Recruiting is a service business—you deliver qualified professionals to employers and job opportunities to candidates. But when it comes to customer service, many legal recruiters are lacking. Below are three customer service mistakes you’re probably making and few tips on avoiding them.
- Lack of communication. Sometimes a recruiter is so busy sourcing for a job order or cold calling new clients that they fail to communicate with their current candidates and clients. To avoid this problem, create a schedule of when and what you will communicate to candidates and clients while in different phases of the recruiting process. For example, you might automatically follow-up with a job candidate five days after they’ve interviewed with an employer. This way you never depend on your memory to communicate effectively and consistently.
- Exaggerating the truth. Almost everyone is guilty of this—stretching the truth so far that it’s almost a lie. An important client contacts you with a job order and you claim you have a lot of candidates who would fit the bill when in fact you’ve only got two—huge mistake. Avoid exaggerating the truth and be very specific with your language. If you only have two appropriate candidates on file, just say that.
- Gossiping about others. This type of unprofessional conversation has become more common since social media gained popularity. Some legal recruiters make the mistake of spreading rumors about other recruiters and law firms on social media because the technology allows anyone to share what’s on their mind instantaneously. To solve this problem, resolve today that you won’t post rumors or speculation on your social media account. A matter of fact, never post anything right away—give yourself a cooling down period of 24 hours.
Keep your candidates and clients by making excellence in customer service your goal.
Productivity is the golden goose that continuously lays the egg of results and success for those who can master it. For attorneys on the job hunt, getting productive can significantly reduce a job search length and help with finding the right kind of position. Below are five tips for improving your job search productivity:
- Avoid holding patterns. Don’t let tasks pile up in your “to-do later” box, tackle them right away. Putting things in your “later” pile wastes time and energy. Better to tackle what’s important now.
- Do the most difficult things first. One of the biggest reasons job seekers lose productivity is that they delay difficult tasks. Or worse, they allow the thought of tackling a difficult task to stop them from moving forward with the day’s plans. To break this vicious cycle, make doing the most difficult tasks of the day the first thing you do.
- Learn to say ‘no.’ Nothing kills productivity faster than saying ‘yes’ to things that don’t get you closer to your goal. It’s important that you immediately identify which requests benefit you and which don’t, and have the courage to say ‘no’ to the later.
- Get help. There’s always a temptation to do everything yourself, but getting help can boost your productivity like nothing else. Identify which items on your “to-do list” must get done but that don’t need to be done by you. Delegate those tasks to someone else—a spouse, a friend, or a hired professional.
- Plan your week in advance. Know exactly what you’re going to do each day for the week and write it down. Planning your week in advance will give you the power to control your schedule and help you actually get things done faster.
Remember, productive job seekers are successful job seekers.
Just like prior generations, Millennials want work that’s satisfying and compensates them well. But recruiters who want to connect to this generation will need to shift their efforts in four fundamental ways. Below are the four cornerstones of recruiting Millennial job candidates:
- Community. It’s not enough to just be on social media. As a recruiter, you must find a way to build a community that engages Millennials at all stages of their job search and career. Successful recruiters are able to build social communities around Millennials that help them connect to jobs, employers, friends, mentors, colleagues, and meet their social needs.
- Personality. The Millennial generation isn’t content to relate to companies as faceless monoliths—they want to connect to human beings. As you’re sourcing for various law firms, make sure that you add a bit of humanity at every phase of the recruiting process. For example, simple gestures such as using a photo of yourself on your social media account or calling candidates after you’ve sent their resume to an employer can go a long way in getting Millennial job candidates to see you as a real person.
- Visuals. Infographics, photos, and videos are popular with Millennials. This multi-tasking generation likes to get its information quickly and while on the go. If you can incorporate at least one type of visual in your communications with Millennials it will help you stand out from other recruiters.
- Balance. When recruiting a generation that values its personal time away from work, it’s important that you honestly describe the work/life balance of the law firm you’re recruiting for. If you’re not honest or exaggerate the amount of personal time a new hire will have, not only will that person not remain at the job, they won’t trust you again.
Recognizing the unique needs of the Millennial generation will give you a clear advantage in the recruiting field.
