Articles From the Team
Uber, Deliveroo and Being a Recruiter
I recently sent a mailer to a number of lawyers to see if they had any interest in considering a move to recruitment. One person responded with a question:
“I take it that BCL does not pay a basic salary if your recruiters are self employed?”
It is a perfectly reasonable question and it struck me quite forcibly. No, of course that’s not the case (at least not here at BCL), but how interesting that someone (and perhaps many others) think that to be the way recruiters are remunerated. How far off target is my message about considering recruitment when some people – to my complete ignorance – think it’s a self employed, commission - only sales job? Like Uber or Deliveroo, but you get to wear a suit?
This got me thinking about what other misperceptions might exist out there which I needed to set straight. So here goes:
1. “It’s Commission Only.” No. Not here at BCL. There are roles in recruitment which are remunerated on a eat what you kill basis, but in my experience they tend to be with smaller independents. Yes, it is a role where bonus plays an important part, but at BCL we pay highly competitive basic salaries. 2. “I will have to make 80 cold calls a day (to people who want me to crawl under a rock and go away).” Again, this set up does exist in recruitment, but it’s not the case here. As a market leader, BCL has risen to position where we are very well positioned in both the candidate and client spaces and so whilst our consultants get on the phone and make calls, few of them are “cold”. And no, we don’t monitor how much time you spend on the phone. 3. “It’s 8 ‘til 8.” Again, not here. Core hours are 9 am to 6 pm. You may have to make/take the occasional call in the evening to a candidate who was unavailable during the day, but whilst we work hard at BCL, ours is not an “hours culture”. 4. “But I will be asked to sell my granny to make a fee, right? “ No. Short term behaviours (like lying to close a deal) have long term consequences (unhappy candidates, clients and consultants; reputational damage). So, yes, we sell the positives of a role or candidate in line with the other party’s needs, but in a balanced, honest way. 5. “Lager! Lager! Lager! It’s all very boozy, very laddish in recruitment, is it not?” Those cultures certainly exist in recruitment and many find that really appealing. I did when I was younger. The main liquid consumed at lunch at BCL is water, not champagne. Yes, we have fun, yes we have parties and run incentives, but ours is not an overtly boozy culture. 6. “But it is full of Twenty Somethings, isn’t it?” We have colleagues in their twenties, thirties, forties and I’m 51. The average age of our workforce is 32. So, if you are reading this as someone whose twenties now seem like a particularly nostalgic memory, don’t assume that you wouldn’t fit in at BCL. 7. “OK, but you legal recruiters are all Hooray Henrys/Henriettas – I’m not like that.” Neither are we! Hey, one or two of the team are a little bit posh, but my drinking buddies at a City based recruiter in the 90’s had attended Eton and Rugby – BCL is nothing like that. You’ll find our people down to earth, unpretentious, hard working, friendly and professional. 8. “Targets, Targets, Burn and Churn” – I think it would not be unfair to say that staff turnover rates in recruitment are concerning. It’s a hard job in that requires you to navigate a course with two parties, both of which walk, talk and have minds of their own. One of the reasons our retention rates are significantly above the industry is that as a market leader with a proven methodology we can give new starters “warmer” markets in which to operate and the tools and tech with which to work successfully. And we give people time, we do not burn and churn, as such our staff turnover rate is half that of the industry norm. 9. “But BCL only recruits Paralegals into Insurance firms/Associates into the bigger firms/in Manchester etc, etc.” Wrong, we recruit across the legal profession from Paralegal to Partner into all size and shape of firm and company. We do, however, assign our consultants to a specific market – one which matches their skillset and experience – so that they can provide the best service to clients and candidates. 10. “OK, so I’m listening, but I’m a Solicitor; recruitment, well, it’s a bit beneath me”. Well, if that’s your attitude then maybe you are not right for us, but look at this way. A client may come to you with a major “north shoring” exercise for which you must craft a solution; a smaller firm may come to you for a hire without which they can no longer serve their community; a FTSE 250 company may want to discuss a new Head of Legal with you. On the other side, a candidate may come to you wanting to improve their career, their quality of life, their ability to meet the needs of their family and you can help them find a way to meet that goal. If that’s beneath you, then fine, but recruitment can offer considerable intellectual challenge and emotional satisfaction.