Mark Levine
Mark Levine
Managing Director: In-house

Articles From the Team

What happens when you don’t accept an in-house job offer immediately..

Lawyers are taught to be cautious and considered – I understand that… but the role of an in-house lawyer is when put on the spot with a query to give an answer. A negative that is always thrown at lawyers is that they don’t make a decision, but present the facts, ‘for and against’ so that someone else can make the end call. I know that this is a generalisation but it is what I hear from business when it comes to recruiting a lawyer, with the client looking for ‘decision makers, not those that sit on the fence’.

So when it comes to receiving a job offer it is best to show decisiveness straight away!

I do understand that ‘thinking’ has to be done once the reality of an offer is yours to consider, however we encourage this thinking to happen throughout the process. Interview number 1 is often the client ‘choosing who they like’ but if invited back for second interview it really should be an opportunity for you to ask all the questions that you might have. If after the interview process you still have unanswered questions it is definitely worth making your recruiter know what these are – they can either be answered for you there and then or perhaps another call set up if you are the preferred individual. When working with BCL Legal we would have a good understanding of what an offer has to look like for it to be of interest to you so hopefully there would be no surprises when this comes through.

Once you have decided that you want to move on from your current role, have interviewed at least twice with a business of interest and received an offer you should really be in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ quickly. To procrastinate does not give off a great vibe.

A recent example nicely conveys my thoughts on this.

A junior lawyer came to us seeking our help in making the move in-house. A suitable role existed which was exactly what she was looking for: sector, location, salary, company size, legal team. Two interviews later the head of legal came back with an offer. The response from the lawyer was she was “really pleased but wanted to take the weekend to mull things over”…

Now I know this does not sound unreasonable and certainly at a more senior level it is to be expected but at the junior level when your desired opportunity lands at your feet, not to go back with an immediate ‘yes’ can send a negative message. In this example the client had been decisive with his process – offering the role once he knew he had found the right person. His expectation was for an immediate ‘yes’, and anything less was in his words ‘disappointing that the lawyer did not jump at the opportunity’. To him it showed a potential lack of interest or uncertainty that this was the role for them.

Some of you reading this might think the client’s thought process a little unfair– but in this circumstance I do think he is justified. The lawyer herself came to the same realisation and 12 hours after receiving the offer confirmed that they were “absolutely delighted – and it was their legal training that had stopped the immediate ‘yes’ blurting from their mouth”.

All situations are different but if you go out looking for something and then get it, try and make sure you have done your thinking along the way, allowing you to be decisive with a job offer and reduce procrastinating.

For more information contact Mark Levine at BCL Legal.


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