The legal industry is shifting at an ever increasing rate, 2015 has already delivered a total of 48 law firm mergers and more are expected in the future. With mergers come many changes—layoffs, pay cuts, and changes in law firm culture. How can you survive these shifts as an attorney? Below are a few tips:
- Accept reality. Whatever you do, never bury your head in the sand when your law firm is acquired or merges with another. It’s important that you understand and accept that change is inevitable. Even if you are the best attorney in the firm, oftentimes it is politics that will decide your fate. Armed with that information you can make moves that will benefit your career.
- Get allies from the “other” side. When two law firms merge, two different cultures are coming together. This inevitably causes conflict. But smart attorneys will use this opportunity as a way to create connections with people on the “other” side. Taking the time to create mutually beneficial relationships will go a long way in securing your place in the new organization.
- Find your place. When two law firms merge there is a lot of redundancy created which ultimately means that the attorney ranks will be thinned out. To improve your chances of making the cut, figure out how you can uniquely fit into the new law firm. Don’t depend on your existing job to do that, you must carve out a place that fulfills your old responsibilities but that also positions you as a problem solver in the new firm.
If you’re an attorney trying to survive a law firm merger, you must seize the opportunities that will help you stand out as a unique asset to the new law firm.
Now that social media has entered the mainstream, it’s time for legal recruiters to treat it seriously like the public relations tool it is. That means that every effort should be taken to protect your online reputation by keeping a tight control on your social media accounts. Below are a few tips on what you can do:
- Be careful with whom you associate. It’s tempting to accept every friend request or professional contact as you try to grow your contact list. But not every contact is a good one. There are some people trolling social media so they can spam you or worse. Before you accept a new friend or follow a new contact, carefully review their social media profiles. Are they the type of person you really want to know?
- Separate business from personal. As a professional recruiter it’s important that you separate your friends from your professional contacts on social media. Your professional social media accounts should always include your real name (or business name) but your personal accounts can use nicknames and should always be private. Think about it, would you discuss your family quirks and foibles at a business meeting? Then don’t do it out in the open on social media.
- Offer measured responses to public tragedies. While it’s smart to avoid controversial issues on your social media accounts, it’s also important to never appear callous or uncaring about something that’s impacted the entire country or world. When responding to national/global tragedies, be measured, professional, and compassionate, but never get into heated arguments with others.
Remember, when it comes to reputation, how you’re perceived online is just as important as how you’re perceived offline.
Many attorneys on the job hunt for any length of time face “the wall,” a point where they feel that they’re not getting anywhere in their search for work. When you hit that wall, it may feel like there are some external factors keeping you from advancing. But the truth is that the greatest factors stifling your job search are negative mental habits. Let’s take a look at some negative mental habits that may be hurting your job search.
- Lack of self-discipline. It takes a lot of self-regulation to get up every day and send out resumes and cover letters to employers. Many people simply don’t have the grit necessary to endure, especially for a year or more. If you want to advance your job search, you must develop your self-discipline so that you can do the work that matters.
- Impatience. In a world where information, and in some cases actual products, can be had instantaneously, most people have become impatient for results. This impatience can cause a job seeker to give up their search prematurely or even settle on work that’s less than ideal.
- Lack of persistence. Even as the economy recovers, many people find that it’s still difficult to find decent paying jobs. Because of this they may become frustrated if their efforts don’t produce the type of results they desire. They may even let up on their efforts because it all feels so futile. This creates a problem because it is persistence that creates extraordinary results, especially under difficult circumstances.
- Making assumptions. Whether you’re making assumptions that are negative or positive, assuming anything is problematic for the job seeker. Because they’re not based on the vetting of facts, assumptions can cause you to make bad moves that derail your search or even land you in an undesirable position. If you want to improve your job search results avoid assumptions and always base your decisions on verified facts.
To give your job search the best possible chance of success, shift your mental habits so that they benefit you.
Whether you’ve been an independent recruiter for many years or only a few months, you’re probably striving to succeed. But what if success always eludes you? What factors could be at the root of your failure to thrive? Below are a few possibilities:
- You don’t have models and mentors. No recruiter can truly thrive independently or otherwise if they don’t know what success looks like. If you want to have the best chance at success, find models and mentors who can show you how they did it.
- You play it too safe. Going for any goal is risky, but the stakes rise significantly when you’re working independently. This increased risk may cause some recruiters to play it too safe, avoiding opportunities that seem like long shots. That’s a mistake. If you want to succeed as an independent recruiter you must pursue opportunities that are risky but offer a high ROI.
