The recruiting field is a crowded space, making the competition for fees fierce. To get an edge, some legal recruiters choose to discount their fees, but this may be a mistake. Below are four reasons you shouldn’t discount your fees.
- You can’t afford it. If you’ve crunched your numbers, you should have a base fee that you can charge and still make a profit. In most cases, discounting your fees will put you under that base amount and cause you to lose so much money that in the long-term you come out on the losing end.
- You degrade the perception of your service. Discounting your fees can cause clients to view you as part of the discount bin not one of the quality service providers. This negative perception could create a situation where people only approach you for work when they need a price break.
- You’re wasting your time. While you’re working for a discounted fee, you’re missing the opportunity to take on more lucrative job orders. Remember, since your time and energy is limited, there’s an opportunity cost for each job order you take on.
- You can’t deliver your best work. Recruiting takes time. And since time is money, you may come to a point where you’ll need to deliver an inferior service just to ensure that you’re being paid for your time.
In general, discounting your fees is bad for business. The only exception may be when discounting fees is a way to get access to a client who you can then up sell more expensive services.
Working for a startup law firm has both challenges and rewards. But if you’re an attorney considering a new job at a startup law firm, there are a few things you should know.
- Most new law firms fail. Just like any business, new law firms have a greater chance of not lasting for longer than a few years. Will the law firm you’re considering be the exception to the rule? You need to carefully consider this issue before accepting an offer.
- Compensation disparity. Most startup law firms can’t afford to pay what their bigger and more established competitors can. What non-monetary compensation will you receive to make up from this difference?
- Founding partners matter. The success or failure of a new law firm is largely dependent on the founding partners. And it’s not just their legal expertise that matters—founders with solid business sense are critical to the success of a new law firm.
- New law firms demand overtime. It’s generally a rule that every startup requires a lot of long hours from all employees. Before joining a new law firm, take a serious and honest look at your work/life balance needs to determine if they’re in line with the demands of a startup law firm.
- Culture is a top priority. Since most new law firms are very small, it’s critical that you fit perfectly into the culture. This means that you should share many of the same values and work habits of the partners and other attorneys at the firm. If you don’t, those differences could cause a big rift.
As long as you carefully measure the pros and cons of startup culture and reality, taking a job at a new law firm could be quite rewarding.
Getting the right candidate is a tall order, especially when there’s a big incentive for candidates to embellish their credentials. So how does a legal recruiter spot a lie on a resume? Below are a few tips:
- Strange titles. Candidates attempting to inflate the level of their experience will sometimes include vague or even strange job titles instead of their real title. That’s usually a sign that they’re trying to deceive you. The best way to get to the truth is to call their former employer and confirm their job title and description.
- No details. Many candidates applying for jobs that they’re not qualified for will often make vague and grandiose statements with very little detail to back them up. That’s a red flag that they’re embellishing the truth. As a recruiter, you can get to the truth by asking for the who, what, when, and where.
- Unfamiliar school. While it’s risky, there are still many people who lie about their education. If a job candidate lists a school that can’t be easily found through an online search, it’s a red flag that they’re probably lying about their education. Just to be sure, don’t forget to confirm that a candidate attended the school they claim they attended.
In the end, the best way to spot a lie on a resume is to trust your gut and fact check.
Getting an edge on the competition is the goal of every job seeker. That’s why most candidates are looking for good job search advice. But there are some job search tips that should simply be ignored. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Calling to follow up after submitting your resume. Hiring managers are busy. They’re responsible for vetting hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications. So calling them after you submit yours could be problematic and annoying. It’s best to continue your job search and wait to be called for an interview.
- Asking strangers to refer you to a job. While reaching out to your personal and professional network is a good idea when looking for work, asking strangers or mere acquaintances to refer you is a bit too much. Remember, anyone who refers you to a job is putting their professional reputation on the line. Most people aren’t comfortable doing that for a stranger.
