What Your Legal Recruiter Needs to Know About You
Reasons for seeking a new opportunity
There’s a vast number of reasons for seeking a new role: firm culture, lack of advancement opportunities, management style, firm size, or aspects of the role itself. Whatever it is, I advise you relay this information in a positive and professional way. For example, instead of saying “My boss micromanages me every second of the day and watches my every move”, you could say “I prefer to be given more autonomy in my role and be trusted to get on with the task in hand.”
As a legal recruiter, I will keep this information confidential and only use it to help determine which roles are best suited to your career plans.
Ideal job description
Now, onto what you do want from your next opportunity. What you do daily largely impacts your personal and professional growth and satisfaction. What does your ideal job look like? I recommend considering the following:
- Key responsibilities
Write down the key responsibilities of your ideal role, based upon what you enjoy about your current and prior roles. You should also let your recruiter know how you want to progress in your perfect role and how this fits with your wider career goals.
- Strengths and weaknesses
Next, be clear on your unique selling points: identify the hard and soft skills that suit your hypothetical responsibilities, as well as any areas you may need to upgrade. Your recruiter can advise you on how to bridge any skills gaps and may know of opportunities that can support you in doing this.
Ideal law firm or company
Everybody’s definition of a great place to work will differ, and yours will be unique. Take some time to reflect and consider the following when envisioning your ideal work environment:
- Size and scale
Perhaps you want to practice with a large global law firm or in-house legal department where you work with overseas clients and gradually work your way up the corporate or partnership ladder. Or maybe you like the idea of working with start-ups and have direct contact with key stakeholders and senior management. There are many pros and cons for working for companies of a different size and scale. You just need to figure out which is the right fit for you.
Which industries have you previously enjoyed working in, or which industries tie in with your interests? You don’t have to limit yourself according to your prior industry experience. After practising in one industry, over time you learn what you like and don’t like about that space. It is common for some lawyers to change interests as their careers progress. Identify transferable skills from your current and previous roles that will help you succeed in a new industry.
What type of environment is your personality best suited to? There’s no right or wrong answer here. There are many different types of private practice and in-house work environments, and the key is to be true to yourself. Poor cultural fit is usually one of the main reasons new hires don’t work out. Your recruiter should have an understanding of their client’s working culture, so be sure to ask.
The “must haves” and the “nice to haves”
Now that you have clearly defined the above elements, separate the ‘essentials’ from the ‘nice-to-haves’. Be realistic – some roles won’t tick every box, but certain factors will be key to your workplace wellbeing and overall career goals. Highlight the parts you can compromise on, so that your recruiter knows to keep you in mind for certain opportunities.
Think about advancement opportunities, rewards, benefits, flexible working policies, location/commuting, and salary. You may need to do some research. Have a clear vision of what you’re looking for and be ready to relay this to your recruiter during your next job search.
I suggest making a list and sitting down with your recruiter to identify what type of opportunities best fit your career aspirations. Your recruiter may be able to confidentially approach a firm about whether they have need or keep you in mind for future job openings.
Be honest, specific, and constructive. From the very first meeting onwards, ensure you keep communication with your recruiter fluid and regular and update them on your key criteria for the perfect opportunity.
If you’re interested in exploring your legal career options, contact us for a confidential discussion today.
647.484.8314 / 403.444.1760