Are You The Selector or the Selectee in the Hiring Process?

Law firms should be the selector

Recruiting new employees into your law firm is vitally important. Whether hiring a lawyer, paralegal, or administrative staff member, a law firm must make the best possible hire. But your law firm must have the right psychological mindset to make positive hires to accomplish that goal. One necessary attitude is that it is the selector versus the selectee.

How Did Things Use to Work Versus Today?

It was relatively easy for law firms not long ago to make hires. A law firm could post a job for a lawyer and be flooded with endless resumes. However, the reality is law school classes used to be much larger. Unemployment rates also were higher than they are today. As a result, while some candidates might have felt like they had endless opportunities, many were just happy to have a job, including many lawyers.

Indeed, the large, multi-hundred attorney law firms with vast resources might still be having an easier time. But for mid-size and smaller large firms that cannot pay top dollar, it can be a challenging environment today.

Be The Selector, not the Selectee

To be successful, law firms must do lots of things to make good hires and attract candidates. For example, it is a given that law firms must offer competitive salaries and benefits. Further, a law firm also has to provide positive attributes for candidates to flourish in their careers in the short and long term. If both are not the case, the rest will not matter much.

But one psychological state of mind that a law firm must have to be successful is to be the selector, not the selectee. Law firms can struggle even more in this environment when they subtly or overtly communicate that the candidates are the selector.

The reality is most candidates want jobs that they feel are in high demand. Conversely, candidates are often skeptical about jobs where they are one of only a few candidates sought. Many candidates will wonder, in this scenario, what is wrong with the job opportunity?

What Does Being the Selector Mean?

Being the selector means all kinds of things:

1.) Law firms need to do the interviewing in the hiring process versus being interviewed in the initial stages. In other words, many candidates want to turn initial interviews into an interview of the law firm in the initial stages — versus answering questions about their skills and qualifications.   Indeed, it is okay to answer questions about the job, salary, and benefits during the offer phase. But in an initial interview, the candidate should be the one impressing the law firm, not assuming that they already have the job in the bag.

2.) Initial interviews must occur on the dates and times a law firm would ordinarily have for interviews. In other words, if the law firm is moving interviews around, delaying the hiring process for a single candidate, and changing its schedule solely to meet the needs of a specific candidate, the candidate can often feel as if they are the selector versus the law firm. Therefore, law firms need to give a short window for candidates to come in for an initial interview. Otherwise, they need to move on with the hiring process with the other potential candidates.

3.) All law firms have hiring procedures for completing applications, references, writing samples, and other matters. Even in a challenging environment, law firms need to stick to their hiring process as the selector. Candidates cannot skate on completing applications, giving references, writing samples, etc. If a law firm allows this, the candidate is the one becoming the selector.

4.) Law firms should not result to leading questions in job interviews to push through hires. Instead, open-ended questions of a what, where, why, when, and how variety must be answered. These kinds of questions allow the law firm to learn about the candidate. As the selector, the law firm must have answers to these questions — and give the candidate the understanding that the law firm must be impressed with the candidate for a job offer ever to be provided.

5.) Being the selector also means being confident in the job that your law firm has to offer. Either the candidate wants the job, or they do not. While recruiting does entail reaching out to candidates versus just posting job ads, it is vital that a law firm not chase candidates. Thus, if a candidate wants a short window to consider an offer if you have the time to wait for a short period, candidates shouldn’t be given days and weeks to consider offers.

6.) In terms of salary or benefits, a law firm may need to negotiate compensation to a limited extent. But as the selector, a law should not go way outside their comfort zone or general salary parameters to get a candidate to accept a position. If a candidate asks for too much, law firms should move on and wait for a better candidate.

7.) Law firms should meet many candidates for an open position. The first round of interviews should be large and robust. When a law firm only meets a few candidates, the proper pendulum is turned on its head, and the candidate becomes the selector versus the selectee.

Ultimately, it can be challenging to make hires for many small and mid-size law firms. But by being the selector versus the selectee, a law firm is going into the hiring process with the right mindset. With the right attitude, a law firm is much more likely to find the right candidate who will accept the job with the greatest ease.

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

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