Every attorney is giddy about a new job when it first begins. But just like any relationship, the honeymoon phase eventually passes and you begin to see the flaws, the annoyances, and the things you just fear you can’t live with. That’s when you eventually begin falling out of love with the job you once thought was the best gig ever. But before you pack your bags and start looking for a new employer, there are a few things you can do to rekindle the passion.
- Level up your responsibility. Sometimes, even in law, things can get stale. You may feel that you are doing the same things or handling the same types of cases. If that’s the case, take it upon yourself to take on more responsibility. This added responsibility could be taking on more complex cases or building a more valuable book of business. You may even consider assisting or mentoring under more experienced attorneys at your law firm for the opportunity to help on cases that may be slightly above your level of experience. This can be the perfect way to spice things up.
- Expand your professional network. If you’re feeling bored with the status quo at your law job, consider expanding and leveling up your professional network. Aim to befriend attorneys and partners who are doing the type of things you find interesting or exciting. Expanding your professional network will give you access to interesting people and opportunities that could improve your career.
- Go pro bono. If you just can’t find a way to rekindle your passion for your current job, consider doing some pro bono work for a charitable cause you care about. This will give you the opportunity to help people in need and improve your reputation by using your legal skills for a good cause.
Don’t let the love for your work fizzle out, take steps to rekindle your passion.
Everyone makes assumptions but there are certain assumptions that can cause irreparable damage to your recruiter business. Let’s take a look at two fatal assumptions that could hurt you as a legal recruiter.
- The popularity assumption. Sometimes recruiters assume that a particular path is good if everyone else is doing it. One example may involve assuming that a specific software program is high quality simply because everyone you know is also buying that software. But the problem is that everyone may be buying the software, not because it is good, but because they saw someone else in their social circle purchase it. To avoid this fatal assumption, always test the quality of a certain path against your fixed standards even if it’s popular.
- The time assumption. Some recruiters have a habit of creating long to-do lists but fail to finish most of the tasks on those lists. This is often because people assume they can finish a task quicker than they actually can. For example, if you want to cold call 50 prospective clients you may assume that you can do it in 60 minutes. However, this assumption is often flawed because it doesn’t take into account all the possible variables—longwinded prospects, interruptions, etc. To avoid this assumption, give yourself 50% more time to complete a task, then time yourself every time you perform the task. Figure out how much time it takes you (on average) to complete a given task. The next time you schedule the task, use that average time calculation when scheduling.
By avoiding some of the most harmful assumptions recruiters make, you can improve your productivity and your business.
If you’ve consistently taken the time to improve your attorney knowledge, skills, and work experience, there’s a good chance that you’ve outgrown your current salary. Below are a few tips on how you can get the salary you deserve at your next job.
- Determine your bottom line. What is the minimum amount of money you need to live the lifestyle you want? Take into account all of your expenses—mortgage/rent, household bills, your kids’ school tuition, healthcare costs, vacation costs, and so on. Don’t be timid about adding everything up but don’t go overboard either. Only calculate those expenses that are necessary to live the lifestyle you want.
- Put a dollar value on your professional assets. Take an honest look at what you’re bringing to the table as an attorney. How do your skills, knowledge, and experience compare to other lawyers on the market? What special qualities do you bring that are difficult to find? Now do some research on how much attorneys earn who are just as qualified as you. Is that amount in line with your bottom line needs? If so, be prepared to make your case during salary negotiations.
- Improve your value. If you find that your current value as an attorney is not enough to earn the salary you need, you must put together a plan to improve your professional value. Consider taking more classes, getting a mentor, or even doing pro bono work that will help you get the type of experience that is valued by employers.
If you want to get the salary you deserve, you must know your value as an attorney and be willing to increase that value when necessary.
Every recruiter and employer is talking about talent communities—large pools of qualified candidates who engage with you and each other. But how do you build and nurture a talent community? Below are a few tips.
- Add the right talent. There are three types of people you should add to your talent community—candidates who applied for a position but weren’t a good fit, candidates who are skilled but don’t fit the basic needs of any of your open job orders, and talent that isn’t looking for a job right now but would be an asset to any employer. With the right base you can have a steady foundation for a healthy talent community.
- Engage with value. It can’t be repeated too much—you must offer value to your talent community. You should provide information about new job opportunities and news about changes in the legal industry as the foundation of your content. Don’t contact them too often because your emails will become “white noise,” and they will eventually ignore you. Once or twice a month may be just enough contact for your talent community.
