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Easy to Action Interviewing Strategies for Legal Hiring Managers

The interview process can be a gruelling task for all parties involved. When most hiring managers think about the complexity of interviewing, they focus on the challenges facing the person being interviewed. However, those hosting the interview also have their own hurdles to overcome too.  

From avoiding unconscious bias, avoiding ageism, and making sure you sell your candidates on the idea of working with your law firm, there are several important points to keep in mind as well as remembering all the main points covered at the end of the session.  

Here are some of the top strategies to follow as a legal professional hiring manager if you’re concerned you might not be getting the most out of your interviews. 

1. Know Your Interview Options 

The first step in ensuring you can master your interviews as a hiring manager is knowing what methods you can use to best connect with potential candidates.  

Today, the traditional face-to-face interview isn’t your only option. Video interviews have increased by 67% due to the pandemic and the rise of remote working with technology advancements being key. As hybrid employment options continue to thrive and companies look for ways to streamline the interviewing process, video conversations will likely grow to be more common in many law firms throughout the upcoming years if not already popular.  

But not forgetting, there’s also the time-old classic of picking up the phone for simple phone interviews as well to simply hear the person who could potentially be working with you. 

Each type of interview has its own challenges to consider. For instance: 

  • In-person interviews:
    You’ll need to think about where you’re going to host your interview, whether it’s a welcoming space, who will attend, and whether the candidate will present or just have a simple face to face conversation. 
  • Video interviews:
    Consider what kind of video meeting software you’ll be using, the background you’ll have in your video, and how you can present yourself as professionally as possible over a webcam. Always test the sound and camera quality beforehand and check whether all those participating are visible on screen. 
  • Phone interviews:
    Ask yourself whether you may need to record any phone interviews to go back over them later and how you can ensure you get a promising idea of what the candidate is like based on voice alone. 

2. Avoid Inappropriate Questions 

Inappropriate questions are becoming more common than you would think in legal interviews. While certain topics of conversation can feel like polite small talk at first, they often cause more problems than you’d think. For instance, asking people about what they did on the weekend can create an unconscious bias if you also have a shared hobby with them – but also at the same time, could be harmless conversation to break the ice. 

Unconscious bias could favour one candidate over another because you like certain things about their lifestyle or personality, which have nothing to do with the role or the ability to complete their tasks. 

Some other questions to avoid are: 

  • Where do you live?  
  • How did your childhood shape your professional life?  
  • If you could choose a different career, what would you choose?  
  • What is the worst trait of your previous manager? 

All the above questions could be classed as too personal, too confronting and encouraging speaking badly about others – all traits you want to avoid when interviewing someone for the first time and something you don’t need to hear to assess their capabilities for this role. 

3. Interview Styles and Formats 

There are many kinds of interviewing techniques that today’s business leaders and hiring managers can use, including competency-based or collaborative interviews, presentations, and group interactions to get a real feel for the potential candidates. 

Interviews are always best performed with two people from the hiring company, which can help avoid bias. It also gives those hiring the chance to discuss different opinions on those they are interviewing and not decide based solely from one person’s perspective and therefore giving the candidate a fair chance. 

Other methods are to consider using a first and second stage interview format before the final decision is made. In today’s environment, many first and second stage interviews can take place over Zoom or Teams so that it suits all parties involved. Carrying out interviews online also gives you more chance to interview more people, without the need for travel, time allocation and gives the candidates a better chance of being able to partake at a time that suits them and you best. 

4. Generalise Your Interview Questions 

Standardising your interview questions makes it easier to assess your candidates when you have interviewed several people for a role. It also means you’re less likely to allow unconscious biases to get in the way of your hiring decisions because you’re evaluating everyone based on the same set of guidelines, criteria, and questions. 

Create specific competency-based interview questions for the specific legal role in question, which allows you to score each potential employee based on their specific values, behaviours, and results.  

For instance, you can ask questions like; “share examples of times they’ve acted as a leader” or “shown exceptional teamwork”, and then make notes about their responses. Assigning scores to answers will also help you see who you should be shortlisting based on their answers compared to others if you are interviewing a larger number of people. 

Your interviews need to maintain a level of flexibility. It will be logical to ask follow-up questions to elicit more detail at times when needed if the candidate doesn’t elaborate themselves. 

“Tell me more about X or Y or why you decided to do B or C” are classic follow-up questions that work well to get more of an understanding of the candidates’ experiences.  

To make sure you know about a candidates’ hard skills, behavioural and soft skills there are some questions that LinkedIn Talent Solutions suggests you cover.  

  • “Say you’re negotiating a contract or administrative action or settlement in which the parties are far apart in what they want. Use a past example of this to talk me through your negotiation process.” 
  • “What would you do if you were asked to work on a case, contract, or business scenario that gave you ethical qualms? Has this ever happened to you—and what did you do?” 
  • “Tell me about a time you had to make a tough call that required you to decide between a gut feeling and the strategic decision-making of outside counsel.” 

5. Make Notes and Follow Up 

Finally, make sure you take notes as often as possible as you progress through the interviews. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of the conversation and then forget everything you needed to know about the candidate when you come back to review later.  

Always set aside some time at the end of each interview to gather your thoughts and catalogue what stood out to you most about the candidate (good and bad) before heading into another interview or meeting.  

Making notes can also help when you’re following up with your candidates by allowing you to provide a more contextual and relevant message and feedback, should they be successful or not. Showing you remember what you said (like any requirements for their starting dates or training they need) shows the potential candidate you’re invested in working with them and that you are attentive to what they were talking about during their time with you. 

Remember, if you’re struggling with your interviewing process, it’s often helpful to seek some help from a specialist recruitment company like ourselves that can help with a lot more than just finding you new candidates – we can also give you advice on how to interview more effectively, with tips on questions you might need to ask. 

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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The (Real) Cost of a Bad Hire in the Current Legal Market

  • March 25, 2022

Before the events of 2020 unfolded, many hiring managers and legal employers ‘thought’ they knew the dangers of hiring the wrong candidates.

With hindsight, we can now see that hiring decisions in our post-pandemic world are more crucial than ever.

