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I have been a legal recruitment consultant for about 2.5 years now and having been a solicitor in my past life, I am all too familiar with what it is to be like in the shoes of the job seeker.
I spend five days a week speaking to solicitors from all walks of life, all seeking very different things from their professional lives. Not one story is the same, which makes my work very interesting in so far as trying to match suitable positions to individual aspirations.
I sometimes speak to candidates who often inform me that they are only ‘seeing what is out there’ or that they are ‘not actively looking’ however the fact that these candidates and I are actually speaking, to my mind means they are at the departure gate but just haven’t quite decided if they’re ready to board that flight!
You will in turn find that the fact that you are speaking to a recruiter, albeit speculative from your point of view this does in fact mean that there is something, even if you haven’t quite put your finger on it, that you are not happy with in your current role. This could be anything from pay, to your job title, the work type, change in management structure, change in location, or just time for a change.
Therefore as a candidate, you should not be alarmed when your recruiter is probing you to find out why it is that you and they are talking. Ultimately, as your recruiter we want to make sure we have assessed your situation correctly in order to be discussing relevant roles with you that will fix your ‘problem’.
So when the times comes and we have had a frank conversation about what it is that you’re not 100% happy/satisfied with in your current role and we have had a considered conversation about what roles to put you forward for and you have been invited for you interview, you then decide you do not want to go, please excuse the recruiter on the end of the phone having an aneurism!
Having been a candidate myself looking for legal work and then securing a interview which drives home the point home that you are near to committed to jumping ship, it is only natural that concerns and anxiety starts to creep in. However if you are feeling like this talk to your recruiter, it could be that you are concerned about the job not being right for you, or the firm not being right, or the package not being right. These are all real and valid reasons for taking an about turn from your prospective interview.
However it is worth stopping at this point to actually stop and consider that these questions you have in your mind can all easily be answered at the interview. There you will be speaking to the experts themselves, they will want to make sure all your queries are answered. Not only that but you cannot simply decide a job is not right for you without attending an interview and giving yourself a real chance to find out what it would actually be like to work for this new firm and also giving your prospective employer to impress upon you why you should work with them. Similarly, you may be in a position where you have interviewed with another firm and have been offered the job, again there is no reason why you should not attend the other interview. If anything, it would help concentrate your mind to make sure you are making the right decision and it’s always better to have options than to take the first thing that comes along.
I was recently in this situation with a candidate, who when we first spoke informed me they were missing handling a certain work type which they had been used to handling previously. With that in mind we put this person forward for a position that would give them exactly what they wanted. No surprise the new firm invited them to interview. In a moment of panic of not being convinced that they could do the work or had the right attributes etc. decided to pull out of the interview. It reiterated everything aforementioned that by not going to the interview they would be making a decision on half the facts and it would not be a fully informed decision. Furthermore, they had absolutely nothing to lose but an hour of their time to attend the interview. The candidate agreed with me and changed their mind and went to the interview.
Turns out the interview went really well, the candidate really enjoyed meeting the partners and they allayed all their concerns. Equally the partners were impressed with the candidate and both parties were keen to progress to the next stage.
My candidate was grateful that I didn’t give up on them and provided consultative advice to help them realise that they were potentially about to make a mistake and by reassuring them about why they should go to the interview, gave them confidence to attend the interview.
It is for this reason, I will always advise any legal professional that has been invited for interview, that no matter how on the fence you might be about attending, please always go to the interview. You just never know what an excellent opportunity you might be missing out on by not going and who wants to live a life with regrets!