Olivia Collicott
Olivia Collicott
Senior Associate: In-house

Articles From the Team

The impact of delay in the recruitment process, and what hiring managers can do to manage this

In a market where lawyers with commercial experience are few and far between it makes sense to ensure your recruitment process is as slick and quick as possible. Delays will happen and we understand that circumstances change. However, it’s worth considering the impact a delay and/or silence during the recruitment process has (on you, the business and the candidate), and what you can do to limit the impact of those delays.

The impact of delay in the process

Competition

You’re in competition with other businesses. The market for commercial lawyers is not what it was 10 years ago; businesses are fighting for the best employees/lawyers and not the other way around. If you don’t move quickly, someone else will. They could be your competitor.

Financial

The longer the position is vacant, the bigger the financial burden and day-to-day pressure on you and your team. You’ll send more work to external counsel, increase the workload for your team, or take it on yourself.

Brand

You’re impacting your employer brand and reputation and a result of a poor experience, you may struggle to hire in the future.

Engagement

When processes slow down, communication drops, or long gaps between interview stages occur, enthusiasm on the part of the lawyer candidate can stall.

While the lawyer you’re interested in might have felt this was the perfect opportunity and loved meeting you, they’re currently laying the foundations for future work with their current employer and may be less inclined to leave them in a month’s time.

Many individuals aren’t desperate to leave – you have to work hard to sell your position to the best people!

Gaps in the recruitment process cause doubt, and when an individual feels there’s a lack of engagement, the doubt will push them to look elsewhere.

Treat a potential employee the way you’d want to be treated in the same position: if you were looking for a new role.

Don’t assume that this is their only option or your opportunity is the best on the market.

Of course, recruiters understand that in reality, circumstances change and delays are inevitable: diaries don’t align, urgent meetings come up, the business is going through changes and so on. But communication is key here and it’s important not to go silent during these times.

Interestingly, we’ve had two recent experiences of delay during the recruitment process with very different outcomes…

The impact of a lack of communication during an unavoidable delay

Situation 1

The lawyer candidate is at the third stage interview and the client intends to make an offer. They need to iron out some internal matters, which have risen unexpectedly, before making a formal offer. Subsequently, they communicate – upfront – there’ll be a delay to the process. They keep in touch throughout the delay, set realistic timescales (that they stick to), and are on hand to reassure the individual they want them to join. While the situation wasn’t ideal and could’ve ended differently, their communication meant the candidate remained engaged throughout the process and they accepted the job offer.

Situation 2

The lawyer candidate is at second stage interview and invited for a third. We’re in touch with HR and the hiring manager but there are long delays in communication and the candidate is left waiting without a response; their original dates for interview availability lapse several times. The individual in question decides to withdraw from the process as they feel there’s a lack of interest and urgency from the business; they’ve lost enthusiasm for the role, and in the meantime, they’ve re-engaged with their current employer.

Working with a trusted recruiter gives you a great middle ground to communicate these delays and ensures the process is managed in the best way possible. We understand the individual’s timescales and can balance priorities and commitments on either side.

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