Most attorneys learn about legal recruiters from cold calls, random messages, or mass emails. It makes working with a recruiter to land the best legal job….a bit impersonal, to say the least. If you are thinking about working with a recruiter, don’t be afraid to get to know them. An employment placement is a part of their job—but that placement becomes your job—and therefore, a part of your life.
When it comes to your relationship with your legal recruiter, here are a few steps you should take to maximize your results:
Do your homework and learn about your recruiter.
Ask questions, send them your resume, and ask more questions!
You can start off with some general questions: What is there background in recruiting or legal industry? What is their experience in your target market? What is their relationship with the type of firm or company you hope to lateral to?
If you are still interested, then send them your resume. Ask them what they think. Then ask how many candidates similar to you have they placed? Where have they placed them?
If everything is going well, keep the conversation going. Of course, check them out online. Review biographies, placements, job postings…and ask for references and read reviews.
Many attorneys think that they ought to delay the conversation and have it when they are ready to join a new firm. Understandably, the decision to leave takes time—but if you are open to a lateral transition, plan ahead. Getting to know your recruiter, and letting your recruiter get to know you, gives your recruiter more tools to find the right position for you (think of all the factors that affect the right opportunity: the state of the market, your skill set, etc.).
Disclose material facts to your recruiter.
If an employer sees your resume for the same position from different sources, it can make it seem like you are disorganized and not managing your process. Always disclose to your recruiter the prospective law firms and companies that you have already submitted to or interviewed with.
Similarly, let your recruiter know what needs to be known about your resume. If there are any gaps or positions that are not on your resume, let your recruiter know. An employer might be wary about something a simple explanation could cure—arm your recruiter with that information.
There might be a temptation to only let your recruiter know about the positives. Remember how you want your client to tell you everything? Especially the bad stuff? Because you need to know that bad stuff to help them…remember that? The same goes with legal recruiting. Assume it will come to light, and talk to your recruiter about it. Your recruiter can effectively advocate for you only if your recruiter has all the relevant information.
Communicate your expectations.
This is important in three particular areas: salary, location, and timing.
If you won’t move unless you are offered a certain salary, that’s something your recruiter should know. Employers often discuss salaries in a range when they are working with recruiters. Your recruiter needs to get a sense of what your salary expectations are to know whether an opportunity is worth pursuing.
You also want to make sure that your recruiter knows where you want to be. Obviously, if it is pretty clear you want to be in Georgia, your recruiter shouldn’t be sending your resume out to Alaska (though, if you do want to go out there, that is something to tell your recruiter). If you are lateraling within the same state, get specific—which region or zip code?
Lastly, let them know when you are planning to make your move. Controlling timing is important to ensure a peaceful transition out of your current position and into your new position.