Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson
Associate Director: In House

Articles From the Team

Sometimes the only choice can be the best choice – recruitment in a buoyant legal market

Recruitment is a fickle business; when times are good and employers are recruiting, it is invariably the case that high calibre and relevant candidates are hard to come by. Similarly, when times are less good and job opportunities are in short supply, you can guarantee that there is a wealth of quality talent seeking their next career move.

It is obvious when you think of it however it always amazes me how often employers fail to grasp the realities of a buoyant market – i.e. sometimes the volume of high calibre and relevant candidates is just not there and you need to go with what you have got!

The in-house legal recruitment market in 2015 and 2016 has been very buoyant, yet for some employers finding their ideal candidate has been a real challenge. This often boils down to a number of key factors:

- Industry sector: applicants often refuse to work in the Defence, Alcohol or Tobacco sectors, as well as the Payday Loans, Pharma (animal research) and Betting/Gambling sectors; - Company Size: applicants looking for job progression may view a smaller company as less likely to offer internal career advancement; - Team Size: like company size, some applicants prefer to work in a larger team, often assuming that greater opportunities for internal career progression will be possible; - Location: some company’s are geographically remote from their talent base and so no matter how strong their brand, or how big they are, the volume of applicants can be low; - Brands: applicants are attracted to well-known brands. Less well known companies, particularly in less desirable industries, can often struggle to attract talent; - Specialist roles: talent is often geographically spread out or in short-supply and so specialist lawyers are naturally harder to recruit, particularly if you wish to meet multiple applicants; - Remuneration: internal salary bands and benchmarking against non-legal roles can result in employers finding themselves behind their competitors and the wider market on salary; - Applicant background: some employer’s focus on recruiting only Magic/Silver Circle lawyers or those with International top-tier law firm experience, discounting other relevant and high quality applicants on this basis.

Often employers will fall under a number of the above brackets, compounding the challenge of recruiting quality talent and/or attracting a high-volume of applicants.

At BCL Legal we aim to send only relevant candidates to our clients and we don’t send CVs just to make up the numbers. In the current market this can sometimes mean we will only send one to three candidates, (although we do sometimes use our experience to send the odd wildcard option who we genuinely feel should be met), across for consideration. We are doing this because it’s a candidate scare market but also because we aim to providing our clients with only the best and most relevant candidates available . However, it is often the case that some clients hold out for more CVs, a fact that is even more true when clients recruit directly.

As it states in the Blog headline, sometimes the only choice can be the best choice; by which I mean sometimes a company may only receive one or two viable and quality applications that make it to interview. If you interview someone and they have the prerequisite experience, are a good cultural fit for the company/team, meet the expectations on salary, are willing to work at the company’s location without raising a concern about longevity in the role, and you would have been minded to make them an offer had you met some more people, I strongly recommend that you don’t delay in the hope of seeing more CVs/candidates. Delay in this market is certain to result in said candidate finding a role elsewhere, and for those clients already struggling to recruit it can mean many more additional weeks/months trying to recruit.

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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