- Encourage interaction. The bulk of your talent community should interact with each other. You can encourage this by using forums or utilizing hashtag discussions on social media. For example, you might have #FridayLawyerMyths where each participant posts one myth about being a lawyer that new lawyers usually don’t find out until after they’ve practiced for awhile.
- Purge periodically. In every community there are members who don’t participate. Consider keeping your list clean by purging members who haven’t engaged in a year or more. You can send out a warning email a month before the purge. Having a small number of highly engaged members is better than having a large list of lurkers.
Developing a strong talent community will improve your ability to find quality candidates every time you have an open job order.
Social media is a great way to expand your job search, meet recruiters, and connect to hiring managers. But if you’re not careful social media could begin to take over your life. Below are a few tips on keeping social media in check.
- Don’t let social media alter your mood. One of the dark sides of social media is that the number of likes or shares on a post can sometimes alter the mood of the poster. If you’ve just posted something about your job search on Facebook or Twitter, don’t get too attached to how others react to it. Remember, most people receive hundreds of messages in their news feed every day, so they may not see your post until much later or they may never see it. Lack of reaction on social media doesn’t reflect poorly on you.
- Limit social media interaction—scope and time. When you’re using social media as part of your job search, limit both the scope and time you spend on the various platforms. For example, you might decide that you will limit personal posts and mostly focus on posting things directly related to your job search. You might also decide to spend no more than 30 minutes a day on social media.
- Take a social media fast every week. You should have at least one day a week when you’re not on social media. Many of the best connections are made offline at events, conferences, and networking functions. Step away from your computer for just one day (at least) and commit to connecting with job search contacts face-to-face.
- Assess the benefits of social media. How effective is your social media job search campaign? Each month you should take the time to determine what tactics are working and which are a waste of time. You only want to put energy into using the most productive strategies for your job search.
Don’t let social media take over your life, leverage it to get the most out of your job search.
For recruiters who want to attract top performers, a high quality career site is a must. It doesn’t need to be complex but it does need to include four essential elements.
- Job listings prominently displayed. When a candidate visits a legal recruiter’s website, they’re coming for one primary reason—jobs. Don’t bury your job page forcing your candidates to click through several links just to get to a list of employment opportunities. Access to your job search engine or listings should be on the home page. At the very least, you need a direct link to the job page prominently displayed on your home page.
- Mobile capability. Most job seekers are using their phone to look for and apply to jobs. If your career site isn’t optimized for mobile users you’ll miss out on top performers. But don’t worry, most web site templates come already optimized for mobile. But if you’re having a web professional design your site from scratch be sure to discuss mobile optimization before they begin the project.
- Application submission form. Your career site must make it easy for candidates to submit their resume and cover letter for any job you have listed. You should also provide an email address just in case the application form isn’t working for some reason. You don’t want to lose top performers because of technical problems.
- Good visuals and smart design. With the proliferation of easy-to-use web templates, there’s no longer any excuse for a badly designed website. Your career site should include appealing (and relevant) photos and a design that makes your site easy to use.
Make your career site work for you by including all the essentials needed to attract top candidates.
Asking questions during an interview is generally considered a good thing, but the type of questions you ask matters a great deal. Below are three questions you should never ask an interviewer.
- How did the interview go? Everyone wants to know how well they performed in an interview but asking how you did can be awkward. What if you did terrible? You may force the interviewer to then lie or at least awkwardly avoid answering. Instead of asking how you did during an interview, ask if there are any concerns the interviewer has about your experience and abilities. That way the interviewer can say something like, “Yes, we’re a little concerned about your lack of experience in this practice area,” or “No, we don’t have any concerns.” Either way, you get an answer to your real question without being too direct.
- When do I get a raise? Asking about future raises and bonus opportunities can come off as a little too eager or arrogant especially if you haven’t been offered the job yet or the employer didn’t bring up salary first. It can also seem like you’re not the right person for the job if you’re already dissatisfied with the salary offered. No one wants to hire someone who is going to leave in a few months when a better paying job comes along.
- What are the biggest responsibilities of this position? If it’s in the job description, do not mention it unless you need clarification. Asking general questions that are already answered in the job description or on the company website will mark you as a candidate who is unprepared. If you don’t understand something you found in the job description or on the website, mention that you had more questions about it. But make it clear that you read the information that was already shared with you.
