Avoiding the me-monsters in the hiring process

Me-monster in law firmRecruiting new employees in a law firm is an important ask.  It is vital that when you make hires, you get the right employees in your law firm. No matter whether it’s a lawyer, paralegal or other administrative staff member, you want employees who are selfless, who care about the firm’s clients, the firm itself and other employees.

During the interview process, the employees that are usually the best fit are the ones that talk about the contribution they can make to the organization. They talk about the contribution they can make for the firm’s clients. They talk about wanting to help the team. They talk about wanting to be a good employee. They talk honestly at all times. They exhibit good character in and out of the office because they put others before themselves.

Employees like this are the ones you make your law firm work. When you get employees like this, you have to hang on to them. In another thread, I referred to these law firm employees as humble and hardworking.

Other employees can apply to work for your law firm. These employees are self-focused. They talk about winning awards and accolades. They talk about their career. They talk about where they want right now and in the future. And they make little mention of the firm, the firm’s clients and simply making a positive contribution.

These employees are what some people would call me-monsters (a term coined by comedian, Brian Regan). Me-monsters can cause a great deal of damage to your law firm. They are self-interested. They will do what is best for themselves. What is best for the law firm, co-workers and others pales in comparison.

During your interview process, you have to carefully develop questions to try to discover who is humble and working versus who is a me-monster.  At all costs, avoid the me-monsters.

If you are confused about how to discover who the me-monsters are, listen to the words “me, myself and I” in their answers to interview questions.  Most answers to interview questions from me-monsters will focus on what is best for them. They will focus on their awards and accolades.  They will talk about what they want in a job.  They may appear to want the spotlight quickly. They will give very long-winded answers to questions where they are figuratively the hero of many stories.  They will have big ideas. They won’t admit mistakes or faults. They will rate themselves unusually high as to their traits and skills.

When a me-monster has an opportunity to ask questions in an interview, they often have a lot of them. A lot of the questions can illustrate that they are interviewing you and your law firm harder than you were interviewing them. Their questions might sound critical and cynical. Their questions might talk about advancement, vacation time, benefits and what is best for them versus expressing enthusiasm and their ability to make a contribution.

If you hire a me-monster, the reality is the employment relationship will likely not last long. Me-monsters rarely follow the rules — at least not happily. They rarely are content doing any kind of behind-the-scenes work where they are not getting their way, the glory and the attention. Me-monsters can feel slighted easily. They can hold grudges.

Instead of me-monsters, look for humble and hard-working law firm employees. Humble and hardworking employees are the ones that make a law firm work.  Humble and hard-working employees will use the word “we” and “us” versus “my, myself and I.”

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

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