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So what do you do if you cannot find the “perfect” candidate to fill your vacancy, Part 2

As discussed in Part 1, recruiting is exceptionally difficult in the current market. So how do you go about doing it.

From the outset it is imperative to appreciate that we are now in a very candidate driven market place. No matter how good your team/ firm is, there will need to be compromise. Separate out what you want from what you need.

Does the candidate need to come from a top 50 law firm? Why? It is easy for Partners at top 50 law firms to assume that those that only those that work at other leading firm’s will work in a similar way. If you have never worked for a firm outside of the top 50, how do you know? What about if the candidate’s supervising Partner used to work at a top 50 firm, would that make a difference?

Does it matter if the candidate has worked on £40 million pound plus M & A? Is there a massive difference in the actual technicalities between this size of deal and smaller ones? If the candidate is second career, or worked as a paralegal prior to training then how compelling are their A-Level grades? The amount of effort a candidate put into examinations a decade ago may not be reflective of the person they are now. Good grades at more recent LLB/ LPC examinations may be a far better indicator.

Ultimately we can all agree that personality is key. Desire, ambition, willingness to learn and a real interest in the work are probably the most important factors in any piece of recruitment. How do you assess that? Obviously the only way to be absolutely sure is to meet the candidates.

Sadly this can mean trying to find time to meet 5 or 6 candidates for first interview, rather the usual 1 or 2. Difficult and off putting when you and your team are already flat out. When you consider the alternatives of not doing this, perhaps not so off putting.

If your team are flat out, stressed and de motivated, the chances are there will be opportunities for them to move elsewhere.

If your team are flat out, stressed and de motivated, what impact does that have on client service and quality of work?

Surely against that backdrop it is worth taking time to meet the best of the candidates on offer.

Obviously taking on an employee that needs training can be time consuming and stressful in itself. With the right attitude people can learn very quickly. At BCL we have ourselves thought outside the box in our own recruitment (there aren’t any legal recruitment consultants with 2 years’ experience on the market either!!). We have found that as long as the person has the right attitude we can train them. Yes this is time consuming, but ultimately very rewarding. Certainly the effort and loyalty that we get from people who we have helped bring on makes the whole endeavour worthwhile.

So if you are struggling to recruit the “perfect” candidate and watching in disbelief whilst your competitors fill their roles our advice would be to think about how flexible you can be. Your competitors are thinking outside the box, can you afford not too?

If you want to discuss our experiences or get a general feel of the market with a view to undertaking your own recruitment please do not hesitate to contact me for a confidential chat.

Nick Fear
Senior Associate
0121 237 5612

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