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It’s an interesting title, isn’t it? What’s funny though is the answer, but I’ll come to that later. It’s a question that has come up several times in the last year. I came across it within my first month as a legal recruiter specialising in commercial property (as it happens I was single at the time). In a meeting with my manager and a candidate, said manager highlighted the benefits of using a recruitment agency and more specifically BCL Legal: “Just think of us as a glorified dating agency. We will match your qualities and your criteria with the best possible fit in terms of role/firm.” I’m paraphrasing, there was a lot more detailed discussion about presentation, articulation, questioning etc. but this is all part of our process in preparing candidates for interview. So how does this compare to online dating?
In years past there has been something of a stigma surrounding online dating; fear of the unknown perhaps or even fear of rejection, which has been somewhat paralleled in candidates’ reluctance to use a recruitment agency. But, the landscape has changed and it’s a Brave New World (Aldous Huxley would be proud).
If you were to ask any of my close friends you would quickly learn that I am in no way qualified to give relationship advice. However, as a single man in his twenties I had/have no problem in meeting someone in a bar, a club and even once on the tube (Northern Line, between Chalk Farm and Bank) but it has occurred to me recently that the stigmas have been reversed and it would appear that more and more people are more comfortable going online to find the proverbial perfect match. Now I have no problem in admitting that I have used online dating sites/apps, and I have friends who have met their partners in this way, indeed I went to my first Match.com wedding earlier this year. But I did initially have reservations about “going online”, so I did some research. There are a number of options available to the tech-savvy singleton; eHarmony allows you to use anonymous open questioning to identify your matches and get to know them before speaking directly; Match.com uses a personality based psychometric test and what they call “a scientific algorithm” (I have my sceptical face on) to pair you up with potential matches; Tinder allows you to swipe through profiles based entirely on aesthetics and what exactly is a ‘poke’ on Facebook supposed to represent?!
Some will find this all a little bit sad and a reflection on how much has changed in the way we communicate. Apparently, gone are the days of walking up to someone in a bar and striking up intelligent conversation. I appreciate that this is riddled with clichés but there is a point to be made. The world we live in has changed and continues to change rapidly on a daily basis affecting our personal and professional lives alike. There are pros and cons to what some would call conventional dating and of course there are pros and cons to online dating too. So where does recruitment fit in to all of this?
As I said above, the world we live in continues to change rapidly on a daily basis and so too does the legal market. Some traditions and stigmas remain steadfast, others are being thrown out of the window. For example, we’re seeing an influx in top tier firms interviewing and hiring candidates that don’t have a list of A’s and A*’s in their academic record and didn’t go to a redbrick University. There are multiple routes to qualification and again, more and more we’re seeing flexibility from firms in who they will meet and who they will hire. On a daily basis we speak with recruiting partners at firms up and down the country about what they’re looking for and why.
We strive to do our best to stand apart from other agencies in order to provide the best service to our candidates and clients alike. Simply put, BCL Legal will listen to what you want and do our best to identify the best possible match in terms of location, discipline, progression, salary, size of firm and so on.
So, to answer the question, “what’s the difference?”, I dare say not much. We are like a dating agency. We match your needs with our clients’ needs, striving for the perfect match and we will guide you through the process from start to finish. There is no longer a stigma around online dating and there is no need to be reluctant to use an agency to assist you in finding the right role, especially when that agency is BCL Legal.