Don’t Treat Your Candidate Like Your Latest Tinder Date

Matthew Hart, Associate Director

Recruiting talent can be a lot like dating. However, in today’s fiercely competitive legal market, there is no place for ‘playing hard to get’. Don’t ignore, don’t screen emails, don’t assume the candidate will wait around forever. If you want the candidate, make sure you let them know. Do everything you can to secure them.

Talented lawyers, when searching for their next role, are often weighing up multiple offers. This year I have worked with a number of junior and senior lawyers who have chosen to accept offers, not because they were the largest offers on the table, but because the team and partner making the offer went the extra mile.

Putting approval, sign off, other procedural things aside, it amazes me how many teams miss out on their preferred candidate because of their lack of enthusiasm – because the candidate had another firm/partner who showed them they wanted them more.  We all care about salary, workplace culture, variety of work on offer, but most of us just want to work for a boss/organisation that values us, wants us. It doesn’t take much to demonstrate that.

Don’t rely on the prestige of your law firm or practice. Don’t rely on the impression you think you’ve made in one 60-minute interview. Don’t rely on the recruitment department passing on vanilla, positive feedback. Go a little further. If you’re a hiring manager, pick up the phone and give the candidate a call. Show them you’re delighted to extend the offer and you’re excited by the prospect of them joining the team. It may not seem like much but, as a Managing Partner recently said to me, “sometimes the seemingly smallest things have the biggest impact”.

Here are Sonder’s suggestions for ensuring you’ve done everything you can to make a good impression and secure your #1 choice:

1. Don’t sit silent on the CV for a month. Give some feedback so that the candidate knows where they stand. 

2. If you do decide you want to meet, don’t delay scheduling the interview – if you need the candidate to send more availability, let them know straight away. 

3. If there is a change in terms of who will be attending the interview, have the courtesy to let the candidate know in advance.

4. If you’re doing the interview via VC, ensure the IT teams have set everything up and that the candidate is given the full amount of scheduled time.

5. Give prompt, detailed feedback – positive, constructive, other. Don’t stay silent – candidates will only stay warm for so long. If there are other candidates being considered, let them know.

6. If the feedback is positive, give the candidate a clear indication on the type & timing of next steps. Don’t go silent – the candidate can take this silence as meaning any number of things, regardless of what the recruiter tells them.

7. Finally, if you want to make an offer, do everything you can to deliver the offer in a timely, warm manner. The offer doesn’t necessarily need to be the biggest offer on the table – what can make all the difference in the candidate accepting is simply having the partner give the candidate a call.

Sonder Consultants are a boutique legal recruitment firm specialising in both in-house and private practice, and have opportunities in domestic and international markets. For more information on career advice or opportunities in your respective field. Contact Kevin for a confidential discussion on: email kevin.sinnott@sonderconsultants or give him a call on 02 8277 4511

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped”

– Tony Robbins

For more information on salary trends, market updates and the general process in securing a role.
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