As the recruitment market becomes increasingly active we have seen the number of live vacancies in the in-house market rise by 30% in 2016 to date. This added to an extremely buoyant private practice market means that there is significant competition for good lawyers. To get the right people for your organisation, a carefully designed recruitment strategy is absolutely essential. The people you employ will represent your company/ legal team and they need to be great at what they do. Here are some tips on what to consider if your organisation is looking to recruit:
1. JOB SPECIFICATION – it is extremely helpful to begin with a thorough job specification. You will need to understand precisely the experience and skills that are required to carry out the principal elements of the role. That way you’ll know what’s needed and where the bar must be set.
2. MARKET THE CURRENT TEAM – Many of the clients I work with will put together either a profile or interview with successful members of the team which gives potential recruits a flavour or what a role might look like in the business. The beauty of working as a lawyer in-house is that literally no two roles are the same. Just as every business is different so is the way that they use their in-house legal resource. If potential candidates can understand a business and team in more detail, then this can bring an opportunity to life and allows individuals to focus on finding a role that really fits, whether that be based on your skills, commercial interest or personality.
3. INTERVIEW PROCESS – Once you’ve identified lawyers on paper that appear to fit the job and success profile, invite them to interview. Consider having a colleague with you for at least some of the interview; that way you can get another point of view and discuss the individual post meeting. To get the best out of interviewees, you need to really engage with them. Go over their CV and make the interview personal to them. Begin with some straightforward questions to put the interviewee at ease, then move onto the more complex areas as the interview becomes more relaxed.
4. ENCOURAGE QUESTIONS – this can really help to move the process on from a formal interview to that of a conversation, again allowing you to get the best out of a candidate. You might need to interview candidates two or three times. Or ask them to undertake a practical task related to the role; or perhaps a presentation. This will give you a great indication as to their capabilities, rather than merely relying upon what you’ve been told and their stock responses to classic interview questions. Employing someone is, after all, an important decision, with the potential costs of poor hires extending far beyond the headline cost of recruitment.
5. ORGANISATIONAL FIT – In bringing people into your professional life, you want to know that you’re doing right by your company and your existing team. The person you’re bringing on board needs to have more than simply the qualifications and experience; they will also need to fit into your organisation’s culture. So the recruitment process must assess the degree to which a potential candidate will, indeed, fit.
6. INDUCTION PROCESS – Think about your strategy for on-boarding new hires. Again it can be useful to have others meeting potential employees in order to assist with this facet of the recruitment process.This person will also be representing your business; are you happy with the public profile they will present? And clearly you will also want to retain the best talent. A cultural fit is also essential in this regard.
A successful business relies upon attracting and retaining the best talent. Set the bar high and ensure that yours does just, with a well thought-out strategy designed to identify and attract the best possible new hires.