The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been when it comes to having the right team in place; Covid has changed the way that employers need to approach their recruitment and retention strategies.

Today, we look at the real cost of a bad hire in the post-Covid recruitment market and what you as an employer can do to mitigate any risks in your recruitment process.

Plus, we have recently launched the True Cost of Hiring Calculator where you can quickly review and analyse the commercial cost of your recent hires, leavers, and financial impact of getting it wrong.

The Consequences of a ‘Bad’ Hire Now

Fact – making the wrong hiring decision costs your firm money.

What’s shocking is the number of poor hiring decisions that are made. A 2018 survey found that 39% of hiring managers realised they had made the wrong hiring decision within two weeks of their new recruit starting.

Why is this so important now in our post-Covid legal market?

Due to the growth of the legal sector in certain areas, some law firms this year have struggled to find the right talent to meet their needs – this means rushed hiring decisions and lots of them.

That’s not to mention the time and resources spent on training, all of which goes to waste when your new Solicitor or employee leaves just three months after starting with your firm.

With Covid to consider, there is also the added challenge of recruiting and onboarding when some parts of this process are happening remotely/virtually.

Are you now conducting remote interviews, or onboarding via Zoom? This creates an extra risk factor that your new employee will not integrate well due to them not being a good fit for your organisation, or never fully settling in their role.

The key is finding the right candidate for your vacancy and culture, who plans on staying with your firm for a long time. This is more difficult to achieve in our post-Covid world, and that is why it is key for employers to ensure they are reducing the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.

So what should you be looking for in your post-Covid legal hiring decisions?

Post-Covid Changes to the Legal Sector – What to Hire for Now?

It’s time to start thinking about what you are looking for in your legal hire and also, what they will be expecting from you.

Only when these two elements come together will you get the right ‘fit’; finding the ideal candidate, who wants to stay and develop their career with your firm.

But – what legal candidates are looking for has changed. Since the pandemic, candidates are increasingly looking for employers who understand the value of flexible working and can offer flexible working arrangements for both now and the future. Hybrid working models are likely to become the norm for many law firms, who, having remote working thurst upon them, are seeing the benefits this can bring to the business and their employees alike.

Additionally, candidates are increasingly looking for honest and transparent employers who have an excellent employer brand and have looked after their employees throughout the pandemic.

If you aren’t making the ‘right’ offer to talented legal employees, you will find yourself faced with candidates who don’t meet your expectations. And then when you’re pushed to make a hiring decision, the chance of you making the ‘wrong’ recruitment decision is higher due to your reduced talent pool.

Getting Your Post-Covid Job Adverts Right

It might be time to revisit your job roles, too.

Many legal firms will hire the same type of individuals for the same roles over and over – but now is the time to rethink this strategy.

Making the right hire all starts with attracting the right candidates, and you do this with your job adverts.

Are you showcasing your employer brand and excellent culture in your job adverts?

We recently wrote about the importance of an EVP (Employer Value Proposition) for Law Firms to really create standout and aid in attraction top talent in competitive markets.

Since Covid, have the skills and personality traits you are looking for in your employees changed? Many legal specialisms have exploded recently; are you ensuring that you are making a great case legal specialists to work for your firm?

Remember that if you want to avoid making the wrong hire, you need to find candidates who are truly a great fit, not someone who will be looking for a new role in a few months.

Finally

Often, we hear responses of 70-75% retention said with pride but we’d ask you to turn this statistic upside down – and consider 25-30% is actually therefore a failure with a direct hit on your bottom line. Therefore, we’d encourage you to make use of our True Cost of Hiring Calculator, particularly if you have hired legal professionals in the last 12 months, and have unfortunately found that some have left before their 1-year anniversary. The presentation of your results and accompanying report contains a wealth of information to further demonstrate why getting that fit right first time is imperative.

Of course, another way to protect your recruitment ROI – guaranteed – is to work with Clayton Legal to make your next hires.

We offer a full money-back guarantee, so if for any reason the hire doesn’t work out, you won’t lose out. And with recruitment costing you valuable time and resources when you go it alone – it’s always a safer option to work with a dedicated legal recruiter you can trust.

To find out more about our guaranteed legal recruitment service, call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here.

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 latest guide here.

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Hybrid, Home, and Hub Working in 2022 – What Does The Future Hold?

  • January 15, 2022

The world of work has undeniably changed during the last two years. Flexible working opportunities, including work from home, hybrid work, and hub (office) working, are rapidly becoming the new norm.

Consider this alongside the new flexible working bill revealed in June 2021, and work environments might change beyond recognition for firms across the legal sector.

The flexible working bill introduces several considerations for firms in search of talent for 2022. That means evaluating working practices for the legal industry, including if and how people return to the office.

Employers will be required to offer flexible arrangements in employment contracts and explain what work schedules are available when advertising job vacancies.

While the data suggests that employees who work in the professional and commercial sectors, such as law, can be just as efficient in a flexible working environment, the right talent growth strategies will still need to be in place to ensure a firm’s ongoing success.

Fail to provide the right working opportunities, and you could risk losing current staff while having your hiring offers rejected.
As a first start, let’s clarify the various working opportunities we are talking about here.

Defining Flexible Working Models

To ensure you’re prepared to welcome the new age of work, you’ll first need to understand what different flexible working modes entail.

    1. Homeworking

Otherwise known as remote working, home working involves allowing employees to work from home or remotely consistently in their role. This may include having video conferences with clients, fellow team members, and other departments for legal professionals.

    1. Hybrid working

Hybrid working combines home working with time in the office. It involves employees coming into the office and working remotely when their role allows.
Hybrid working has been available in many firms over the last few years, with partners working from home one day a week.
This is now changing, and even though employers and employees have enjoyed the benefits of working from home, the pandemic has also highlighted the wellbeing and connection needs of everyone. Many people find that a few days in the office helps boost their mood whilst improving collaboration.

    1. Hub working

Hub working often refers to situations where a specific legal team work together as a resource to each other to improve collaboration and communication. One partner may work in an office in Preston, the other in Carlisle and another from home on the outskirts of Leeds.
The move to flexible working is likely to see this style of approach becoming more prevalent.

