To prevent the hiring process turning into a long and protracted search to find the right person, it is so important to establish what type/level of candidate that you are looking for at the start. This is to ensure the smoothest process possible. However, establishing exactly what you need is not always possible. This is especially the case when making your first legal hire where things can often evolve over time in terms of seniority and sometimes the skill sets of the candidates you are targeting. Despite this, meeting with your specialist recruitment consultant is advisable, to ensure that you are making the best start possible.
Be sure to consider the reasons for the hire and plan your longer-term hiring needs where possible, especially for times where you may need additional support. It should be noted that in the permanent market, we are seeing a trend of candidates working in permanent positions in cycles of two to three years. You should, therefore, take into account that candidates have a greater tendency to move on at a faster rate, so be sure you are attracting and retaining the right people quickly and efficiently.
Adopting and managing a targeted approach
When looking to hire, a targeted approach is key, we would recommend a multi-layered approach to the market, as follows.
Targeted headhunting - Utilising our nation-wide network of candidates and clients we will map out and identify relevant individuals to approach. It is worth noting that there is a higher risk of drop out associated with headhunted candidates and it is, therefore, wise to use multiple avenues.
Database - Our database contains in excess of 64,000 legal professionals, which is one of the largest in the UK.
Branded advertising - This will ensure that you are reaching the largest proportion of the market and will ensure that you get the best quality candidate. Advertising for senior roles tends to get a very high response rate and ensures an additional pool of candidates.
Michael Page Legal advertises at high volumes and as such is afforded large discounts by the platforms and publications listed to the left. The savings afforded to the client with our package are equivalent to over £6,000.
Social media - Michael Page Legal offer a dedicated online headhunting team who will conduct a search online through LinkedIn and headhunt directly to search for and engage with, the best candidates.
Challenges attracting and hiring legal talent
The in-house market is currently very buoyant in terms of jobs - this is an issue for hiring talent at all levels, but particularly at the junior end. Hiring managers need to be aware that candidates are very likely to be interviewing for a number of roles in the market and, therefore, need to act very quickly in order to reduce the risk of their preferred candidate dropping out of their hiring process.
In addition to this, salaries are very competitive with some newly-qualified lawyers earning a basic salary of over £140k. This has meant that Magic Circle, and latterly, Silver Circle and mid-market firms have also raised their salaries to compete for top talent. While this is great news for candidates, with in-house salaries traditionally being lower in any case, the gap is now widening.
Be sure to make use of salary survey information that recruiters have at their disposal to properly pitch the salary (or package) which you are offering with the position, in order not to miss out on the best candidates. This is, of course, in the context of candidates moving into in-house roles from private practice.
In this market, candidates are also at risk of being “bought back” by their current employers. This is a scenario where they are offered a salary increase as an incentive to stay when handing in their notice. Quite often, you can do very little about this, however, your recruitment consultant will be able to take all necessary measures to avoid this by vetting the candidate and briefing them theoretically on the possibility of it coming to pass. Pitching the salary correctly is the most important precaution to take to ensure this is not an issue.
Ensure an uncomplicated and fluid process
Candidates will anticipate more than one round of interviews, in particular for senior roles, but it is advisable to limit the candidates’ trips to the office where possible. A well-organised process highlights that you run an organised company, one that a candidate would want to work for. After all, the process is a chance for the business to sell itself to a candidate as much as it is for the candidate to sell themselves to the business.
A typical assignment sequence involves the stages below:
- Candidate assessment and selection
- Shortlist presentation
- Interview arrangements
- Offer management
- Candidate commencement
To help streamline your process and to ensure you find the right fit for your team, get in touch with your local Michael Page office today for a confidential discussion. Alternatively, submit a job spec and one of our expert consultants will call you back.
Managing Consultant, Michael Page Legal
T: +44 207 269 2358