Filling open positions at a law firm is an important task. Based not the position, there can often be an abundance of resumes. The ability to sort through the resumes, get candidates in and screen them quickly is an important component of the hiring process.
Of course, the process can often work quite differently based on the position. With attorneys, one formula might need to be followed. With administrative staff, support staff or paralegals, another formula might be in order.
Generally speaking, hiring administrative, support staff and paralegals can be cumbersome just based on the number of resumes a law firm receives. For many of these positions, more resumes can come in than a person could reasonably expect to sort through if the law firm knows how and where to put job postings. This is especially true if you are posting your job openings in the appropriate places. In this regard, in a previous entry, I discussed the advantages of SmartRecruiters.
With these types of administrative spots, the qualifications and criteria need to be narrowly honed for what the law firm is seeking. Rather quickly, a law firm needs to separate the resumes into three general stacks: (a) high interest; (b) medium interest; and (c) almost no interest.
When this is accomplished and the high interest folks are separated out, these folks need to be brought in for one day of interviews where they are spaced out every half hour or hour. At the end of the interviews, the law firm ought to be keying on one or two people. With these one or two, references should be checked and the decision on which one to hire is made.
With attorney positions, the recruiting process is generally different. As a whole, most growing law firms should be regularly meeting attorneys form time-to-time just in case an open position arises. The hope is that the law firm always has multiple attorney candidates in mind when a spot opens. Of course, if a spot opens up unexpectedly, and there isn’t a perfect candidate already in mind, the same general process can be completed as with administrative staff.
In terms of things to avoid in recruiting:
- It is important to get in touch with high interest candidates quickly after they have submitted a resume. If a resume sits in somebody’s inbox for more than a week or two, many candidates will assume the law firm has no interest.
- It is important as well not to meet everybody. While you want to give every candidate a fair chance, the reality is that with many positions, there can be too many candidates to sort through and too little time. The reality is a law firm has to quickly make assessments based on what is contained in the resume and cover letter in terms of whether the law firm has a high interest in a particular candidate or not.
- It is important in recruiting to stay disciplined with time-management. Many candidates may want to be particular about when they come in for a job interview, but this is not feasible in most circumstances. So, if you were planning to do interviews for an open administrative spot on Monday, and one candidate cannot come in until Thursday, in most instances the law firm cannot hold up the whole process based on this one candidate.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.