Excerpt: Legal recruiting is not a term we come across every day since it caters to a very small subset of the industry. But we cannot ignore recruiters who are either planning to advance their careers in this field or starting anew. This guide will be worthwhile if you are one of them.
Photo by Romain Dancre on Unsplash
Like in any niche business, the major challenge of a legal recruiter is the relatively smaller marketplace to source a candidate from to meet the industry’s ever-growing demand, especially after the disruption caused by the recent pandemic.
Every legal recruitment agency tries its best to attract a prospective candidate and build its image in the market, which requires the ability to devise new and effective hiring practices and strategies.
To sustain the tough competition, recruiters must build a strong plan that defines their hiring needs, challenges, and the ways to mitigate those challenges. This article will help you cover the same. But before that, you must understand what legal recruiting actually means.
What is Legal Recruiting?
Legal recruitment is the process of sourcing the best candidate and placing them for an active position in the law firm depending on the client’s requirements and role’s demand in the marketplace. It is also the art or technique of closing the placement effectively.
Legal recruitment is not entirely a transactional process. Indeed, every process must be followed systematically to yield a better outcome, but legal recruiting requires understanding clients and the market’s dynamics and making plans accordingly.
Some of the responsibilities of a legal recruiter are:
- Understanding the client’s needs to build an ideal candidate persona.
- Analyzing the market’s competition to come up with effective recruiting strategies.
- Writing job descriptions and publishing them on multiple channels to attract active candidates.
- Building a diverse talent pool
- Sourcing passive candidates and contacting them through recruitment cold calling.
- Writing content and brochures for the client’s website.
- Review applications to decide if they are a good or bad fit for the job.
- Liaising with institutions/law schools and providing them with training programs and internships.
- Coordinating interviews with candidates and giving them feedback.
- Doing thorough background and reference checks before onboarding new hires
- Deciding which vendors to use for a recruitment software, etc. On that note, you can check out this Bullhorn Alternative or even these chrome extensions for recruiters.
Why You Must Consider Legal Recruiting?
Legal recruitment is a tough job, but at the same time, it can be personally rewarding. Here are five reasons for considering legal recruiting as a profession:
- Flexibility: Where a career in law can be rigorous, recruiters enjoy flexibility. You can not slack off from the tasks, but you won’t be forced to work 40 hours straight either. You can keep working at your own pace, provided you give the expected results.
- Entrepreneurial Practice: In legal recruiting, performance outweighs the hours you put in the job. The better your performance, the more successful you are in terms of reputation and compensation.
- Compensation: Legal industry is tiny compared to other technical roles. Recruiters’ job is to hire a skilled candidate from this exhausted marketplace, which requires a lot of effort and investment. In return, they are compensated well too.
- Teamwork: Recruiters often work together and split the tasks among members according to their skills. Working in a team can be an excellent experience to learn new things and gain constructive help from others.
- Creating Value: Legal recruiters not only find candidates for the firms but also find firms for people. You get to help both clients and candidates, enhancing your problem-solving and other soft skills.
5 Best Practices to Boost Your Legal Recruiting Efforts
1. Go Beyond the Qualifications
Hiring the best candidate is not just about checking their qualifications; it goes way beyond their resumes. Indeed, finding an ideal candidate can be a little stressful, but it is still better than wasting money and time on bad hires.
Here are a few best practices that can improve your talent acquisition process:
- Compile a qualification checklist: Building a checklist of qualifications and skills based on your client’s expectations is crucial to get a clear idea of what you are looking for. Evaluate each candidate according to this checklist.
- Come prepared with questions: Putting open-ended questions forward can help you better understand the candidate’s thought process. Prepare such questions in advance to avoid chaos during evaluation.
- Assess their level of preparation: The best candidates always come prepared for the interview. They go through the company’s websites and gather as much information as possible. Those who already know your company’s work process, values, and objectives make future employees better.
- Consider cultural compatibility: Prioritizing the candidates’ compatibility with the company’s culture is essential. You must ensure that the candidates understand the company’s values and can adapt accordingly.
- Apply the 80/20 Rule: This rule states that you must let the candidate speak 80% of the time during the interview while you take only 20% of the overall time. It will help you gain better insight into the candidates’ behavior and opinions, helping you make better hiring decisions.
2. Improve Your Talent Pool
Recruitment is not restricted to active candidates. Most of the best talents out there are already working somewhere. To attract these candidates, you need to approach them passively.
