Tom Fleet
Tom Fleet
Associate Director: In House

Articles From the Team

When you are recruiting, it is best to remember that "life is a two way street"

If you might find yourself with the responsibility of hiring a new employee to your business, then I encourage you to keep reading.

Imagine this. You are a successful lawyer in a business, and you need to hire someone in to your team. You've a role to fill, with a remit to handle complex, high value, varied and technically interesting legal work, and you know you have to find a great person to do this job.

You’ll rightly want to select and recruit your ideal candidate from the widest selection of lawyers, and you'll obviously want to assess the skills and technical aptitude of these applicants properly. So you’ll run a strong process, with several stages, and technical testing. This is a positive factor - most high calibre individuals like a strong process, as it shows a business who is serious about getting the right calibre of staff and the right ‘fit’.

But here is the thing: Life is a two way street.

Just as you are assessing applicants, these applicants are assessing you, assessing your business, assessing your approach and assessing whether they want to be part of your team. And they are also assessing you and your business on an emotional level. We all want to be ‘loved’.

I want to share a recent recruitment 'failure', stemming from a lack of acknowledging this two way street. My client does have a very good job to offer to someone, with sufficient complexity and variety to keep that person interested, and in a business of real importance. It is well remunerated, and working in a high calibre team. Doesn’t that sound great?

However, the process dragged on, and on….and on, culminating in a message from the applicant just before the final stage of the interviews. The message was:

"After some careful thinking I've decided not to go for the job. I've not been impressed with approach to recruitment and that impersonal approach has not encouraged me regarding the role. I don't actually need to move right now and I'm just not excited about it enough to waste my, your or their time any further”.

A significant time delay and the lack of personal engagement mean that this individual didn’t even bother to attend the final stage interview. My view is that was probably a mistake, but I can’t say I blame them.

The key point in this situation is that the testing and assessment process was not the issue, but the exceptionally slow timescales, lack of energy, and personal engagement in the process that has put this individual off. The message was also a double reminder, that most of these high calibre individuals do not ‘have’ to find another role, and are already in good jobs. They are waiting for a business to excite them, a job to challenge them, and a team to warm too.

So, when you are sitting in that hiring managers chair, thinking about what you want from your new recruit, remind yourself what it is like on the other side of the table, and remind yourself that life, and recruitment, is very much a two way street.

For more information contact Tom Fleet at BCL Legal.

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