Overly Ambitious Law Firm Applicants

Overly ambitious law firm candidatesDuring the hiring and recruitment process, one of the common topics that can come out in an interview is the goals of the applicant. “What are their short-term goals?” “What are their long-term goals?” These are normally important questions that come up in the hiring process. Law firm applicants can generally answer these questions in a couple of different ways.

Some applicants are focused on doing a great job right now.  They want to do a great job for the firm’s clients. They want to enhance their legal skills in terms of their writing, courtroom skills, and research. These applicants also want to be productive and profitable for the law firm. There is very little mention of themselves and their individual goals.

Other candidates can have different motives. For these applicants, they might say some of the same things referenced above. However, these applicants can often frame their answers with more lofty expectations. The lofty expectations can often involve individual achievement, advancement, goals, and accolades.

These applicants might mention that they’d like to become partners, senior partners, or directors in the law firm. They might reference that they’d like to represent the firm at continuing education seminars (CLEs). They might desire winning awards and honors. They might want to change what the firm is doing in various respects to make it even better based on some ideas that they have.

Certainly, all of these are ambitious goals and, perhaps, noble goals in various respects. But in terms of the hiring process, these answers can raise red flags for law firms.

Instead of simply focusing on doing a great job for the law firm, and then trusting that good things will happen if they do that (like promotions, awards, CLEs, and new ideas), the reality is that these applicants are putting the cart before the horse. They generally want these things quickly or they will be unhappy.

In contrast, the best applicants know that good things come from hard work over time, effort, loyalty, and dedication to the organization. They don’t expect that these things will happen right away or that they deserve for these things to happen right away.

On the other hand, dissatisfied employees are often those who desire advancement, implementation of their ideas, and achievement quickly. And when it doesn’t happen quickly enough, these employees become disgruntled, unhappy, and are often the ones who depart.

If you want to make the best hires, hire the applicants who are willing to prove themselves over time. Hire employees who simply want to work hard for the organization and help the firm’s clients today. These are the candidates your law firm needs.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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