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7 Classic Hiring Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

  • June 1, 2019

After weeks of searching, you finally interviewed the one candidate you thought would be a good fit for that tough-to-fill role. They ticked every box on your list, and you thought you’d ticked every box on theirs; you eventually made an offer, which they enthusiastically accepted.

The first week or two came and went without any cause for alarm, and they seemed to be happy and making progress in their new role. But then, without a word of warning, they handed in their notice and left.

If this, or a similar scenario, has ever happened to your firm, you know just how frustrating it can be, not least because – apart from all of that wasted time, effort and money – that one looming question remains unanswered: WHY? What went wrong.

Chances are, it could have been due to one or more of the following oversights in your recruitment process.

1. Not Knowing Or Being Clear About What You Want

One of the biggest reasons why hiring managers struggle getting their hands on the perfect talent is that they simply don’t know what they need in the first place. It’s hard to build your legal talent pipeline if you’re not sure what skills you need to hire for.

A vague job description or a blurry view of your ideal recruit can mean that you waste time interviewing people who are only semi-qualified for your projected role. Job descriptions communicated well will make all the difference between exceptional and terrible hires.

Be sure that you have created a talent-attracting job description. In addition to using an accurate job title and including the correct information in the job summary, you should align the description with your firm’s employer brand and clearly demonstrate what you can offer. In other words, seek to sell your law firm in the ad.

2. Not Having An Efficient Process In Place

With case deadlines, meetings and other logistical problems to overcome, you probably aren’t going to have time to interview dozens of professionals who might be suited to the job. However, not devoting adequate time to initiate the screening and interviewing of candidates will only increase your chances of hiring someone that doesn’t have the skills and personality you’re after.

Having said that, it’s also extremely important to shorten your recruitment timescale. In a candidate-driven market, you simply cannot afford to keep a candidate waiting through a lengthy recruitment process.

Having to wait more than a week to hear back from a potential employer can send a negative message to candidates, sowing the seeds of doubt in their mind. Among other things, it can give the impression that your organisation may have some management issues. If they have other interviews lined up during that time, and if any of your competitors are faster off the mark in making an offer, it’s unlikely that they’ll hold out for yours.

Just as crucial as making a timely offer, is backing it up with actual paperwork. It’s one thing to make an offer verbally over the phone, but if you haven’t confirmed the offer in writing within a few days, this again sends a negative message and can erode any sense of budding loyalty or trust they might feel toward your firm.

3. Holding Out For The Perfect Candidate

In addition to being decisive and expedient, you’ll also want to be more flexible in terms of your expectations. In a candidate-driven market, employers don’t have the luxury of finding the ideal candidate who ticks all of their boxes.

While there’s nothing wrong with being discerning about the kind of talent you want to bring onto your team, the chances of finding the ideal candidate are very slim. The longer you spend pursuing that dream candidate you desperately want in your firm, the more likely you are to miss out on the fantastic applicant that’s standing right in front of you.

This leads back to recruiting the right person according to the job description we mentioned earlier.

4. Not Considering The Candidate Experience

Of course, successful hiring isn’t just about attracting the right employees; it’s about retaining them too. Even if you manage to bring the right person into your team, you might lose them quickly if you provide them with a sub-standard onboarding experience.

According to SHRM, 50% of new hires leave their roles within the first four months. The best way to address this challenge is to find a way to immerse each employee in the workings of your firm from the start, which is why having a good onboarding plan is essential.

Everything from the interview that you use to assess your new hire’s ability to do the job, to the way that you welcome that individual into your team, can improve or diminish your chances of holding onto the right talent. From teaching crucial skills to ensuring your people become part of your company culture, proper onboarding leads the way to an invested and productive new hire.

5. Listening To That “Gut” Feeling

While some of the best leaders may trust their instincts when making crucial decisions for the future of their organisation, you’re going to need a lot more than a “gut feeling” about someone to ensure that you’re making the right hire.

Recruitment shouldn’t be about instinct or luck; if you work through a controlled recruitment process, where you ask the right questions, you’ll consistently get better results than if you follow a less thorough, slap-dash process.

When recruiting for an in-demand role, it is essential to have a robust and consistent process in place.

6. Neglecting Cultural Fit

There’s more to choosing the perfect candidate than making sure they have all the right credentials and certificates. A great employee is one that can work well in a team, so remember to hire based on attitude as well as skill.

Before you formally offer the role to anyone, make sure that the person you’re speaking to is passionate about the long-term opportunities that your firm can offer. This will help you to reduce the risk of job-hoppers. It’s also worth looking for characteristics that blend well with your current working environment.

For instance, if your team is most effective when collaborating together in-person, then it may be a bad idea to bring someone into the fold who’s shy, withdrawn, and unable to communicate well in a crowd.

7. Not Using An Experienced Recruitment Agency

In addition to implementing the strategies mentioned above, the fastest and most effective way of finding the right talent for your firm is to enlist the help of a legal recruitment specialist who understands your sector and can help to put you in touch with the right people from day one. This means that you spend less time sifting through inappropriate applicants.

An experienced specialist recruiter like Clayton Legal can give you the insight and guidance necessary to streamline your recruitment process and target the right talent. This is because they have a more informed and objective perspective on where your company fits in the recruitment market and how your offers are likely to be perceived by potential candidates.

Knowing where your firm stands amongst the competition will save you time and money in looking for the talent you need.

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.

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.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our guide here.

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