- You don’t have a detailed plan. Some recruiters resist creating detailed plans and goals because creating an action plan means they will be forced to face reality and limitations. However, failure to develop a plan is the primary reason some independent recruiters fail to thrive.
- You don’t have the right network. Despite the unfairness of it all, it really does matter who you know. Independent recruiters who haven’t cultivated the right type of contacts will have a hard time succeeding. To thrive, recruiters must carefully develop relationships that can benefit their business. Even if that network is small, its quality will do wonders for your recruiting business.
If you want to thrive as a recruiter, get to the root of what’s causing you to fail.
Feelings of desperation are common amongst job seekers who’ve been on the hunt for a year or more. Many of these long-term job seekers begin to believe that they should take just any job. However, there are a lot of reasons taking just any job is a bad idea. Let’s take a look at a few:
- You can’t afford it. Even if you’re taking on low-pay gigs until you find something better, it may actually cost you more money than if you stayed completely unemployed, especially if that temp job doesn’t cover all of your bills. Because you’re spending so much time at a gig, you may not have enough time to properly commit to a job search. Less time spent on your job search could delay finding decent employment before your savings run out.
- You will get sidetracked. As an attorney, you’re trying to build a career. Taking a low-pay gig while unemployed may bring in extra money, but it may also cause you to lose sight of what you really want. Unless you have an exit plan and date, a few months on a low-pay gig could quickly turn into a few years.
- You may harm your reputation. Depending on what type of gig you take, you may actually harm your reputation and make it more difficult to find work in your field. For example, attorneys who work legal support gigs may get pigeonholed in that role despite their degree and experience.
- You will lower your self-esteem. While most of us like to think we don’t care what others think about us, the truth is that working in a job that’s beneath your skill and expertise level could cause you to lose confidence. The side effect of that is that low confidence could mean that you don’t go after the type of jobs you really want.
Before you grab a side gig out of desperation, make sure it will actually help not hurt your job search.
For legal recruiters who want to connect with an employer’s decision makers, getting past the gatekeepers is a challenge. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make handling gatekeepers a lot easier:
- Always aim high. Many legal recruiters make the mistake of reaching out to middle management or other employees who may not have the power to sign any recruitment agreements. The problem with this is that many of those people aren’t responsive to a recruiter’s offers because they can’t see the value and/or they don’t have the power to take action so they have their gatekeepers keep you at bay. Do yourself a favor and always aim for those people who have the power to work with you.
- Always be respectful. Many legal recruiters believe that putting on an air of superiority is a good tactic for handling gatekeepers. However, arrogance and rudeness will definitely put you at odds with the gatekeeper and may make the decision makers refuse to acknowledge you. Remember, even gatekeepers who are secretaries or receptionists are professionals who are respected by their superiors. You need to extend to them the same amount of respect if you want them to help you.
- Always be honest. No matter how desperate you are to get past a gatekeeper, don’t lie or use deception to achieve your goals. Pretending to have personal business with the decision maker just so you can get easy access to them will make others perceive you as not trustworthy. And who wants to work with someone they can’t trust?
For recruiters prospecting for new clients, handling gatekeepers with respect and tact is just as important as impressing decision makers.
Finding your dream job probably feels like a wish come true, but to thrive there you’ll need to get to know the landscape. Let’s talk about five things you should know about your new job:
- Know your boss’ real expectations. There are expectations spelled out in your job description then there are real expectations that your superiors have of you. Find out what those expectations are so you can strategize on how you can fulfill them.
- Uncover how things really get done. What are the real rules of engagement at your new job and who are the people that make the engine run. If you want to be effective in your new job, knowing how things really get done is essential.
- Indentify the toxic weeds of the organization. Who are the people that are the gossipers, troublemakers, and backstabbers? Knowing who these people are empowers you to consciously avoid them and create strategies to protect yourself from their toxicity.
- Understand the goals of your department. By understanding where your department is trying to go, you can tailor your daily actions to help them get there. Even if you don’t feel you can accomplish much in achieving department-wide goals, you can at least avoid becoming a detriment.
- Identify the rain makers. Every organization has individuals who bring in the bulk of the revenue, it’s up to you to know who these people are and befriend them if possible. Even if you’re unable to befriend the rain makers you can at least maintain a cordial relationship with them.
Succeeding at your new job is certainly about your skills and experience, but it’s also about understanding the new world you’re working in.