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You have been through the recruitment process, interviewed candidates, checked their technical competency and made sure they have the personal characteristic that will fit in well with your team. Surely the hard part is finished; they will join and be massively successful.
The team at BCL Legal in Birmingham has grown by 3 fold over the last 12 months to a point where we have 10 consultants covering permanent vacancies in private practice law firms across the East, West and South Midlands. This is in addition to 3 further consultants covering in-house positions across the same geography. As a manager in the private practice team I therefore speak from some experience when I say that the hard part does not necessarily finish with the end of the recruitment process.
So how have we gone about integrating people into the Midlands largest and most successful legal recruitment team? More consultants means that each is more specialist and more expert in their activity ensuring the best quality service to both clients and candidates. How do we ensure that this is not compromised? Are there lessons that we can share with our clients?
Just as personality fit and attitude are undoubtedly the most important characteristics to focus on when recruiting; ensuring that new recruits quickly understand the working ethos, culture and non-negotiable elements of the team they have joined is massively important. Many people come into new roles with expectations based on their previous experiences, it is human nature. Many are naturally distrustful of some of the things they are told at interview; they have heard it all before. Sitting down right at the start and repeating key messages, further enforcing them over the following few days and highlighting where they can be demonstrated in other people’s activity really helps to avoid confusion.
Technically speaking it is essential to work closely with new recruits over the initial stages of their employment. This helps to ensure that IT systems are being used correctly but also gives a good indication of what technical knowledge people really have and where further training will be required. More experienced people can often feel defensive about having their work checked and critiqued. This is where communication is essential. A few minutes to explain why things are happening can often help to alleviate this.
It is also important to remember that new starters often go through a cycle with new jobs. The initial period when they are being trained and getting used to the new environment often seems fantastic. Everything is new, they are often getting the majority of their managers’ attention and all their new team members are being very pleasant. As time goes on it is natural that they will come under more pressure, receive less attention from the manager and start to form more realistic relationships with their colleagues. This can often cause a slight down turn in moral as the person adjusts. Of course most people push through this and go on to be very happy in their new role. Being aware of what is happening is important for managers so they can support properly.
All employees are different! Perhaps an obvious statement but this needs to be reflected in the way that people are managed. Everyone is coming to work for differing reasons, has differing motivations and is seeking to achieve different things. You often only really get a full understanding of someone’s motivations once they become comfortable in their new position. It takes a level of trust for someone to talk about their motivators. Recognising individual motivators helps to ensure that you manage individuals in the right way and create a win/ win scenario.
So far the process of building our team at BCL Legal has been an overwhelmingly positive one. We have had the occasional bump in the road as we have learned the lessons above but we now have a motivated and hard working team who are massively outperforming the other legal recruiters in Birmingham.
The process certainly doesn’t stop with the end of recruitment process – which is why the recruitment process is so vital.