For most legal companies, the hybrid working method is likely to be the preferred option for both partners and employees.

Approximately 70% of employees want flexible working options to continue, while 65% require more time with teams. In the legal sector, collaboration in-person and interactions with clients may require staff to be present in the office at least part-time.

Is the Hybrid Working Model Suitable for Legal Sector?

The rise of technology has facilitated a rapid transition to flexible working for many professional service and commercial organisations. E-signatures and contract management tools online allow a lot of the back-end work carried out by legal professionals to happen outside of the office.

Legal employees often feel comfortable working in a hybrid environment, as it allows them to split their time between the office, and the home environment, where they can have more quiet and focus. A recent Thomson Reuters survey reveals that 63% of legal professionals want to work flexible hours now, compared to only 22% pre-pandemic.

Notably, the desire for flexible work doesn’t lead to a decline in job commitment. Lawyers in the U.K. previously worked an average of 10 hours per day on weekdays and now express a desire to work up to 10.1 hours with flexible schedules.

Are There Benefits to New Working Styles?

Working from home, in a hybrid environment, or even as part of a flexible hub appears to have several benefits for today’s legal professionals. With fewer long commutes to worry about, time is saved in getting to and from the office and increased productivity has been documented consistently throughout the last two years.

On top of this, many studies are beginning to indicate hybrid and remote working can positively impact employee engagement satisfaction too.

The ability to work flexibly is something many legal job seekers have as a criterion before considering accepting an offer from a new employer. According to the Microsoft global work trends study, 40% of the worldwide workforce is now thinking about leaving their jobs in exchange for a career with more flexible options.

How to Implement New Work Styles

To ensure your firm stays ahead of the latest trends, it’s critical to start looking at flexible working options that make the most sense for your team. Consider which roles are suitable for hybrid, remote, and hub work and which might require a more traditional schedule.

Hybrid working has multiple benefits, but it can be challenging if not planned correctly. For most firms, the introduction of hybrid working will require a culture shift alongside new working methods.

We can learn lessons from working from home during the pandemic; however, hybrid working will make greater demands of managers and firms on an ongoing basis.

People working in a distributed environment can easily suffer from feelings of isolation and disengagement. There’s also the additional concern of cyber security and compliance to think about when team members are working online from multiple environments.

Employers will need to:

  • Consider their options: Look at the different working styles available and which ones are reasonably suited to your current employees.
  • Provide training: Ensure legal professionals have the tools and training they need to continue providing excellent service in a remote or hybrid environment.
  • Invest in constant optimisation: Use feedback from team members to constantly improve the hybrid or remote working strategy.

The recruiting team at Clayton Legal has been working with many law firms to adapt their talent search and job specifications in line with increased demand from job seekers for flexible working.

If you would like a conversation about how we can support your particular firm, do get in touch.

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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The Great Resignation: Are You Prepared?

  • January 12, 2022

In the last couple of years, all segments of the job market have experienced significant changes.

The first stages of the pandemic, in many sectors, resulted in a hold on recruitment. On the other side candidates decided to stay put with their current employer as economic uncertainty took its toll across the UK.

Cycle forward to today and we are looking at a different scenario.

The back pressure of employees who would normally move and the experience of more flexible working options being possible, has resulted in more employees considering a move as confirmed by a number of recent research reports by both Microsoft and Randstad.

A concern for all legal employers; First let us look at the data in more detail.

The Microsoft Work Trend Index report based on over 30,00 responses from Microsoft partners and employees revealed that 46% of respondents plan to move because they can now work remotely.

Confirmation of this move of human capital came from research revealed on a recent Randstad UK, presentation where Christine Armstrong a management consultant and bestselling author shared that 69% of employees felt confident about finding and moving to a new role within a few months.

This was based on data from a poll of over 6000 adults in the UK. The survey found that those in construction, manufacturing, tech, and logistics were among the most confident in the country where 74 % said they felt confident about moving to a new job now.

HR, legal, and accountancy professionals were among the least confident in the country although call centre workers were the least confident at 59%.

The disparity between groups is not huge and it still demonstrates that many people in our workforce are confident about moving to a new job.

Vacancies created by the pandemic, combined with new flexible working options, has created considerable new opportunities for legal professionals. Consequently, Law firms will begin to feel the pressure of the “Great Resignation” in the coming months

Let us explore a few definitions here.

 

What is the “Great Resignation”

The “Great Resignation” is the term used to refer to the increase in the number of people leaving their existing roles after the COVID pandemic.

Factors like excessive burnout during the pandemic, unhappiness with work/life balance, and the rise of new opportunities in most sectors have pushed many employees to reconsider what they now want from their careers.

The number of open jobs in the UK surpassed 1 million for the first time ever in August of 2021, and all industries face a threat. Many job seekers, according to Randstad, are not concerned about the task of actually finding a new role either as they see the number of roles available for skilled employees on multiple job boards and recruitment company websites.

Data provided by the ONS government website shares that around 9% of people changed jobs each year between 2000 and 2018; this ranged from a post-recession low of 5.7% in 2010 to a high of approximately 10.9% in 2017 and 2018.

Logically, you would expect a stall on staff movement in the preliminary stages of Covid, which is what happened; therefore, you would expect a natural upturn in people moving.

But is a mass exit predicted in the headlines simply speculation at this stage? Whilst it is arguably still too early to tell, especially with the latest developments in the ongoing pandemic, figures from ONS’s recent Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows resignations and job-to-job moves are already at their highest in 20 years based on data from quarter 3, 2021. What remains to be seen is the further impact the end of furlough had on the data moving into this final quarter although it is fair to say that the stats so far, alongside the rapid change in employment opportunities for today’s professionals, mean there is enough information available to prompt employers to sit up and take notice.

While not every law firm will necessarily see a mass exodus of staff, all firms will need to be prepared for managing a change in working preferences and expectations.

 

What Can Employers Do?

Even if the great resignation is not having an immediate impact on your firm, legal companies need to be prepared. The problems causing mass resignation in various industries are as significant for law firms as any other sector. Firms will begin to see their talented staff looking for more flexibility, support, and recognition from new employers.

