One of the most important qualities in a successful recruiter is candidate clarity. What I mean by this, is explaining the way in which the recruitment process works, and the way a recruiter should go about his / her work. When speaking to candidates it’s become clear to me that many candidates have little / to no idea in which way a recruiter goes about the process. It is not a process of just ‘sending a CV’ to a firm, it can be a lot more complex, or even occasionally, much simpler.
One of the most important things in any recruitment process is ensuring a thorough registration call is taken. A good recruiter needs to know the following (as a minimum):
Why are you looking to leave / why are you interested in opportunities?
· Reason: We want to ensure that the roles we are discussing with our candidates align with why they are in the market. This coupled with steering clear of opportunities which may share any current gripes candidates have in the position they are already in i.e. should a gripe be career progression; we discuss opportunities with firms who historically progress their lawyers.
What are you specifically looking for in your next role that your current does not offer?
· Reason: Similar concept applies, we do not want to waste candidates time by discussing opportunities that cannot offer anything different, or offer the same obvious problems
What’s your Caseload background:
· Reason: Particularly in the specialist recruitment environment that is legal, it is paramount that we understand the type of caseload our candidates manage, this includes (but isn’t exclusive to) targets, fee-earning capacity and management skillsets. This way we can advocate the relevant skillsets in the best way possible to our clients giving applications the most traction possible / advising appropriately.
What’s your Package like?:
· Reason: A very important factor, but not always the most important on the list. Salary is of course a key motivator for looking into new opportunities, but ensuring we are fully aware of basic salary’s, bonuses, holidays and benefits is key. Here at JMC, we have a strong focus on not setting up applications for future fails of which could have been avoided through clarity at the beginning. A recruiter should always lay out the salary expectations from the start to ensure no efforts are wasted from either the candidate, the firm or even the recruiter.
Where are you in the application process at this point in time / where have you applied?
· Reason: Similarly, a very important aspect of the registration process. If possible, it is in the best interests of all parties to be on the same page in terms of where we are in the application process. Duplicating applications can have a detrimental impact on an application therefore honesty and clarity is so important. As will be explained later in this blog, a good recruiter does not just fill vacancies, but can find other methods of sourcing roles.
What recruiters can do ‘behind the scenes’
Here at JMC Legal Recruitment, we all specialise in different regions of UK – reason being, this allows us to get to know the firms in the regions well, build up rapport/relationships with our clients which gives us the strongest possible understanding of their requirements and the nature of the market.
By definition, recruitment is filling vacancies. However, it also goes way beyond filling just vacancies. As a legal recruiter, if the only thing we focussed on was filling jobs then we would not be ranked #1 on google (I just wanted to get that in here somewhere in this blog, sorry). Many of our placements comes purely through client contact and dare I say it, coincidence. But whilst is may be coincidence, it is certainly not luck. As you would imagine, recruiters spend much of their day on the phones speaking to clients and taking instructions. But what we can do, is discuss candidates on a purely confidential and no names basis to see if there is an interest in description regardless of ‘active vacancies’ . This way, you CV / name is not sullied around the market, and a recruiter can successfully gauge interest from firms that a individual would have little luck doing otherwise – this is a real benefit of using a recruiter, sounding out positions that you otherwise have little idea existed.
This is why it is so important to use a recruiter who you feel is knowledgeable of the market, knowledgeable of the clients in the area in making sure all stones are unturned on your behalf.
My advice to any one out there in the market using a recruiter, and if you are ever unsure – ASK how your recruiter will go about the process. If a recruiter does not ask if you have any questions you would like to ask them, never be afraid to do so. It is something I personally have strong focus on as going back to my original point – candidate clarity is key.
Written by Recruitment Consultant - Joe Bryant