Should You Use a Legal Recruiter For Your Job Search?
February 27th, 2014
Deciding to look for a new position is traumatic enough without handing over control of your job search to some headhunter who turns out to know nothing about the market or even about the practice of law. Sadly, this is a story I have heard many times over the 15 years I have been a legal recruiter.
First, don’t feel compelled to hand over your job search to anyone. A good recruiter will work closely with you to determine the reasons you are looking to make a move, what you are looking for in your next position, and work on the scope of your search together. Granted, a recruiter does the heavy-lifting in a job search, but not without your involvement.
Second, choose the right recruiter. Of course, I am biased; but I would choose a recruiter who is an attorney and has actually practiced law. If your recruiter has practiced law in the past, he or she will better understand your practice, what it is like to work in a law firm or in-house legal department, and your concerns. I also would chose a recruiter who is based in the city you are interested in living. Employers are biased towards using local recruiters. Also, a local recruiter knows the actors in the legal hiring world and talks with these people on a regular basis. Last, I would work with a recruiter who has been in business for more than 5 years. Chose a recruiter who has been around awhile and has weathered a slow economy. He or she will have a better perspective on the market and will possess long-term knowledge on law firms and companies.
Assuming you have found a potential legal recruiter that fits your objective criteria, why should you use one instead of looking for a job yourself?
First, a good legal recruiter has a network in place that has been cultivated over time. Successful recruiters are connected to key players in law firms and companies. Often times, attorneys that a recruiter has placed in firms become managing or hiring partners. As part of these connections, a good legal recruiter is often privy to potential future openings, as well as unadvertised positions. Also, the right recruiter will prepare you for interviews and may know some of the people you are meeting and therefore, can provide you with more in-depth interview preparation.
Second, finding the right job can be an exhausting and time-consuming process. It is likely very difficult, if not impossible, for you to engage in as comprehensive a job search as you would want and still keep up with your own workload and responsibilities. Instead, you’ll be jamming your search into weekends and late nights.
Your job search is the legal recruiter’s job. A good legal recruiter will be as motivated as you are to find you the right position.