The most valuable thing legal firms can do to stay ahead of the current market is to build their employer brand so that their communication out into the market highlights their culture as a caring and compassionate firm with a commitment to developing their people at their core.

In line with building a compelling brand firms need to be future focussed as they plan for the growth of their team. Though gaps and resignation can occur without warning developing an organisational talent plan can minimise these events. If you require help in developing your talent plan do get in touch as we are working with a number of firms currently on their talent plan.

Alongside working with the right legal recruitment team, law firms will also need to consider other strategies for retaining and attracting talent, such as:

  1. Extending remote work options For many employees in the legal field, the last couple of years has been clear proof the physical workplace is not a necessary ingredient of productivity. Surveys have found 39% of people would consider quitting their role if their employer wasn’t flexible with remote working. Now could be the right time for your firm to consider remote and hybrid working opportunities and how they might work for your team.
  2. Provide the right training Employers and managers need to feel empowered to work well in the existing remote landscape. Managers will need the training to ensure they are still engaging legal teams wherever they might be. Legal professionals may need assistance to use the tools crucial to their remote work practices as effectively as possible. Ongoing training and development will make your team feel like you are investing in them and their future, improving retention.
  3. Improve Workplace Wellbeing Today’s team members are less willing to remain with employers who they feel are not putting their best interests at heart. Today’s staff members are feeling increasingly overwhelmed and burned out in their legal careers. If your legal team feel overwhelmed by work and you are not giving them enough support, they are more likely to look elsewhere. Investing in tools to improve your employee’s well-being and taking their unique needs into account will be essential.

 

What’s Next for Law Firms?

Handling the potential threat of a “great resignation” in the legal industry can be a daunting prospect. Legal professionals can take a lot longer to source, recruit, and onboard than any average staff member, presenting significant problems.

The best way to deal with the great resignation is to get ahead of it as quickly as possible. Assess the sentiment of your legal team towards your culture and determine what kind of things might cause them to seek alternative employment, such as lack of flexible working opportunities or limited recognition from business leaders.

Conducting a series of “stay” interviews rather than waiting for exit interviews should allow you to understand better what is keeping your professionals around.

 

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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Virtual Legal Hiring Is Here to Stay: Are You Prepared?

  • November 24, 2021

Virtual hiring using video technology, for at least some of the recruiting process, isn’t new. Many organisations have used video screening since Skype first landed on our desktops back in 2003.

The use of video technology increased in popularity as pressure around time to recruit became a challenge, especially during the initial screening phase.

Over the last twenty years, reliable video has improved so much that many recruitment organisations, Clayton legal included, started to use video to enhance the recruiting process for both candidates and clients.

However, virtual hiring only became commonplace across multiple sectors during the Covid 19 global pandemic.

Last year according to a report by Gartner involving over 300 HR leaders, 86% of organisations conducted virtual interviews to fill their vacancies, and current evidence suggests virtual hiring is here to stay.

Now, however, the virtual hiring experience is rapidly emerging as a “new normal” for businesses and candidates.

Onrec, the respected recruitment resource website, recently shared data that revealed more than half of employers would continue to incorporate video interviews into their recruitment process.

In this workplace climate, both legal job seekers and employers are under increasing pressure to adapt or risk missing out on that potential new role or team member.

So today, let us look at the many benefits of virtual hiring and, importantly, what you need to consider to make this an effective hiring process for your firm.

 

The Multiple Benefits of the Virtual Hiring Trend

While the concept of continual virtual hiring may be daunting for some, the benefits are significant.

Virtual hiring accelerated as a needs-driven response to the pandemic, and consequently, its many benefits have become more visible; here are a few you might not have considered.

 

Visual Impact

Communication happens at many levels. Written prose is level one, and visual media is level three. The impact of hearing and watching someone speak is different to reading their CV. As human beings, our communication and effect are improved when we use our visual and auditory capabilities.

Albert Mehrabian is a psychology professor from UCLA known for his pioneering work in non-verbal communication, in other words, body language.

He identified the 7-38-55% communication rule. Fundamentally an individuals body language and communication ability has more impact than the words they are communicating. Not surprising then that video interviewing is so effective in helping you identify individuals ideal for your legal role.

 

Hiring Speed

Virtual hiring equals speed; 45% of recruiters revealed that video interviews helped speed up their process.

Video screening doesn’t need to be live video either. A candidate can record a video and send it to their recruiter for onward transmission and first screening by the hiring manager in question.

A win for everyone.

The candidate can record a video and put their best foot forward; deleting any stutters and stalls until they record a video they are happy will represent what they have to offer to their potential new firm.

At the same time, the hiring manager can watch the video when they have a gap in their diary. The initial screening interviews to create a shortlist can then take place in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Vital timesaving for a hiring manager who is probably already juggling a high caseload.

With time to recruit as an important metric for many firms, virtual hiring suddenly makes absolute financial sense.

 

Decision Making and Carbon Footprints

Video interviewing means more people can be involved in the process from multiple locations; no more waiting around for a decision from a senior partner in London who can’t get to the interview because a court date was changed.

As I write this, many of us have been gripped by the COP26 conference in Glasgow. Yes, climate change and carbon footprints are real, and consistent actions like minimising travel will make a difference.

 

Preparing for the Virtual Hiring Revolution

Both legal professionals AND firms will also need to continue to navigate the age of virtual interviewing.

Video technology and the skill to present and interview effectively are critical.

Video tech and software have developed significantly over the last three years. The majority of the legal profession are now familiar with Zoom and M.S. teams as a medium to conduct interviews. Yet still, a challenge for many is using these applications to best effect.

Let me share a few obvious examples that are easy to forget.

Remember, someone is going to be looking at what is or isn’t behind you. Only last week, I was distracted by a member of parliament and their book collection during a BBC interview.

This should not be an issue anymore, with virtual backgrounds being freely available.

As a client, if you have a glass-walled office, remember seeing people walking past is distracting for a candidate ‘trying’ to answer your questions.

Agreeing on a standard video interviewing procedure for your team that you also share with your recruiting partner will avoid the classic mistakes we have all seen shared online.

