As a hiring manager, sifting through reams of candidate resumes and conducting countless interviews can seem like a full-time job when you’ve already got a full plate. Finding enough talented candidates with the skills and experience necessary – ones that will stick around for a while – is not only very time consuming, but can be like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack and take the hiring manager away from other important aspects of his job. There is also a hidden cost for every attorney hire that goes unfilled, such as higher outside counsel fees or risks that are being taken by the business because no lawyer is reviewing the deal or the contract. Working with a legal recruiter is one way to lighten the hiring manager’s load so that they can focus on the other aspects of their job description. A legal recruiter will also lower the company’s indirect costs of having an attorney opening go unfilled by helping the company make a hire more quickly, more efficiently, and more effectively. Here are three signs that it might be the right decision for your company.
Positions at your company are taking longer to fill than usual
If your company currently has many unfilled openings or if it is taking longer than usual to fill the openings it has, then it’s likely because candidates need to be actively sourced. Due to time or other limitations, internal recruiters typically post a position on popular job boards and wait for qualified candidates to apply. In a tight labor market like we have now, however, or with a position that requires a niche skillset, this passive approach will not produce the quantity or quality of candidates needed to obtain a good hire. The best candidates rarely apply to an online posting but will be interested in exploring the opportunity if they are actively recruited – headhunted – for it. Knowing who and how to headhunt the best candidates are for a role and how to recruit them is expertise acquired by a professional recruiter with many years of experience, in-depth knowledge of the industry, and a strong network of similar professionals to call for leads. When you’re the hiring contact at a prestigious law firm or multi-national company, image is everything. Recruiters are experts at cultivating relationships with a vast network of industry insiders, allowing them to maintain a candidate pool that’s deep enough to address your ever-changing needs.
While doing much of the “heavy lifting” for you, a seasoned headhunter can expertly handle most aspects of the recruitment process, including time-consuming tasks like looking over submitted resumes, meeting with potential candidates, performing thorough screening interviews, and even conducting follow-up meetings – all while supporting your image within the legal community or corporate world.
You Work in a Field with a Shortage of Talent
According to a recent article at ThomsonReuters.com, the legal industry could be facing a shortage of attorneys over the next few years. Before answering the question “should I use a legal recruiter?” do an honest assessment of whether your current recruitment strategy is paying off in the form of attracting enough qualified candidates versus the competition.
Good recruiters not only know the local market, but they are also highly adept at maintaining a nationwide pool of candidates and recommending those that best match a company’s practice needs, workplace expectations, and culture. Furthermore, an experienced headhunter is proficient at helping candidates polish up their resumes and interviewing skills so that you’re not wasting your valuable time as a hiring decision maker.
You Have Very Specific and Hard-to-Find Skill Requirements
Factors that include emerging technologies and the COVID Pandemic are forever reshaping the legal landscape while driving the demand for new practice specialties. As an employer, finding qualified candidates to fill those newly created positions can be frustrating.
Staying apprised of market forces allows legal recruiters to anticipate change and better represent the interests of their clients. The average legal headhunter spends their days and nights learning about the careers and opportunities available within the industry. That insight then gives them the ability to proactively forward candidate profiles to employers even before the jobs are officially announced.
Additional Considerations When Working with a Recruiter
If you’re still unsure about working with a legal recruiter as an employer or candidate, these questions should provide you with the answers you need:
Do recruiters actually help?
Yes. Not only does a good legal recruiter significantly increase the quality of the candidate pool, make the process more efficient and effective, and result in a better long-term hire, they also provide a plethora of data on the current hiring market for your specific role. Which each candidate submitted, the recruiter will be able to tell you the candidate’s compensation expectations (and, in most states, such as Texas, they can also provide you details of the candidate’s current compensation package.)
Why shouldn’t you use a recruiter?
Recruiters expend a great deal of time, energy, and resources to develop a call list, reach out to candidates and leads and follow up with them (typically multiple times), review resumes, telephone screen candidates to assess fit, and then do a more in-depth, in person interview with the candidates who are submitted for a role, schedule client interviews, provide feedback post-interview, and work with both the candidate and the client throughout the offer/acceptance process. Often times, they have to take these same steps again and again, if it’s a particularly difficult position to fill. Although most if not all of the recruiter’s fee is typically contingent and not due unless a successful hire is made, their fees reflect the extraordinary amount of resources expended by a recruiting firm on a typical placement. If that figure is too high, you might be better served by not using a professional recruiter. Although most recruiters are decent, hard-working people, there are a few “bad apples” that you must avoid. Before deciding, research the recruiter’s firm carefully and seek referrals from trusted sources.
