Some people love cars. My grandfather, it seems, loves tires. Every time I see him, he asks about my tires. How is the tread? What brand are they? How are they in the snow? He is sure that tires are the single most important part on the car.
My wife is an excellent cook. She meticulously scours the grocery stores and co-ops in town for the freshest organic ingredients. She makes her own spice blends. She rarely uses anything from a can and avoids all shortcuts when preparing a meal.
I love coffee. Whenever possible, I track down the best beans from the local roaster and to take home and make a great pot of coffee. Pre-bagged coffee that has been on the shelf for who-knows-how-long is something I try not to buy.
And yet, people spend money and focus on the wrong things all of the time. They demand nicer floor mats instead of better tires. They want processed food for convenience rather than cooking form scratch. They want quick pre-loaded coffee pods and fancy coffee machines rather than focusing on the only ingredients that affect the taste of coffee (beans and water). Why? Because sometimes it is easier.
Easier is fine, but what happens when we focus on what is easier/cheaper/faster for your law firm or legal department? Is ‘easier’ and ‘good enough’ what you are looking for? Probably not.
The most important parts of a law firm are the lawyers you begin with. Not the clients or the systems or the policies or even the office. Great people make everything easier. Settling for less than a targeted candidate search may be easier, but it won’t likely lead to the best candidates. Those that aren’t actively looking (“passive candidates”) will never respond to an ad. Using a recruiter is the only way to reach these candidates and make sure that you are finding the most important thing for your firm: the right attorney.
While we were in the recession, legal employers had the luxury of time. There were ample candidates, and with few opportunities, firms could take their time when making hiring decisions. It seemed that no matter how long they took to extend an offer, the candidate was excited to receive it.
Fast forward a few years and the market has changed. Skilled candidates are being courted by multiple employers. Top candidates are getting multiple offers, and others are being much more selective with their decisions. As a result, firms that can’t make hiring decisions quickly and present a competitive offer in a timely fashion are losing out to firms that have sped up their hiring process.
As a result, firms and corporate legal departments should revisit their hiring process. How quickly are you responding to candidates? How long are you making them wait between interviews? When are you letting them know that you would like to extend an offer?
Even if the delay is only a few days, that can feel like an eternity to a candidate who is hearing from other firms in the meantime. A quick phone call or email with an expected timeline of the interview/hiring process can often manage a candidate’s concern that interest is waning. Also, this update may buy the firm time to extend an offer when other offers may be on the table or imminently forthcoming.
In the recruiting business, we say “time kills deals.” It seems that this is more true than ever in 2016. Remember, if you aren’t quickly moving a top candidate through your hiring process, in all likelihood, another firm may be trying to scoop them up!
This time of year often calls for personal and professional reflection. It is a good time to show thanks and acknowledge your achievements over the past year. It is also good time to re-evaluate your employment situation.
Loyalty is certainly an admirable trait but if you are not willing to at least consider other jobs, you might be missing a real chance for career advancement. Of course the grass is not always greener elsewhere, but you will never know unless you are willing explore other options from time to time. There may not be such thing as the absolute perfect job, but you might be able to improve certain aspects of your career that are particularly important to you.
So ask yourself if you are just thankful to have survived another year on the job or if you have plateaued in your current employment? If so, it is an excellent time to consider a change because there is no better time for a job search. People are on the move in the first quarter of the year and businesses of have positions to fill so it is a perfect time to explore your options.
“No organization can do better than the people it has.”
-Peter Drucker, Management Guru (1909-2005)
As 2016 winds down (how is it Thanksgiving time already??), if your organization is looking to add an attorney in the near future, the time to start looking is NOW. Law firms should start thinking about strategic hiring at the associate level and opportunistic hiring at the partner level. Associates are most open to hearing about opportunities in the new year and partners tend to lose the golden handcuffs holding them at their current firm early in the first quarter of the year.
And as Harvey Mackay says, let this be your acid test when considering new employees: “ask yourself how you would feel about the candidate working for your competition instead of you .”
Have a great holiday season from all of us at Sand Search Partners!
No matter what side of the political spectrum you reside, the outcome of this presidential election seems to have caught most people by surprise. One of the overriding themes for the prevailing side was the desire for change. Whether you like it or not, change is ultimately unavoidable and sometimes necessary. Change also brings opportunity. The key to making the most of the opportunity, is to understand the underlining reason for that change and react appropriately.
Change can affect those in the legal field in a variety of way. For example, change can come in the form of a client seeking new representation; an associate given the chance to make an impression with partner who typically looks elsewhere; or new responsibilities assigned to in-house counsel. In these examples it is easy to see the potential opportunity resulting from change, but to make the most of it is necessary to understand the underlining reason for the change. Perhaps the client did not feel like they were getting good customer service. Maybe the partner was not happy with the work quality of previous associates. The new responsibilities for in-counsel may be due to downsizing and a need for greater efficiency. Understanding the “why” greatly enhances the likely of making the most of the opportunity otherwise you may unwittingly cause further change.
Of course, once you understand the underlining reason for change it is equally important to make the most of it by working diligently to meet or exceed expectations. Don’t forget, your opportunity can quickly go to someone else if you fail to grasp it.