Invest in a good camera and microphone and use them.

The connection between human beings is key in the interview process. Make sure you know exactly where the camera aperture is and look into it. It is most off-putting when you are staring down at a screen instead of into a camera, which is the same for all parties concerned.

Being good on video is a skill, and luckily one you can develop- practise does make perfect.

Every social platform allows you to upload videos. LinkedIn will allow you to upload a video straight from your phone, provided it is less than ten minutes in length.

As a hiring manager, share videos about your team, firm and culture and the good work you are doing; you will be surprised how confident you can become.

As a candidate, It is easy to profile yourself ahead of an interview by uploading a video that profiles what you have to offer an employer. The latest platform to embrace this phenomenon is Tik Tok, with younger job seekers posting their ‘Careertok’ C.V.s.

Being proficient in communicating with video isn’t only for candidates; it’s critical for your brand, too; let me explain.

 

Is Your Employer Brand Compatible With Virtual Hiring?

In an environment where much of the recruitment journey is now happening online, employer brands are more valuable than ever. Legal firms will need to ensure they have a presence on the right industry forums, social media channels, and other platforms to attract the right candidates.

It doesn’t stop there.

More than ever, in a skill short market, legal candidates choose the companies they want to work with. Fact: Your culture and flexibility could now be the deciding factor.

Earlier, we talked about communicating well with video. The question now is how can you share your culture throughout the virtual hiring process?

Having freely available culture videos on your website, as themuse shares here, demonstrate your inclusivity and work environment.

Another idea is to provide a virtual experience during, before or after the virtual interview.

What about a Zoom coffee catch up with different departments or an office walkthrough?

Technology really does make anything possible.

 

What’s Next?

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 both our legal clients and jobseekers.

Contact the Clayton Legal team today if you would like support to develop your legal recruitment strategy or 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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The War for Talent: Tips on How to Succeed in a Candidate Drought

  • June 25, 2021

The job market in 2020 was undeniably challenging with across-the-board hiring freezes, redundancies, and re-structures that hit many professional sectors; Legal being no exception. And, whilst much has been documented about the inferred bounce-back this year (ourselves included with our Regional Analysis of Private Practice Vacancies back in April), the still-present backdrop of the global pandemic, and ongoing economic support measures such as the Job Retention Scheme masking the true impact of COVID on the sector, it’s clear that it’s not plain sailing just yet for those in the hiring seat.

The legal market in hiring terms is certainly buoyant as we near the second half of 2021 following a real step-change in vacancies advertised from February when volumes far surpassed the hiring activity of 2019. Yet, the wide range of choice for Candidates – real golden opportunities across all practice areas – is coupled with market uncertainty and jobseekers that are cautious about a move in the current climate. Whilst this competitive landscape certainly creates strategic organisational challenges, there are steps that Firms can take to ensure they tap into active and passive talent pools and focus firmly on their retention strategies to ensure their existing talent is not being lost to competitors.

Don’t discount the cost of employee retention

While there is certainly a renewed appetite for hiring and recruitment of new talent across the sector, it goes without saying that Firms should keep a keen eye on staff retention and attrition particularly those operating in practice areas or regions that have a short supply of qualified professionals. We highlighted only last year how firms can retain their talent during a skills shortage, and whilst generally speaking we’re not seeing illimitable job-hopping (at the moment at least), the commercial cost of losing A-grade employees can be significant as well as impacting team productivity, and the loss of knowledge and skill from the business. To rely solely on recruitment would be unwise; instead, concomitantly focusing on employee engagement, remuneration and rewards, clear progression, and staff development as part of a wider retention strategy is essential in the current climate.

Be aware that your reputation (and brand) will precede you

A strong employer brand undoubtedly aids recruitment strategies to attract top-tier candidates, especially in competitive markets where a candidate may have multiple opportunities, and offers, on the table. Jobseekers will always be mindful of your brand, market position and reputation as well as prestige amongst their professional networks.

Employees, perhaps more so in the last decade, are engaged by laser-sharp Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes that give the organisation (and their work) purpose, a sense of worth and impact on the wider society – so it’s imperative that jobs advertised go above and beyond the basic role profile. Successful hiring campaigns should focus on what the candidate can expect as an employee of that business – there should be an element of ‘selling’ the benefits, the culture, and the development opportunities available.

Savvy jobseekers will no doubt do their research and lift the bonnet on the inner workings of your Firm – so ensuring your employer brand is reflected well across review sites (Glassdoor, Google Reviews) and across your own social channels will help to bring advocates within your existing workforce to the fore, and really add to the credibility and authenticity of your brand. Directing jobseekers to internal success stories and case studies on your site, or a vibrant ‘Work for Us’ section will really help to bring the role to life and give creative insight that allows candidates to visualise themselves working for you and being part of the fabric of your business.

Don’t discount re-train contracts

We often speak to candidates who are considering a move to another branch of law. And, whether that catalyst is redundancy, a change in personal circumstances or because of a prolonged career break – we do advise that it is indeed possible – although not always easy or straightforward.

It is often par for the course that Partners and Hiring Managers will primarily look to attract candidates with proven track records, specific sector-experience, and demonstrable evidence of suitability for the role – but offering re-train opportunities if you are able could really open the door to candidates that are a great fit culturally, and willing to upskill.

At a recent panel event organized by Legal Cheek and The University of Law (ULaw), attendees heard from Lawyers who had made the leap into the sector from other industries altogether, illustrating that certain skills and strengths are transferrable especially across professional services.

The onus may not necessarily be on the end Hirer to provide or run the retraining course – organisations such as CLT (Central Law Training) offer conversion courses and certification for practitioners wishing to change specialisms so as hirers, being receptive to candidate profiles that indicate more recent training, or discernible industry knowledge could pay dividends.

Casting the net wider…consider home/remote/hybrid options

The pandemic has certainly brought about a lot of change for the legal sector, not least the urgent acceleration in technical solutions to support homeworking en masse. And, after arguably a shaky start, the sector has on the whole embraced the advancement of systems development to support everything from case load management to internal communications channels to drive business forward across a fragmented workforce.