Is it OK to check in with a recruiter?
Absolutely. Top-tier recruiters make themselves available around-the-clock and provide you with various contact options.
Do some recruiters have a say in hiring?
In situations where a recruiter has worked with a client for a while, it’s common for the client to ask for the recruiter’s input when choosing between two or more equally qualified candidates. That’s because good recruiters get to know their talent pool quite well during the recruiting/screening/interviewing process and will gain some insights that are not easily gleaned from the typical 30 minute initial screening interview that the hiring employer will do.
Can I trust a recruiter?
Anyone who has risen to the top of the legal recruiting industry is probably good at what they do. There is a great deal of competition in the recruiting industry, and only repeat clients will allow a search firm to stay in business for the long-haul. Repeat clients mean a previous hire made through a recruiter was a successful one, so look for a search firm with many long-term clients. To determine if you can trust a given recruiter, read client testimonials on their website, along with online reviews from reputable sources. A good headhunter will also value your privacy and go out of their way to keep the job search confidential.
How do you politely decline a recruiter?
Even the most successful recruiters have heard “no” before, so if you’re not interested in their services, just be honest and respectful. As a candidate, allowing a recruiter to keep your information on file could lead to that dream job when least expected – one that may not be advertised on an industry-related website or online job board.
Should I tell my recruiter everything?
Both the employer and the candidate have a vested interest in making sure the hire is a good long-term one – that it’s a good match. You should therefore tell the recruiter anything that the employer would need to know in order to honestly assess your candidacy. The truth will eventually come out, so just be forthright. For example, if you avoid telling your recruiter that you can’t leave your present job for another 9 months due to a significant vesting event or bonus, and only reveal this information at the offer stage, the employer will likely say “can’t wait that long” and think less of you for not revealing this earlier in the process. You have wasted your own time and theirs by not revealing this on the front end.
The same is true when an employer has unfavorable information about an opening. For example, if the person the role reports to is someone who is “difficult”, then the recruiter needs to be upfront with candidates about this and look for someone with a thick skin and who has a history of working with difficult personalities, and if a candidate hasn’t been forthright, either trust will be eroded, making the match not a good one for the long-term. Whichever side of the table you’re on, the best approach is to be forthright with material information and to answer your recruiter’s questions as clearly and concisely as possible so they can better represent your interests and objectives.
How do you politely chase a recruiter?
Most recruiters prefer to be contacted via email rather than by phone. A reminder email is also an ideal way to ask your recruiter if there’s anything you can do to move the process along.
How do I check in with a recruiter if I haven’t heard back?
Again, most recruiters check their emails frequently throughout the day. Conversely, if they are tied up in meetings or interviews during normal business hours your call will more than likely roll over to voicemail – along with countless others.
Why do recruiters call rather than email?
When they are working on your behalf, an old-fashioned phone call adds a personal touch that could be a real difference-maker in the end. Any experienced recruiter who’s contacting someone for the first time realizes that an initial email may simply land in the recipient’s junk inbox and get deleted without being read.
Are you more likely to get a job with a recruiter?
Once you find a reputable recruiter who understands the local hiring market, your odds of landing that dream job you’ve always wanted are typically higher versus going it alone. From helping you polish up your resume to perfecting your interview and negotiation skills, a legal headhunter can be an invaluable resource throughout the job search process. They also often know about new jobs before they are officially opened by the employer, allowing you to be one of the first candidates submitted for a role, which is always an advantageous position to be in.
Should I pay a recruiter to find me a job?
This is a non-factor for job seekers because legal recruiters are compensated by the employers who are hiring – the law firms and companies they represent. Reputable legal recruiters have a written placement agreement in place before they start sending candidates to an employer.
Ready for a Change? Momentum Search Partners Can Help
When it’s time to hire an attorney or change jobs as a legal professional, a reputable legal recruiter can be invaluable throughout the entire job search process. At Momentum Search Partners, our team of six legal recruiters has 100+ years of legal recruiting experience in Texas and nationwide. With offices strategically located in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, our fingers are constantly on the pulse of the Texas legal market. When you work in a corporate setting as a manager or executive, the performance of your in-house counsel team can make or break your bottom line. And although your HR manager may be highly adept at filling other positions within your organization, a legal recruiter is solely dedicated to the legal industry. As a result, their recruitment expertise can be invaluable when your company’s future success is on the line. For more information about our recruiting services, contact us today!