Following a strong 2014, legal recruitment has continued to prosper with the property law sector especially strong, followed by corporate and commercial law. Because of this, legal firms and organisations are locked in fierce competition with each other to secure the very best talent for their growing businesses.
However, in such a candidate-driven market, are law firms doing enough to attract the very best talent this country has to offer? The team at ep professional are often approached by legal clients looking for advice on how to seek out and retain the best candidates, and we wanted to share some of our learnings in this blog.
So, What are Legal Candidates Really Looking For?
As in any sector, the motivations for candidates looking for a new role can be diverse, whether it’s an improved quality of work, opportunity for progression, job satisfaction or something as simple as wanting more money.
Identifying a candidate’s needs is absolutely crucial for employers to attract and keep the very best talent. Unfortunately, a number of firms believe that their name and standing in the market is enough, which often isn’t the case, so finding out what makes these candidates tick is essential to ensure they don’t lose out to their competitors.
Where is it Going Wrong?
We’ve established that competition is fierce when it comes to attracting staff in this sector, but firms shouldn’t use this as an excuse if they keep losing out on top talent. A fundamental flaw with a surprisingly high number of legal professionals is that they are not well versed in the art of networking. As recruitment professionals we harness the power of networking to find the very best candidates across a number of sectors, but not everyone believes in this approach.
One of the core principles of growing a professional law firm is harnessing meaningful relationships with clients and recruiting good staff is no different. While it can be difficult to dedicate time to recruitment, we offer some simple solutions that can help to ensure legal professionals don’t miss out.
LinkedIn is without doubt the most important tool when it comes to recruiting staff. It’s not as simple as your firm having a presence either, you need to make the effort to join and participate in discussions and debates on some of the legal discussion groups. This is a great way to build relationships with potential new recruits and engage in meaningful discussions. Also, not a lot of people know that involvement in such groups allows you to make contact with participants and view their profiles without being connected to them, so it’s well worth doing.
However, do resist the urge to spam discussion groups with sales-focused messages about your firm. You need to add value to the conversation to get the most out of it without tarnishing your reputation. Also, proof-read everything you post; sloppy mistakes can give prospective employees a negative impression of the whole company, not just the individual who made the mistakes.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Ask yourself why a candidate should pick your firm or organisation to work at over all of the others. You might offer a killer package, but if you don’t market yourself as a business that’s going places, you’re likely to lose out. Make sure your website is up to date with the latest company news, staff appointments and new client wins and utilise social media to really shout about these achievements. If you invite a candidate for an interview, you have a golden opportunity to hammer home your USPs. It’s also worth introducing potential candidates to members of the team to show how serious you are about wanting them on-board.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If you find a candidate you believe is the perfect fit for your firm or organisation then you may need to rethink the package on offer; in such a candidate-centric market you cannot always offer a market rate and expect to win them. If budgets are really tight then look at other benefits you can provide. In our experience, flexible working is something more and more candidates are demanding from employers and could be the ideal way to secure that dream candidate.
Smoothly Does It
Do you have an on-boarding process or induction schedule for new starters? If the answer is no, then you need to get something firmed up as soon as possible. It’s not just about what happens when an employee starts work but also at the interview stage. We always follow-up with our candidates after an interview and it constantly surprises us when we receive negative comments about how an interview was conducted. Make sure you have questions prepared and organise the appropriate members of staff to conduct the interview if you’re not able to do it yourself.
Think Long Term
A great way to guarantee the future success of your company is to lookout for those professionals who demonstrate the potential to flourish over the coming years. All too often, employers want to recruit individuals who are ready to progress, but what about those who don’t possess quite as much experience? You have the opportunity to shape their career in its early stages and, as long as you have a solid progression plan in place for them, they are more likely to stay loyal to your business.
With the UK legal market set to continue growing into 2016, there is real opportunity for firms to prosper with the help of the very best talent on offer. Missing out on staff is completely avoidable if you take the simple and necessary steps to find out and offer exactly what they are looking for.
If you’d like advice on recruiting the best legal candidates, or would like to find out more about ep professional and the services we offer our team would love to hear from you.