We are still, even over 15 months on from the first national lockdown, inundated with headlines focused on what the perceived ‘end’ to the pandemic will look like, especially on how (and where) we work. Hybrid working certainly seems to dominate and seen by many as the most likely future state across many professional sectors. In a recent survey we conducted within our networks, nearly 70% stated a preference for hybrid once restrictions are lifted, although only three quarters of these respondents predict that this will actually be the case. Interestingly 8% of respondents envisage working exclusively from home. We are already seeing a marked increase in home- and hybrid-contracts being offered, especially for Firms who are looking potentially outside of their locality or where options may have already been exhausted. Whilst this solution may not work for every business and does come with much-documented challenges on a longer-term basis, it does mean that traditional recruitment based on commutability is cast aside and can really open up opportunities to a much bigger pool of legal professionals.

Whilst reporting around ways of working rumble on, including a leak from Whitehall on a new Government flexible working taskforce that is considering legislation to make homeworking a default option, business lobby groups have argued that it is ultimately down to the firms themselves to decide where that work is done. Whatever the outcome, the work-from-home guidance is likely to end next month, and businesses will be left with three choices – ‘home, hybrid, or hub’ – a mantra coined by Lloyds Banking Group who have shared their model and how they believe it will allow their people to work more effectively. Whilst there are some business owners that ultimately may wish to return to ‘normal’, casting the net wider by reviewing the feasibility of home- and hybrid- contracts may be a wise commercial move – especially as, put simply, it is what many employees want.

Make them an offer that’s hard to refuse

We see time and time again the recruitment process fall down at the final hurdle – when the interviews have taken place, the Candidate ticks all of the boxes in relation to the role, and the offer is put together…. only it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Taking time to consider an offer that is compelling is vital, although equally it’s important that the individual in question is not left waiting unduly; particularly if there are other Firms, (your competitors) in the side lines also vying for attention.

The Financial Reporter recently recounted research conducted by analytics company, Visier where over half of financial employees in the UK are reported to be actively looking for a new role in the next 6 months. And, akin to the sector research we conduct each year in our Salary Survey, the reasons for moving are mirrored to those we see amongst legal professionals – namely a role that addresses work/life balance, progression and career development opportunities, training and upskilling programs, and fair remuneration. It is also good practice to review salaries and wider benefits packages across your own competitors for benchmarking purposes. After all, what may seem like a compelling offer may turn out to be a damp squib if some due diligence on market rates isn’t conducted at regular intervals.

Only this week, HR Professionals from Forbes Human Resources Council defined what makes a successful job offer including the following pointers:

  1. Start conversations around salary early so no one is left guessing.
  2. Be transparent about things like bonuses, benefits, and compensation.
  3. Build a relationship throughout the hiring process – building trust and having open and honest conversations from the get-go.
  4. Don’t compete solely on ‘the package’ – a holistic employee experience that is instilled in the culture is more of a focus than ever. Highlight this wherever possible.
  5. Do be open to special requests – understanding what is important to candidates and listening to the ‘whys’ is good practice and may offer competitive edge if taken on board.

For more detailed advice on how to make an irresistible offer, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide – read HERE.

Don’t panic hire

Hiring during a skills shortage can sometimes instigate rushed or knee-jerk reactions particularly when recruitment projects have been running on longer than anticipated, and especially when the unfilled role is impacting the bottom line. Once hiring budgets have been approved and the job specifications are written and published, there is often, in our experience, an element of urgency to move through the process – yet moving too quickly and not taking due care and attention with a thorough review of candidate profiles can be costly in the long term.

In a survey from People Management, some 39% of hiring managers realized that they had made the wrong decision within two weeks of the new recruit starting. What they may not be aware of however is that in most cases* the true cost to the business of this decision is roughly 3.5 times their annual salary – which in the current climate will be difficult to absorb.

Working with recruitment specialists will allow Firms to enhance their search capabilities to get the right ‘fit’ first time, every time. With the rapid acceleration of video platforms and tech to support the likes of virtual onboarding, candidate screening, assessments and shortlisting can be further enriched and really add value to what can be a complex and difficult process. Being resolute around what type of individual or individuals are right for your business is still imperative and moving away from this or making compromises to get the role filled quicker may come back to bite you.

(Earlier this year we launched our True Cost of Hiring Calculator where you can quickly review and analyse the commercial cost of your recent hires, leavers, and financial impact of getting it wrong. It is well worth a look to inform and mitigate any further risks in your recruitment process).

Don’t go it alone – enlist the help of experts

Utilising a sector-specialist recruitment agency will undoubtedly give you a head start with your hiring campaigns – furnishing you not only with market insight and that helicopter view of the hiring landscape, but the inside track on movement and access to talent pools of active and passive legal professionals.

At Clayton Legal, our consultants can offer practical, honest advice on the fillability of roles, salary benchmarking and insight into requirements and drivers of jobseekers in the current climate.

Experienced, qualified legal professionals are often time-short and as such are increasingly approaching agencies to represent them in the market rather than go-it-alone. Skilled in ‘selling’ your Firm and elevating your roles through strategic marketing – it makes absolute commercial sense to bring in the experts when the hiring landscape remains complex, and the candidate, at least for now, is King.

It is certainly clear from conversations that we have daily with Law Firms across the country that many are actively rethinking their talent strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle – to attract, engage and retain skilled professionals in a highly competitive job market.

If you are actively searching for legal talent, we’d love to speak to you. Click here to speak to one of our experienced Legal specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can enhance your hiring strategy.

What’s Next?

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 both our legal clients and jobseekers.

Contact the Clayton Legal team today if you would like support to develop your legal recruitment strategy or 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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How your value proposition can attract standout legal professionals to your law firm

  • February 2, 2021

The job market in 2020 was undeniably challenging and unpredictable with record redundancies of 14.2 per thousand recorded only last November. And, whilst there is much uncertainty as we look ahead – particularly amongst those industries hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Legal sector, particularly in the second half of last year, appears to be gaining momentum once again with proactive hiring in practice areas that require additional support due to demand or are victim to talent shortages more generally based on niche roles or specialisms.

