Even if the Canadian legal hiring environment is still challenging for many job seekers, this is not the case for legal professionals with the most in-demand skills. Lawyers and other legal professionals who can check all the boxes on a hiring manager’s wish list are tough to find, especially those who have backgrounds in lucrative practice areas, such as litigation, business/commercial, compliance, and intellectual property law.
As you seek to improve your legal recruitment efforts, how do you find the most sought-after candidates when everyone else is also in hot pursuit of them? Be sure you’re taking full advantage of the following five strategies, that's how!
Five Legal Recruitment Strategies
- Stay visible. Even if legal hiring isn’t on your radar just yet, that’s no reason not to be in the public eye. The most top-of-mind firms keep their names at the forefront of the legal field, continually positioning themselves as an employer of choice through advertising, blogging and sponsorships. You should maintain an ongoing dialogue with your contacts, both through online and in-person networking at professional and community events. By doing so, you can develop a pipeline of potential candidates even when you’re not actively advertising for talent.
- Anticipate your needs. Be sure to keep one eye on your future needs. If a certain practice area is experiencing steady growth, let your network know. You may need to hire additional legal professionals in this area — maybe sooner than you realize. If you’re not already working with a specialized legal recruitment agency or legal staffing consultant, seriously consider it. By joining forces with a reputable staffing resource on legal recruitment and keeping them abreast of what’s going on at your firm, you’ll enable them to anticipate your needs. They can put feelers out to their candidate network even before you have a clear hiring need.
- Enlist your employees. Make sure your employees also have a good feel for the direction of the firm. Most have contacts dating back to law school or stemming from professional organizations. Don’t discount the strength of their networks and their willingness to act as recruiters. Financial incentives for referring successful candidates can motivate employees to go the extra mile in helping you find top talent.
- Consider former employees. Previous employees are often a hidden source of talent. Many would be interested in returning to your firm if they see an opportunity to gain a promotion in position, salary or work style. Furthermore, they can quickly add value because they understand your firm’s culture, client base and work practices. In reviewing the pool of past employees for possible rehire, don’t neglect to consider those who may have stepped out of the workforce for family or retirement-related reasons. They may be ready to resume their careers to some extent.
- Maintain close relationships with “connectors.” Identify the best contacts you know who can connect you with legal job seekers. These may include a dean or professor at a local law school, the executive director of a professional group or a well-connected legal recruiter. Single out these influential individuals for special networking treatment to make sure they think of your firm first when they come across talented candidates.
- Recruiting the best candidates is never easy, nor is it an isolated task. If you keep your efforts active on multiple fronts, you’ll always be in a position to land top talent — usually without having to undertake extraordinary steps.