in Employers

Is a Job Interview the Best Way of Assessing a Candidate?

In a recent article a senior recruiter argued that a better approach to recruitment would be as follows:

(1) give full specifics of your post prior to interview – this can sometimes be very frustrating in legal recruitment – firms give very vague requirements and are surprised when candidates get annoyed at travelling a long way to find the post to be inappropriate!,

(2) each candidate asked to supply a CV and personal statement, complete an online personality test, complete an online numeracy and verbal test, provide evidence of professional qualifications (not really relevant for solicitors) and a written response to a specific legal/business issue. This sounds like a good idea – apart from the online tests, which most lawyers would be horrified by!

(3) information assessed by external recruiter and

(4) preferred candidate chosen to go forward – meeting colleagues to be working with

(5) task set for the solicitor to undertake to prove their mettle and

(6) meeting to negotiate terms of employment.

This is a very thorough way of undertaking recruitment, and I can see the merits. I am not sure a lot of firms would want to spend so much time on it, and also if there is only one candidate for a post and lots of firms after them, I am not sure a candidate would be overjoyed at the process! However, I cannot emphasise enough that if a firm provide good information to agents, the quality of candidates supplied can be much better (although the quantity can diminish).

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at