Conveyancing, Private Client and Family in particular, are practice areas where we are witnessing demand outweigh supply – perhaps in part due to low inertia from those candidates and a genuine nervousness around change at a time when change itself has been the only constant.

Nevertheless, Law Firms that are beginning to future gaze and take actions today that will impact business and the bottom line in the next few months have two clear strategies to implement and/or refine – particularly in those sectors that have live jobs but are simply not getting the interest from talent in the market: retention and recruitment.

Retention and a Renewed Focus on the EVP

Robust staff retention and attrition strategies for Law Firms are imperative in competitive sectors, particularly those that have a short supply of qualified professionals within the region or in that practice area. We highlighted last year how firms can retain their talent during a skills shortage, and businesses that invest in developing their ‘Employee Value Proposition’ (EVP) will certainly benefit from employee engagement, advocacy for the firm and brand, and turn the heads of additional talent that they’re looking to hire.

But what is EVP? And why is it worth investing in developing this within your Law Firm?

Pioneer of employer branding research globally, Brett Minchington defines EVP as “a set of associations and offerings provided by an organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the organization.” In simple terms, a unique set of benefits that a legal professional receives in return for the skilled work that they do. However, a focus on ‘perks and pay’ just won’t cut the mustard any longer with a savvy workforce that simply demands more from their employer.

As standard, this may include a distinct focus in the following areas:

Remuneration & Rewards

At a basic level this would include the main hygiene factors of a fair pay packet as well as a considered bonus structure and any other performance-related or behaviour driven reward schemes.

Workload

Aside from job descriptions and the day-to-day expectations of the role profile, looking more generally at the variety of work on offer, levels of autonomy and whether the work gives the employee a sense of pride and purpose. Employees benefit hugely from knowing that the work they do has a positive impact on the rest of the business – so communications channels that focus on this transparency are hugely beneficial.

Career Progression

At the heart of any retention strategy should be a focus on endorsing ‘moving up’ to mitigate moving on. And, whilst progressing ‘up’ a corporate ladder may not be for every legal professional, a strong EVP would have clear routes of progression to cover all bases – lateral moves, cross-departmental exposure, and internal mobility as well as personal development matched to individuals own goals and aspirations.

Internal Culture

The culture of any business is always inherently hard to articulate, yet it is often a driver and motivation for moving on if it is not defined or indeed experienced by the workforce. Employees will consider the Firm’s values – whether they are not only communicated but ‘lived’ by their colleagues. The beliefs and behaviour of employees and management and how they interact internally and externally with clients and stakeholders will also impact the type of cultural framework the business has. Mobilising these factors to actively monitor and manage culture over time is key.

Employer Brand

A strong employer brand undoubtedly aids recruitment strategies to attract top-tier candidates – and it is instrumental as part of the wider EVP. Employees will be always mindful of market position and reputation, as well as prestige amongst their professional networks. Employees, perhaps more so in the last decade, are engaged by laser-sharp Corporate and Social Responsibility programmes that give the organisation (and their work) purpose, a sense of worth and impact on the wider society.

Whilst the above is by no means exhaustive, Law Firms who have a clear value proposition that is informed by, and experienced by their employees will undoubtedly have competitive advantage – mitigating flight risk internally and creating standout in the market.

Employer Branding, EVP, and Recruitment

It goes without saying that if a Legal Practice has an established and valued EVP that is unique and compelling, it is also a key driver of talent attraction. It provides a consistent platform to communicate the benefits of working at the firm that goes far beyond a job advertisement.

In a report from 2019 Deloitte looked specifically at what employees want and there is much written about distilling employment packages in a way that attract individuals to an organisation, with the intention of keeping that expertise engaged and preserved. Perhaps in a post-COVID world such factors will evolve once more to address the seismic changes we have seen in how legal professionals work, and how things like culture and internal brand can be measured and driven when remote working has replaced Boardroom meetings, and firms rise to the challenge of engagement through previously under-utilised digital channels.

It is certainly clear from conversations that we have daily with Law Firms across the country that many are actively rethinking their talent strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle – to attract, engage and retain skilled professionals in a competitive, if a little turbulent, job market.

If you are actively searching for legal talent, we’d love to speak to you about your employer proposition that we can really sell to our pool of active candidates. Contact us or call the office 01772 259121 to speak to one of our experienced legal consultants for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can enhance your hiring strategy.

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.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all here.

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Important Factors To Consider That Affect Your Legal Talent Planning in 2021

  • December 9, 2020

Talent planning in 2021 – how can law firms ensure they are attracting and retaining the best talent in a job landscape that has been altered significantly by the pandemic?

In recent years, the U.K. legal profession has changed to meet client demands in terms of staffing, regulatory changes, the services that they offer – all in an increasingly skills-short market.

Skills shortages have become the norm in many areas of law, with mid-level professionals the most sought-after demographic; digitally skilled employees are also in high-demand, particularly since the pandemic.

Rapid growth in certain areas of law this year, namely Property Law, Conveyancing and Family Law, has only added to the challenge of finding exceptional candidates who say ‘yes’ to your job offers.

Today, we look at what factors are going to affect talent planning in the legal sector in 2021, and what your law firm must do to react.

Planning Your Talent Pipeline to Avoid Potential Risk Factors

Starting the new year by focusing on filling your talent pipeline is a must for any law firm looking to make a success of 2021.

Identifying potential future roles for your changing law firm is a must. Think about how your organisation is likely to change, or areas you want to expand into.

There may not appear to be any signs of your current team leaving, but when you assume that no-one is planning to leave, this puts you in a risky position.

If your top family law solicitor handed in their resignation tomorrow, would you have anyone lined up to take their place?

With such a strain on many areas of law currently like family, property and conveyancing, the team’s workload would become unmanageable if a position lay vacant.

Working on your talent pipeline involves a focus on your employer brand; your online presence. Are you promoting your brand online as a great employer? Is your website mobile friendly? Do you regularly engage with legal professionals across your socials?

Building your talent pipeline takes work, and it’s easier when you work with a legal recruiter who will guide you through all the various stages involved.

Don’t let the potential risk of an unexpected vacancy get in the way of your success this year – start planning your talent pipeline now.