- Sending gimmicky resumes and cover letters. It’s always a good idea to try to stand out from the crowd, but sending resumes and cover letters that stand out because of their design and form is not the right way to go about it. Remember, hiring managers are receiving scores of applications, avoid gimmicks and impress them by clearly proving that you’re the right person for the job.
- Relying on networking events. Networking is always a good strategy, but some events that are specifically called “networking mixers” or something similar are usually a waste of time because they’re mostly filled with other job seekers. What you want to do instead is attend industry events and use the opportunity to make connections. And it’s up to you to turn those connections into relationships.
No matter what job search tips you receive, make sure they’re appropriate for today’s modern job market.
Thriving recruiting businesses require a solid company vision. But for most legal recruiters, creating a company vision can seem daunting. However, the process doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Just answering a few basic questions can get you started. Let’s take a look at five questions you should ask when creating a company vision:
- How big will your company be in 10 years? By envisioning the size of your company in 10 years, you can put in place a strategy for how you will get there. Since you know that a one person shop looks a lot different than a 100 person agency, you’ll need to implement different tactics and even goals.
- What are the three most important things you offer clients? Using the 10 year model, think about what type of critical services and/or products you will offer clients. Understanding what type of services/products you ultimately want to provide will give you a good idea of where you should start today.
- What type of clients will you serve in 10 years? Think about your future client’s business, size, and needs. If you want to serve large firms in the future, then you need to begin building that network today.
- What type of work do you refuse to do? Are there certain types of work that you don’t envision doing in 10 years? If so, write it down and figure out a way that you can avoid doing that work today.
- In ten years, what role will your company play in the industry? Everyone has a role in the legal industry—some are big players and decision makers while others may take on a support role. Where do you see yourself in the hierarchy and what can you do to ensure your future position?
To create the type of future you really want, you’ll need a clear vision for your recruiting business.
Whether you’re a new attorney or a seasoned veteran, starting a new job can send your work/life balance into a tailspin. You may even feel that you can’t afford to have work/life balance. But nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that work/life balance is critical to being a productive worker and healthy human being. Here are a few tips on how to maintain the work/life balance you want at your new job.
- Have a vision. It’s important that you know exactly what is important in your life and create a priority list. If you value family time and exercise, your work/life vision will seem different from someone who value’s climbing the corporate ladder and traveling the world. Make sure your vision focuses on what you really want not what others think you should want.
- Set the tone. When first starting a new job, it’s up to you to set the tone for how you will interact with the workplace. If you start off putting in tons of overtime, then it’s likely you’ll be expected to continue that. So think carefully before you create a reputation for being a workaholic. You’ll want to show your superiors and peers what type of work/life balance you want.
- Tighten your social circle. Don’t waste time with people who offer no value to your life. Only associate with people who are a pleasure to be around and who add value to your life for the most part. This will save you a tremendous amount of time. You’d be amazed at how many people you may have in your life right now who offer little to no value.
- Schedule real time off. Everyone should have at least one day off a week. And when you’re off work, do not check emails, answer texts, or do extra work just to finish a project. If you’re doing work then you’re not really taking the time you need to recuperate.
By establishing your work/life balance when you first start a new job, you’re setting the tone for how your employer will interact with you.
If you’re an independent recruiter looking to expand, it’s likely that you’ll eventually rent an office. But there are a few questions you should always ask before signing a lease.
- What is the cost per square foot? If you’re looking at a variety of spaces, they will differ in size and price. To make it easy to compare costs, ask how much the cost is per square foot.
- How are improvement costs handled? Some offices are ready for you to move in when you sign the lease, but others need a little work. Before signing a lease find out how much improvements will cost and how they are handled. Some landlords absorb the cost of improvements then roll them over to you as part of your monthly payments. You’ll want to know improvement costs are handled in advance to get an idea of your true monthly costs.
- What is a typical rent increase? No matter how good of a deal you get, rent increases are inevitable. You’ll want to know how often rent increases typically happen, how they’re calculated, and how much of an increase you should expect.
