Charlotte Newton
Charlotte Newton
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Working with legal recruitment agencies and the art of awkward conversation

The relationship between legal recruitment agencies and their lawyer candidates should function as an open partnership; it’s important to be honest to the legal recruiter you’re working with, but I understand it’s not always easy.

One of the main reasons for dishonesty, or non-disclosure of essential information, is to avoid the ‘awkward conversation.’

To discourage this, I’ve listed some of the most common (potentially) awkward conversations and discussed the benefits of being honest.

Working with multiple legal recruitment agencies

Some lawyer candidates find it awkward to talk about other recruitment agencies.

If you’re working with another agency/other agencies, that’s absolutely fine. (Of course, the perfect scenario is for you to work with one on an exclusive basis so they can manage the whole recruitment process for you, but we understand this isn’t always the case.) If you’re working with another agency/other agencies, simply tell us, including what they’ve assisted you with so far. Have they sent your CV across to any firms? If so, which?

If your CV is in the hands of several firms, we can use this to speed up your application with other firms. We can also provide you with valuable information about the market – for example, some agencies might’ve told you there’s a live role at a firm, but this mightn’t be the case. Or, we might be able to shed more light on a particular role. As we work with the majority of law firms across the North West, we can provide the most up-to-date market information.

Legal recruitment agencies and the art of awkward conversation

Having multiple interviews

If you have several interviews at different firms, that’s great news! It’s really helpful – and important – for us to be aware of this. Our knowledge of this ensures the process we run for you aligns with your other applications. You don’t want to be in a position where you have two first stage interviews three weeks apart; you’ll end up looking uninterested to one firm and potentially losing out on your preferred option. If we know about your other processes we can use this information to educate our client/clients and encourage them to interview at a similar time. This means you’re able to compare firms more easily, maintain momentum and make an informed decision.

You might like to read: Can you juggle your offers/interviews? Should you?

Legal salary

For some lawyer candidates, salary seems a taboo subject, however, at the end of the day, if you want us to help you find your next role, we need to know your current salary and expectations. It means we can make you aware of the most suitable roles – roles that fall within your salary bracket – we don’t want to waste your time by talking to you about unsuitable positions.

Our job at the end of the day is to get you the best salary we can – a salary you’re happy with. If we don’t know your genuine salary expectations, we won’t be in a strong position to advise your future employer (and to get you the best offer). We negotiate offers on a daily basis – we want to get you a salary you’re happy with and one that falls in line with the market.

Other offers

If you’re holding an offer from another firm either directly or through another agency, again, it’s important to pass this on. If we don’t know the details about the firm, salary and benefits, we can’t advise our clients on the best possible offer for you. Securing a new role is a fluid process; there isn’t a ‘how to’ guide for clients when it comes to job offers; each offer is on a case by case basis, so if you want us to help you win your case, share the finer details so we can advise the client on the best offer possible.

You might like to read: What do I tell my recruiter if I’ve changed my mind after accepting a job offer?

Some lawyer candidates think silence is a better approach; that they’ll magically get a better offer from another firm. Trust me, I’ve seen candidates play this game and more often than not, they’re grossly disappointed. If a law firm doesn’t know what the competition is doing, how are they supposed to provide a competitive offer?

In addition, we can act as a sounding board for you – we can talk to you about the two opportunities and provide you with objective advice. Yes, we have a vested interest, but we will never push you into a role that isn’t right for you – we don’t want unhappy candidates and clients. We can help you make the right decision because we know the market, and by this point in the relationship, we’ll also know you!

To summarise, the more information you tell us the better service we can provide to you. If you’re honest with us, we can help you. We can give you advice on the market, brief you on the most appropriate roles, manage timescales for you, negotiate the best offer for you and make the process as painless as possible.

Looking for a new legal job is stressful – why make it harder for yourself?

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