Finally, let’s look at how 2021 budgets could affect your legal talent planning.

Getting the Most Out of Your Budget

Legal business leaders understand just how essential budgets are going to be in 2021.

You will only have a set amount towards recruitment, and in our post-pandemic world, budgets are getting tighter everywhere.

One way businesses try to save money is by slashing budgets, but what smart law firms do is make sure that they are getting the most out of the funding they do have.

This means working with a recruiter who guarantees your investment and offers money-back guarantees to ensure peace of mind, like Clayton Legal.

When you are working with a tight recruitment budget, getting the best ROI is vital.

The cost of a bad hire can run deeply into your business. From interruptions to workflow, wasted time and training costs, and the cost to re-hire – wherever you are spending your recruitment budget in 2021, it needs to be with a recruiter who will guarantee your investment.

Talent Attraction – What do Candidates Want in 2021?

Knowing what you want from your legal candidates and finding them are two very different things. Our recruitment services are often called in when employers are struggling to find candidates with the right skills, attributes and attitude – the right mix can be hard to find, especially in a world where legal job roles and priorities are changing.

From the candidates we speak to, we have identified three areas to focus on which will help you attract and retain top legal talent.

Training and development – The pandemic might have got in the way of learning and developing in your law firm this year. Still, the most valuable candidates are looking for companies where they will be continually developed.

Digital focus – Alongside legal and personal development training, legal employers who are keeping ahead of the digital curve will also attract the best talent. Law firms that struggle to offer comprehensive digital tools and training in a world where remote working is on the rise could fall behind.

Flexible arrangements – Since the pandemic, employees are more aware of the benefits of a hybrid working culture. Employers who can offer the choice to work from the office, from home or a mix of the two will attract a broader range of candidates.

In an ever-increasing skills-short market, failing to offer what candidates are really looking for could affect your recruiting process.

Getting your recruitment offer right is just one factor involved in talent planning.

Talk to Clayton Legal today about how we always guarantee your investment, and how our expert recruitment process will add value to your law firm.

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.

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5 mindset changes for Partners and Legal Managers in a Covid workplace

  • November 10, 2020

As legal firms navigate the ongoing Covid-19 situation, tackling novel challenges with a new mindset is a must.

Partners need to take a step back and look at how their teams have changed.

The pandemic has changed significant parts of our lives, and such a shift requires a change in mindset too. Today, we look at five ways to ensure to your mindset has changed to manage the new normal.

1. Prioritise People

Fear has been a big part of our daily lives this year, but as we continue to battle the virus, a mindset shift towards gratitude and putting your people first will enhance the whole team.

Many legal firms have been in precarious positions in the last few months, but legal leaders now are aware of how resilient their teams are, after coming through this challenging period.

As the Covid situation continues to change and new restrictions are imposed and lifted across the U.K., make sure that your team are your number one priority. Excellent management includes making sure your team are clear on the direction that your firm is moving and that they have everything they need to flex and work from home and that they feel supported by you in their roles.

2. Encouraging Innovation

The U.K. legal sector is rooted in historical regulations and practices, but this year has been the year where everything was turned upside down.

Being open to new practices and encouraging innovation in your legal team is an excellent way to enjoy continued success in the post-Covid era.

Some firms saw remote working as an unfortunate but necessary step in controlling the virus. Still, it is now time for legal leaders to accept that their teams and operations have been changed forever by the virus. What more can you be doing to encourage innovation and new ways of working in your post-Covid practice?

  • Do you need to provide more digital training?
  • Invest in new software to aid remote collaboration?
  • Refine your sales process to use video conferencing?

3. Setting New Expectations

Until the start of the year, most legal firms will have had in place familiar role expectations and progression opportunities – now is the time to revisit these.

Between increased remote working, teams that may have expanded or been made smaller, and increased business in certain specialisms, there is a lot to think about in terms of your post-Covid team and their roles.

It’s a good idea to have one-to-ones with individual team members (on Zoom if necessary) to go through with them if their roles or expectations have changed. Team members might have taken on extra work without a formal discussion about it and will be wondering what the future of their role looks like.

Additionally, keep your legal team in the loop at all times about changes to the business – if you plan on expanding in certain specialisms and your broader plans for the business.

4. Being Cautious, but Not Paranoid

The pandemic has caused many of us to be on high alert for potential dangers – to our jobs, our health and our families.

But now your legal team need you to be a strong manager and lead with caution instead of paranoia.

Focus on the positives and look at how far you’ve come through the pandemic – making it through to this point even if you have faced significant challenges is a ‘positive’ to remember.

Even with further restrictions, there are ways for your team to keep delivering your excellent legal services and to stay safe, but cautious.

Make sure your team know that their health is your number one priority – provide flexible working options and ask your team for suggestions as to anything else you can do to help them feel safe.

Despite the virus, many legal teams are thriving, albeit in a strange and new environment. Embrace the change and look forward to the new opportunities that the post-Covid world will bring. Growth figures for the legal sector are still down on last year due to the lockdown months, but they are recovering with four out of five firms confident about the year ahead, according to a recent sector survey.

5. Adopting a ‘Growth’ Mindset

What kind of mindset you have will determine your success; most people (and teams) have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

If you want to read more on the subject look at Dr Carol Dwecks extensive research on the subject.

Moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is one way to lead your team to success in our post-Covid world.

Let me explain the differences –

  • A fixed mindset is: believing things ‘are the way they are’ and feeling unable to change, and this type of person does not like being challenged on their beliefs
  • A growth mindset is: believing that change is possible, wanting to learn and seeing mistakes as positive and an opportunity to grow

Adopting a growth mindset has never been more important, as the coming months look set to be filled with continual challenges for your legal team as we adapt to the ‘new normal’.

On a Final Note

Do you need new legal talent for the challenges that lie ahead? Do you need employees with the skills to propel your firm forwards in our post-Covid world? Are you planning on expanding in certain specialisms?

We can help.

Get in touch with us today by calling us on 01772 259 121 or emailing us here to find out how we can help you recruit your new generation of post-Covid legal talent.

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 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.

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

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