- What are the requirements if you want to break your lease? While it may be your intention to remain in your new office for a long time, you want to know how you can exit the lease if needed. Find out what penalties there are for breaking your lease and ask if you’re allowed to sublease or transfer your lease to another business.
Asking the right questions will make the process of leasing an office space a lot smoother.
Showing up and impressing an employer at an interview is what every job candidate aims to do. But making a powerful impact requires that you practice active listening and avoid some of the most common listening mistakes job candidates make. Below are three mistakes you should avoid:
- Drifting thoughts. Most people have a lot of things happening in their life. Because of this, they may find their thoughts drifting to any variety of topics during an interview. This is natural, but it can be costly. While your thoughts are drifting to the calls you need to make or the issues you need to handle later in the day, you could miss out on pertinent information being said in the interview. Before going to an interview, clear your head of other issues so that you can focus 100% on the present moment.
- Being distracted by appearances. Oftentimes, even in interviews, it’s easy to become distracted by the way a question is asked or the tone in which a statement is made, instead of the actual message. Too much focus on tone and delivery could cause you to miss the core message. Try to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt regarding their tone and deliver and focus on the content of their message.
- Focusing on your next statement. One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make in an interview is focusing on what they want to say next instead of what the interviewer is asking or talking about. This phenomenon can create a disconnect between your statements and the tone of the actual interview. Stay tuned in to the interview by formulating your thoughts after the other person has finished their statement or questions.
Give your best at your next interview by practicing your active listening skills.
For recruiters who want to grow their business and expand their access to talent, communication is an important ingredient. Unfortunately, many legal recruiters make a lot of unnecessary communication mistakes. Below are four communication mistakes you should avoid.
- Using a one-size fits all approach. There are no cookie cutter people—everyone has their own personality and quirks. Knowing this, you should tailor your communication materials to your specific audience. For example, the way you would communicate with a fellow recruiter may be slightly different than how you communicate with a potential client.
- Failing to prepare. Many recruiters have become so accustomed to sending off quick texts and emails that they fail to prepare materials when necessary. Certain communication materials such as your cold calling script and elevator pitch, should be carefully crafted. Failure to take the time to prepare these types of materials could result in a poor outcome and hurt your business.
- Relying on assumptions. Recruiters meet a lot of different people from all walks of life. In an effort to quickly assess them, it can be tempting to rely on stereotypes and assumptions. That’s a mistake. When communicating with anyone, no matter who they are, always keep an open mind and take the time to get all the pertinent information before jumping to conclusions about who they are and the value they offer.
- Assuming you were understood. Many times when recruiters communicate information to others, they assume that the person fully understood. This type of assumption can lead to problems if there is any misunderstanding. After communicating information to a client or job candidate, ask them to clarify that they understood what you were saying.
Tightening your communication skills and habits will help you build stronger business relationships.
For attorneys on the job hunt, getting an advantage is a big plus. One way to get the edge on your competition is to become known as an expert in your field. Below are five ways to you can build expert status in the legal industry:
- Build your home base. Your home base is anyplace where recruiters, hiring managers, and fellow attorneys can find information about you and what you offer. You can use a website, blog, or social media site as your home base, just make sure it allows you the flexibility you need to upload and share content.
- Focus on your expertise. Don’t try to be an expert on the entire legal industry. You should focus your content exclusively on your practice area and specialty. By focusing on a niche topic, you help readers understand the unique value that you’re offering.
- Get published. When building expert status, never limit yourself to sharing content via your home base only; get your work published by industry publications and other blogs. By getting published by others, you gain much needed validation of your work.
- Be consistent. It’s tough searching for work while also building expert status, but you’ll need to make an effort to produce content regularly. Even if you only blog once a month, doing so will help you maintain a readership that returns again and again.
- Become a speaker. One of the fastest ways to build expert status is by speaking at industry events and serving on panels. Being a speaker/panelist at events is one of the easiest ways to meet important contacts that will help you move your career forward.
No matter where you are in your job search and career, building expert status in a valuable tool.