Make a good impression by asking questions that will show you’re prepared and give you deeper insight into the job.
Building trust on client cold calls is important but also quite difficult. Since you and the prospect you’re calling are complete strangers, trust simply won’t be there—at least not initially. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can build trust quickly on a cold call.
- Make a good first impression. The first few seconds of a cold call are crucial to building rapport and trust. You will need to sound clear, confident, and show the right amount of respect if you want to get over the hurdle of mistrust. Ask the prospect you’re calling if now is a good time to talk. And if they say ‘no’ respectfully ask them if you can call back tomorrow at the same time (or a different time). Remember, showing respect for the prospect’s space and time will go a long way in making a good impression and building trust.
- Share identifying information. As soon the prospect answers the phone, give the your name and other identifying information. “Hi Mr. Smith. This is Jane Wright from XYZ recruiting,” is a good way to introduce yourself. You don’t want to make anyone play guessing games about your identity. And appearing to use deception or withholding information bout your identity can raise unnecessary red flags.
- Mention mutual friends and acquaintances. Another easy way to build trust on a cold call is to mention a mutual friend or acquaintance. You might say, “Sandy introduced us at the networking event” or “John Campbell suggested that I reach out to you.” Once you let your prospect know that someone they trust knows you, you can more easily build rapport.
Build trust fast during a cold call, and you’ll have fewer hurdles to clear on your journey to closing the deal.
Preparing for your interview is about more than practicing your answers to the most common interview questions. You also want to project the right amount of confidence and send the right message with your body language. Below are three body language mistakes that could sink your next interview.
- Inappropriate eye contact. As the saying goes, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” Or, in this case what you do with your eyes can be a door to getting the job or not. To make the right type of connection at your interview, you must have the right amount of eye contact. While you don’t want to get into a staring contest with your interviewer, you also don’t want to have your eyes wandering everywhere else but the face of the people across from you. As a rule, try to focus on the face of the interviewer, once in awhile looking directly into their eyes (but not for too long) and looking away from their face briefly. In most cases people do this naturally if they’re relaxed. But if you’re nervous, you may need to make a conscious effort to maintain the right amount of eye contact.
- Busy hands. If you get nervous in interviews, you may have a habit of having very busy hands—fidgeting with your clothes, touching your face, or playing with some item on the table (papers, pens, booklets etc.). Busy hands are both distracting and annoying, and may clearly tell the interviewers that you’re not comfortable. Make a conscious effort to keep you hands at rest in your lap or on the table. It’s okay to gesture slightly when speaking but avoid getting too animated.
- Crossing you limbs. Depending on your level of comfort and familiarity with the interviewers, you may begin to feel defensive, afraid, and very nervous. This discomfort might cause you to cross your arms or legs during the interview. Unfortunately, this closed body language is bad for interviews. You want to give the message of openness even when you’re feeling vulnerable or threatened. If you find yourself crossing your legs or arms, make an effort to uncross them so that you appear more welcoming and relaxed.
Stay conscious of your body language during interviews so that you appear more relaxed and confident.
Whether you’re attending a networking event or waiting in line at a conference, the ability to make small talk can help you build and sustain business relationships. But everyone knows that making small talk isn’t as easy as it seems. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to keep the conversation going.
- Bring conversation starters. No matter where you are, you should already have a few handy conversation starters ready to go. You might discuss simple things like the weather, a current event (only positive news), music (a recent concert you attended) or even the drinks and food at the event. If you know who you’re going to see at the event, try to remember something about the person, then start a little discussion. For example, if you know that they recently took a vacation, consider asking them about it.
- Prepare detailed responses. When people start a conversation with you, don’t just give them short answers. If your answers are too brief, it can create an awkward situation where the other person has to keep asking more questions just to keep the conversation going. And if all your answers are brief one or two word responses, it can come off as aloof. Instead of brevity, be prepared to offer details. For example, if you’re asked what you do for a living, you might respond by saying you’re a recruiter and telling the person how long you’ve been doing that and why you love it.
- Never forget names. You should always aim to remember names. After someone shares their name, try to use it at least two or three times during conversation. Also, if you do forget their name, you can 1) ask a third-party, 2) simply avoid conversation that requires the use of their name or 3) apologize, offer an reason why you’ve forgotten (you’re very tired, you’re very bad with names, you’re a little under the weather) and then ask for their name again.
Once you get into the flow of mastering small talk, it’ll be easier to connect to others and maintain existing relationships.