Here are three ways to develop your talent pool:
- Liaise with law faculties – As a legal recruiter, you compete with many other agencies to hire a candidate. In such a case, you can not sit back and wait for them to come to you. You must target the potential candidates right from when they are in universities.
- Contact previous interns – Your talent pool involves everyone in your contact list related to previous hiring cycles, interns, etc. These people already have an idea about your company, so they have more chances to consider working with you again, provided they had excellent candidate experience earlier.
- Use niche job boards – Some job boards, groups, online communities, etc., are specially made for a particular niche. You can find some for legal job roles too. Make sure you write a perfect job description to attract these candidates.
3. Give Them Enough Reasons to Work With You
Monetary compensations are crucial to attract and retain candidates, but it is not enough. You must structure a competitive compensation model to keep the candidates loyal to your company.
Here are five pointers to consider:
- Delegate responsibility: Gaining ownership of tasks makes candidates feel involved and appreciated. Delegating career-enriching responsibilities will help them bind into a routine and build trust.
- Evaluate performance objectively: While evaluating candidates’ performance, set aside any personal bias and focus on their skills and contributions to give an objective review. Unlike what most of us believe, candidates appreciate constructive feedback that can help them grow.
- Reward top-performers: Employees love getting appreciated for their performance. It boosts their confidence and productivity. Offering incentives, awards, or bonus bonuses can help retain them longer. Here are some employee reward ideas for you.
- Offer loyalty incentives: Incentives like a good health-care package, accommodation facilities, healthier work-life experience, and insurance can make a big difference in retaining a candidate.
- Promote from within: Hiring is important but encourages your employees to work with you longer by providing career advancement opportunities. It will help build a positive company culture and enhance engagement.
4. Focus on ‘Diversity and Inclusion’
When considering diversity and inclusion, the legal industry seems to fail to catch up with other industries. Studies reveal that, in the US, only 36% of practicing attorneys are women, and 85% are whites.
With such data, there is an urgent need for legal recruiters to focus on this topic more. Here are a few ways to consider:
- Minimize interview biases: Most of the biases happen during the evaluation stage. You must keep in check if any personal biases may influence the hiring decisions. The best way to do so is to involve multiple panels during an interview and utilize technology.
- Keep your questions consistent: While interviewing or pre-assessment tests, make sure you judge the candidates purely based on their skills. Assign each of them the same questions and score them according to their responses. You can also use AI proctored interviewing tools for the same.
- Test each candidate equally: Assign all the candidates a small trial project to work on. It will help you understand the candidates’ skills better instead of forming opinions based on your intuitions.
- Advertise your company culture: While applying for the job post, candidates often look for the company’s details on the internet and go through their social media pages. Showcasing your company’s diversity through your website and social media feeds can attract many candidates.
- Attend diversity job fairs: Networking is crucial for any business. The same goes for legal recruitment. One of the ways to source diverse candidates is to attend many job fairs, events, contests, etc. Through these events, you can meet “underrepresented” candidates and add them to your “watch-list.”
5. Connections are Crucial
Legal recruiters must put extra effort into building professional connections with clients and candidates because of the small legal market.
The goal of networking is not to make direct profits but to build a rapport as a reliable legal recruitment agency.
Seven ways to build strong connections are:
- Make your online presence visible. Connect with professionals on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. It is the best way to start a long-term dialogue.
- Attend events and talk to attendees. Try to discover their interests in your niche and show that you are trustworthy.
- Be an asset. Provide value to your network.
- Pitch yourself and your agency. The better you draft your pitch, the more clients and candidates will look up to you.
- Keep your profile and website updated.
- Reconnect with your previous business contacts.
- Start now. This is the best time to connect with people and showcase your genuine side.
Wrapping It Up
Legal recruitment demands a lot of interactions and binds you in the legal industry altogether. But at the same time, it gives you the freedom to schedule your days and add variety to your tasks.
You can make each day unique and exciting to keep sticking to your job for longer. There will be numerous challenges, but you can mitigate them by following these points:
- Showcase your company’s culture to build a reputation in the market and attract diverse law candidates to build a strong talent pool.
- Promote professional development as much as possible along with offering monetary compensation to candidates.
- Understand your client’s demands, study the market and source the candidates accordingly.
- Offering benefits like flexible working time, paid maternal leaves, paid over working hours, etc., can attract many new candidates.
- Be flexible to adapt according to demands. Train the candidates to make them job-ready if it is challenging to source an ideal one.
The ways to boost your legal recruiting efforts are not limited to the five-pointers mentioned in the article. You must understand your firm’s working model and market dynamics to develop more creative strategies and make the best use of them.