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An organisation had been carrying out a direct search for a property lawyer for over 7 months. If you have been reading our blogs you will know that out of all the disciplines this is truly the hardest to find. Finally after 6 months the client made an offer to a lawyer but the offer was rejected. As I wasn’t involved at this stage I don’t know the reasons for the rejection, all I do know is that in a candidate short market, clients need to do all they can to secure their chosen candidate. Even post acceptance clients need to make sure they don’t lose their new recruit. See this infographic: http://www.bcllegal.com/the-brief/blog/combat-the-competition
BCL Legal was enlisted to help. Round 1 came to nothing for us as another direct candidate was chosen… But this time she also rejected the offer. Back to the drawing board and another search later a lawyer introduced via BCL Legal was offered the position.
The chosen lawyer was looking for 3 days a week and this was what they were offered. However the offer was a little light and in fact meant the individual would be financially worse off if she accepted the offer. With the recruiting lawyer about to leave the country and having been unable to reach them by phone the seasoned recruiter sent the following email:
“I have spoken to Jane* this morning, she is very enthusiastic about the role with yourselves and joining the team however, having looked at the salary and package on offer she would be worse off if she joined on the terms offered and has asked whether there is any flexibility in relation to the level of the offer (or indeed to a commitment to a review should she meet certain objectives). This is largely due to additional child care costs and commute (she would need to buy a car). In addition, Jane is also conscious that she is due a salary review and she would also need to repay her current employer some money in relation to maternity benefits she has received.
My feel from Jane is that she wants to accept the role but moving and being worse off financially is not ideal.
Please can you let me know your thoughts. If there is no movement on the budget then I will let Jane know and she can make a decision around what she would like to do”.
(*names have been changed to protect the innocent!)
The client had told us that his budget for the role was fixed, however given that the offer was for 3 days a week and not 5 it was conceivable that the pro rated figure could be increased.
The response from the client after 7 months of searching for that elusive priory lawyer and 2 turned down offers was…
“This is a shame. We’ll start a new search when I am back off leave”.
I told the client that in all my years of the team at BCL Legal successfully placing a thousand in-house lawyers this is the first time I had seen a client rescind an offer like this. It is fairly normal practice for individuals to ask the question about salary/ package at offer stage – how they deal with the response tells you if someone really wants the opportunity – for more than just the package.
There are reasonable and unreasonable demands that come out during a recruitment process. In this blog by Tom Fleet he highlights them in more detail, however he signs off with “Everyone has to be realistic. Recruiting clients need to come with the right salary for the role and expect some ‘individual’ requests dependent on the applicants. On the flip side lawyers looking to make a move need to be clear on their own must-haves from the start.
Luckily most of the lawyers and clients that we deal with at BCL Legal are both reasonable and rational. The ones that aren’t most probably won’t listen to us or agree with us and those we find hard to help!”
The client unsurprisingly did not like my suggestion that he was being unreasonable. I have commented many times before that for successful recruitment to happen (especially in a candidate driven market), recruiter and recruiting client need to work in partnership. Unfortunately for all involved with this assignment this is a partnership that isn’t working.