When we tell friends and family that we work in legal recruitment, quite understandably they imagine our working days are spent helping law firms find great candidates for existing vacancies. But the reality is often more complex. We actually spend a high percentage of our time advising legal professionals about their career. They discuss with us if it is the right time to move, which firms will suit them in terms of culture and remuneration, and which potential opportunities might be attractive. This is often before any actual vacancy is identified.
We know our ability to give this advice, based on our detailed knowledge of the market, is one of the things our candidates value highly. They get our professional judgement and an impartial perspective on their career. We in turn get to know our candidates very well. This means when we introduce them to a client firm we know that they are compatible. Feedback from clients shows that this approach is very successful. Our candidates settle into new roles successfully and swiftly make an impact in their new roles.
When we work with candidates we cover many things in detail, but here are a few questions to ask when finding your next role:
Why are you looking to make a move?
This seemingly simple question has a multitude of answers. For some candidates they feel it is simply “time to move on”, to broaden their experience or their networks. Others are looking to make a specific career move into a more senior position or to a specific firm. Others still have a strong sense of frustration in their current role and their planned move is more about leaving their current position. Understanding your own motivation will help get clarity about what the next move could look like for you.
When finding your next role what is your career goal?
Many of us started out with a clear career plan to progress to a senior role. However, most of the candidates we have spoken to in 2021 have found themselves reconsidering this in the last two years. Have you stopped to take time to think about what is important to you in your career now? Is it more important to find a good cultural “fit” than a higher salary? Or to be working with clients who will value your expertise?
What are your expectations in terms of hybrid working, salary and benefits?
Again, there has been a great deal of change as regards working from home. Most firms we are talking to have introduced a hybrid working policy, with varying minimum expectations for office working. These do vary across firms, so if you have specific requirements, this may have an impact on your proposed move.
Do you have an ideal opportunity in mind?
You may have a specific firm in mind for your next move, or you may be able to outline the perfect role for you. If so, it can be very useful to share it with us. We work with many firms to develop their recruitment plans, so we may know of their intentions to recruit before anything is discussed publicly.
What are the pros and cons of your current role?
Inevitably some candidates we speak with are frustrated with their current role. We often discuss those challenges, including personality clashes, changes in leadership and unrealistic workload expectations. These honest and confidential conversations are helpful for us in understanding what the right role might look like for a candidate.
What are your personal values?
This may not be something you have given a lot of thought to. For some candidates it is important to find a role that is aligned to their values. We spend a large percentage of our life at work. Working with people and in an environment where you are able to thrive is important.
Whatever your motivation for considering a move, we are happy to discuss the market and potential opportunities with London-based legal professionals across a range of disciplines. If you need help finding your next role and would like to talk to one of our consultants, please get in touch.