Juliet Lawson
Juliet Lawson
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Communication is key…

It’s an obvious fact that people come in all shapes, sizes and types, and that goes also for lawyers and recruitment consultants. Wouldn’t it be a dull, dull world if we were all the same?!

And so it goes that lawyers view the recruitment consultants who they work with, at least initially, in many different ways, ranging from ‘necessary evil’ to ‘life coach and shoulder to cry on’ and everything in between. As recruitment consultants, it’s our job to navigate these waters and try to do the best job for all our candidates, however much or however little they tell us about their jobs and their circumstances and what they’re looking for in their next move.

Sometimes it seems that all we do is ask questions. Questions, questions, relentless questions. What do they like about their job, what don’t they like, what drew them to their current role, how do they feel about their current remuneration, what’s their commute like, is the work challenging, do they like business development or are they happier in a more academic role, do they like variety or do they prefer to develop a narrow niche, are the personalities of the people they work with important, do they prefer working solo or part of a team….the list goes on… And there they were, thinking they were going to have a short conversation along the lines of – ‘I’m looking for a new commercial litigation role in Leeds, what roles do you have?’ ‘Well, we’ve got x, Y & Z, which do you like the sound of?’

There’s a reason for all these questions. Our job is to find the right job for the right person and no two jobs are the same, the same way that no two people are the same. We wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we didn’t find out what motivates this person or what makes them want to run for the hills.

We ask our clients a lot of questions too, and the best clients to work with are those who take the time to give us a well-rounded picture of what this role looks like, what it’s like to work in this team and where the new hire will fit in, what their future will look like at the firm and what they can expect from the role.

Some candidates tell us very little, no matter what we ask them, which makes it very hard for us to find the right role for them, because it’s hard to work out exactly what that role needs to look like. Likewise, they tell us very little about where they’ve got to in their job search, so we don’t know when to push hard on our clients to try & move their process forward to accommodate them, which means that they sometimes lose out on a role that would be perfect for them.

Often, it comes down to trust. Some candidates want us to find them a job, but somehow expect us to do that without giving very much away. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience previously with a consultant who didn’t do their job properly, maybe not. If we were all mind readers, I’m sure we’d make a lot of money, but we’re not. The reality is, in legal recruitment, we work in a very niche market, and whilst it’s true that we are commercial and we have targets to meet, we know our market and if you trust us sufficiently to work collaboratively with us, we really can give you the tools to enable you to come to the right informed decision about your next move, whether that move is through us or not.

A candidate I worked with recently had quite an unusual CV, had specialised into a very niche area in private practice and had then taken a very general in-house role but was looking for something different. If he hadn’t been the kind of person who was open about what he liked and didn’t like about the roles he’d been in, what motivated him and what didn’t, it’s unlikely that I would have thought of him for the rather unusual in-house risk management role for a major law firm. In fact, he wasn’t at all sure about going for the interview, but I was fairly sure he would like what he heard, and he rang me as soon as he came out to thank me profusely for persuading him to go. 24 hours later, he’d been offered the role and had accepted it immediately and he tells me it’s everything he thought it would be.

So the message is – trust us, work with us, and remember, communication is key.

For more information contact Juliet Lawson at BCL Legal.

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