Where Are All the Candidates? How to Recruit New Lawyers
in Employers

Where Are All the Candidates? How to Recruit New Lawyers

Here is our guide to recruiting new staff in a difficult market.

At present there is a huge shortage of potential candidates for most jobs across the UK, and the legal profession is not unusual in trying to find suitable candidates for vacant jobs.

DIY Recruitment Guide

This is our guide on finding yourself a suitable solicitor for a vacant legal job. Of course we are always happy to assist as recruiters, but just in case you were thinking of doing it yourself and are currently surfing the internet looking for how to get recruitment for free this article might assist..

Be Nice to Your Staff

One of the main ways of avoiding recruiting is to be nice to your existing staff in the first place and pay them sufficiently well to ensure they do not up sticks and move to one of your rivals for more money or better conditions.

No Magic List

The first thing to bear in mind is that no-one has a list of amazing candidates instantly available for all types of work and it is simply a case of finding that source and taking candidates from them. So often we get indications from partners of law firms who tell us that they put an advert on Indeed or they just went on to Linked In, and within five minutes they had the most amazing candidates for their job. Similarly we have had incidences where a firm have sent us a job spec over and we have managed to find them the perfect candidate within 10 minutes. All of this is usually mere coincidence. There is no definitive way of finding new lawyers for vacant positions. The only way to do it effectively is to cover all bases and be prepared for a bit of a wait to source the right candidate.

Advertise in the Law Society Gazette

We are regular subscribers to the Law Society Gazette job board because although we get very few job applications from it for one-off job postings, it also gives you a lot of exposure as a substantial proportion of solicitors will use the Gazette as first option when it comes to a job search because they trust the brand. Not only that, but at the moment (just about!) paper copies are landing on solicitors’ desks every week and most lawyers will thumb the job pages in the Law Society Gazette, whether they are looking for work or not. Your advert may well just catch the eye.

Linked In

We probably don’t use Linked In as much as we ought to although all our jobs are automatically posted onto the company Linked In feed. Linked In is set up perfectly for doing candidate searches and being able to make contact with potential candidates for a relatively low cost if you use their recruiter option. We have tried it a few times over the years but we’ve always found that most of the solicitors we make contact with via Linked In are getting contacted so often by recruitment agencies that they are a bit numb to any vacancy we might want to send them through. Failing that, the lawyers use our approach as a test to see whether or not their current salary is reasonable and actually have no intention at all of looking for work. However, if you are doing this as a ‘get your recruitment for free’ option, then you definitely want to be on Linked In looking around, because you won’t have access to the same databases as recruiters (see below).

Advertise on Reed.co.uk

This is our go-to job board for pretty much every type of vacancy, although it’s not the strongest for law unless you are looking to recruit at a more junior level. We have had some great successes over the years from Reed simply by advertising a vacancy on there.

The job board is huge and if you purchase a job advert you may be able to negotiate access to their CV bank which will give you a couple of CV searches a day to enable you to go and have a look at the CVs in the Reed CV bank. Although we do have access to Reed free of charge to do a CV search we have found over the years that it tends to be a waste of time. Anyone senior in law does not tend to let their CV go onto a job board unfortunately. This is yet another example of the old adage that there is no such thing as the perfect source for candidates. However, a quick search of the Reed CV database might be of assistance.

Stick an advert on your website and link to it via your social media

This can be surprisingly more effective than you think because Google tends to pick up job adverts from websites and post them into its extremely cumbersome and very clunky job search engine. It doesn’t cost you anything to add a job to your website and you just never know what might come from it. The one thing we would recommend not doing is putting a generic advert on saying that you’re always happy to speak to lawyers who may be looking for work – this tends not to work because it doesn’t have any specifics. You need to state quite clearly that you are looking for a corporate commercial solicitor with five years experience, able to deal with shareholders agreements and possibly a little bit of commercial contracts work, and that you are prepared to pay up to 70k with 30 days annual leave, pension contribution and a company car. If you are specific then not only do you tend to get picked up all over the place by other sources of jobs, but you will also find that you get potentially more applications than you would if you are more vague. (Incidentally it doesn’t matter how many times we tell our clients that being specific is really useful, we always get vague job descriptions sent to us for a good proportion of the vacancies that are advertised through us!)

Speak to your current staff and tell them that you’re looking to recruit, ask them if they know anybody and think about giving them an incentive to source someone for the vacancy.

You don’t know who your staff are speaking to on a daily basis and if you offer them the incentive of a couple of thousand pounds or an extra day’s annual leave if you source someone through them, it might be that they suddenly remember that they do have a friend who might be interested, and the next thing you know you have filled a vacancy for very little money.

Consider local advertising

Not as useful these days as it was some years ago, but regional news websites and papers at one point were very effective at sourcing candidates. This is probably not so useful these days as circulation has declined..

Online Forums

Get on to the various forums run by places like the Law Society and put a note on to say
that you are looking for someone and see if anything comes from that.

Advertise on Indeed (and other job boards)

We don’t use Indeed ourselves – it has never been a good job platform for us as a company – but so many partners of law firms claim they have found the perfect candidate on there within minutes I have to suggest you try it. Our experience over the years is that we have ended up with irrelevant applications to sift through.

Sit back and wait

Don’t think that because it has taken a long time to find anybody that you could have done it any quicker. This is a common mistake to make in recruitment – if you rush into finding someone it often backfires and you end up back where you started but with the damage done by a terrible candidate. It is much better to take your time and perhaps think about having a locum to cover in the meantime (which we can assist with). Again, bear in mind there is no such thing as the perfect source of candidates and it might well take you some time just like it takes everyone else, particularly when there are not many candidates looking for work.

Recruitment Agencies

Finally – you could consider using a recruitment agency. It does not cost you anything to advertise your vacancy with them and they will probably be doing most of the above, but the main thing in addition will be that agencies have their own databases of candidates, which is where most recruiters like ourselves do our work. The majority of the placements Ten Percent and Interim Lawyers carry out are not from advertising on job boards or surfing Linked In, but rather from our own database of 12,500 solicitors and legal executives who may have been registered with us for many years, and may just be looking for work when we drop out an update with a new vacancy coming through.

If you have any questions about recruitment techniques – drop us a line to cv@ten-percent.co.uk – always happy to help if we can (whether or not you use our services).

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 www.ten-percent.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk