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Don’t wait until you have an offer to decide if this is the right role for you!

A recent experience with a lawyer looking for a new job has led me to ‘put pen to paper’ for this blog. An individual that we had been working with to find a new role had given us some clear and understandable reasons for wishing to look for a new role. The main issue was the current sector that she was in didn’t resonate well with her. Apart from that the brief was fairly straight forward – ‘a similar role to what she currently had with a growing company with opportunity for development’.

A role came up with a fairly new legal team in a growing and extremely successful business with large European plans. The head of legal is down to earth, fun and ‘straight forward’. She is also laden with work and keen to complete the recruitment process as quickly as possible.

After the first interview the individual took a proactive approach and emailed the head of legal how keen she was and some of the reasons why this was the case – something that helped her stand apart from the other interviewees. The second interview was set up but the interviewee couldn’t make that date but through a morning of constant emailing and texting a new date was set up. The ‘urgency’ was that the interviewee was going on holiday for just over 2 weeks and so as not to miss out the client moved internal diaries with the FD and HR Director to accommodate the lawyer.

All was going well. Basic feedback via text was positive. Ordinarily I would always speak to someone after an interview but given time issues this was the best we could do given she had to go back to work.

The client called and was keen to make an offer but before doing so asked me to ‘sound out’ the lawyer to make sure that the offer she put together would be acceptable. She didn’t want to go back and forward on a negotiation – again she didn’t have time for this and quite frankly there was no need for it. As long as both sides were sensible the right deal would be reached.

That evening I spoke to the lawyer keen to hear her thoughts about joining this new company and how she felt about receiving an offer. Here is where the actions of the individual in my opinion and experience through assisting hundreds of people went wrong.

She thanked me for the feedback, was pleased to be in the position she was but that she would NOW need to think on things as this was a big decision!

I understand that primarily due to her situation (holiday) the recruitment process was fairly quick however there are a few simple lessons to learn from the above.

1. Know and understand the reasons you are looking to make a move so that when one comes up that you are interested in you don’t need to start your thinking post interview process!
2. It is a competitive process and if you don’t grab an opportunity first then someone else will!
3. To the client this candidate showed that she was indecisive.
4. Her lack of response and commitment to coming back with her ‘thoughts’ in less than 48 hours was in stark contrast to the client moving senior stakeholders diaries around to accommodate the lawyer before her holiday. Something that did not resonate well with her.

Why I am so confused by this situation is that I truly believe that this is exactly the kind of opportunity that this lawyer was looking for and I don’t understand her reasons for procrastinating post the final interview. If she had more questions, a call could have been set up with the head of legal – as she had already shown herself to be extremely accommodating.

It also has a knock on effect to assisting her going forward. By the end of 2 interviews/ meetings in what was a very open/ 2 way recruitment process she should have asked the questions she needed to as well as had a gut feel at the very least if this was the job opportunity for her- 99% of others do. With so many people involved in a recruitment process it is very unhelpful to have a candidate ‘start their thinking process’ once the client is ready to offer them.

Thankfully the above scenario happens very infrequently – probably all the more reason I despair when it does! Who knows if the lawyer will end up regretting her actions.

For more information please contact Mark Levine or visit our website BCL Legal

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