When law firms have job openings, lots of candidates are usually out there. After all, it’s still a tough economy in a lot of ways. And if you are proactively posting jobs, there are often lots of attorneys and paralegals/legal assistants, and other administrative professionals, looking for employment.
Hopefully, if you are hiring, you are being thorough with the process. Multiple interviews are definitely something most law firms should do. The interviews should also involve multiple people in the law firm participating. Of course, reference checks are important. Writing samples, completed job applications and other screening mechanisms can be important for a law firm to consider as well.
Let’s say you’ve done all that and you think you’ve found your candidate. You then pick up the phone and offer the job. But to your frustration, the response you get is something along the line of, “I need a few days to think about it.”
What should a law firm do in this circumstance? Do you give them multiple days to consider it? Do you hold up getting the help your law firm needs while waiting on this one candidate.
At the end of the day, this can be a tough call for many law firms. If the applicant is somebody you really liked and thought would be a good fit, it can be a more difficult question. Also, if there weren’t many other good candidates out there after a thorough vetting process, it might be harder as well.
There are clearly no right and wrong answers. Different law firms can go in different directions based on the unique facts of the situation and their needs.
However, there is no question that if an applicant accepts on the spot, that is normally a positive development. It means the applicant is enthusiastic. It means they want to work for your law firm. It means they like the job, the salary, the benefits, etc.
But in terms of waiting, if an applicant wants more than 24-hours, it can often be a bad sign. Many applicants will want to call their spouse, a parent, another friend, relative or trusted advisor, etc., to discuss the situation. This is completely understandable. But in most circumstances, this shouldn’t take more than 24-hours.
Additionally, the applicant has likely been going through the process for a while. They’ve likely interviewed more than once. They’ve likely had plenty of time to think about whether the job is a good fit during this time. They’ve had plenty of time to ask questions. In some instances, they may have followed up on the status of the job. They may have even sent a card or electronic communication expressing their continued interest.
If an applicant needs more than 24-hours, after all of this, you should be skeptical about their enthusiasm and genuineness. What if you wait multiple days and they turn down the job or come back with a counter that you cannot meet? What if your second choice accepts employment elsewhere while you are waiting multiple days to hear from this candidate? Is it fair to make other applicants wait while this one decides?
If your law firm has other good candidates waiting in the wings, why hold up filling that important decision for one person? In this situation, you might be better to retract the offer — and make an offer to the second person on your list. One person shouldn’t hold up the whole process for days unless this is a candidate you really must have.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.