

Like it or not, hirers may conduct their own research into you as a potential employee far beyond the documentation that you have sent to champion that application. Therefore, it’s always wise to sense-check your social media channels to either set to private, or ensure your profile is one you wouldn’t mind your new employer seeing.

9. Boost your network

Connecting with the Hiring Manager at the Firm you’re applying to on LinkedIn may seem bullish, but it can be a savvy move and increase your chances of getting an interview. The connection request should be seen as another opportunity to introduce yourself and interest in the role and wider Firm. Being proactive means you could also open up conversations around the role in more detail that the job spec advertised, and a reciprocal ‘follow’ or connection will offer that individual another window into your experience and voice in the market. It is also worth saying that at this juncture, keep it professional. You don’t want to pile any pressure on regarding your application at this stage.

10. Enlist the help of an expert

Formally registering with a specialist recruitment agency will undoubtedly give you a head start with your job search – furnishing you with market insight as well as the inside track on the Law Firms that are hiring. And, when that dream role is in sight, you’ll be offered practical advice on the basics, refined by experts who live the hiring process and all of its anomalies day in, day out.

Next Steps

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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