Why it pays to retain a legal recruiter

Posted on 13/9/2017 by Duane Cormell

The majority of roles dealt with by recruiters are handled on a contingency basis. Working in this way, recruiters are only paid once they come up with the goods and supply the required personnel.

There’s something of a misconception that the more recruiters that are instructed to recruit for the role, the more CVs the instructing client will receive. In actual fact, when a role is recruited for in a contingency search, numerous recruiters effectively race against each other in an attempt to present the best candidate to the employer first and ultimately, obtain the placement fee. This means that, particularly where the role is more specialist or difficult to fill, recruiters will hurriedly try to source potential candidates.

This might involve submitting CVs of a few candidates that don’t fit all the criteria but whom they were already working with, on the off chance they strike lucky, before quickly giving up if they don’t easily succeed in finding the ideal candidate. After all, their time is money and a contingency recruiter doesn’t get paid unless they succeed. This generally leaves the client without any suitable CVs and a mountain of irrelevant ones. 

Whilst contingency search can be an effective way of recruiting, it doesn’t always come trumps and is typically best used for roles where there are likely to be many suitable candidates actively in the market for a move. However, when candidates are scarce and the only people qualified for the position aren’t actively looking for work, it might be sensible to use a head-hunter or retained recruiter.

You and the recruiter will work in partnership

While as the client, you will, of course, have the upper hand when it comes to making a final decision, when you retain a recruiter you’ll work in partnership with them throughout the process.

Your recruiter will be more consultative in their approach, take the time to get to know you and your business and, in some respects, become an extension of your HR/recruitment department. They’ll ensure that they understand exactly what you’re looking for and will provide their honest advice on each candidate they deliver.

They’ll leave no stone unturned

Because you’ve demonstrated your faith in your consultant’s ability by retaining them to recruit for you exclusively, they’ll be more committed to the assignment. Also, because they won’t have to worry about their rivals pipping them to the post and have more certainty of payment, your recruiter will be able to invest the time needed to do things properly. Simply put, they’ll be able to dedicate more of their resources to conduct a thorough, detailed talent search.

Although they are likely to utilise similar methods of sourcing candidates to when they work on a contingency basis, having that extra time and space to do a thorough job can often be the difference between you getting your ideal candidate and not.

You’ll have access to passive candidates                           

A retained recruiter will be better able to tap into the passive market and reach out to talent who aren’t currently in the jobs market. As part of the head-hunting process, they’ll be able to make a powerful case to lawyers on your behalf and work to persuade them to consider the position and your firm.

They’ll use modern recruitment tools

Some recruiters also use advanced assessment tools when working on a retained basis. At Realm, we use Realm Resource to comprehensively profile candidates and assess them on a number of levels.

Using their results from the behavioural assessments and key competency questionnaires incorporated within Realm Resource, we summarise a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and compare these with the ‘wish list’ provided by the client. We then use this summary to objectively select the individuals who are best suited to the role at hand.

You’ll save time

While the overall recruitment process will be more involved for the recruiter, for employers it is more efficient. There’ll be less commercial downtime required as you won’t have to brief a number of different contacts; instead, you’ll only deal with a single competent legal recruiter.

Your consultant will do most of the leg work for you, leaving you to peruse a shortlist of suitable candidates. They’ll provide you with an in-depth report of potential candidates in addition to their standard CVs. What’s more, because you’ll only meet those who closely match your requirements, you’ll spend less time conducting futile interviews.

You’ll have more control

During a contingency search, there’s a danger that you could lose control of your employer brand and reputation, simply because there are multiple parties involved, the majority being recruiters who are focused solely on securing a fee.

It’s much easier to maintain a high level of confidentiality with a retained consultant. Discretion within the recruitment process is critical, especially when dealing with passive candidates. A head-hunter or retained recruiter will go out of their way to ensure confidentiality and protect your reputation.

Superior results

For some roles, a retained approach simply isn’t necessary. However, working closely with a single legal recruiter who has a thorough understanding of how you prefer to work and what you’re looking for certainly has its benefits.

For particularly niche roles, where only a small number of individuals will fit the bill, retaining a recruiter will significantly boost your chances of finding a candidate who is competent, capable and culturally, the right fit for your firm.

To some extent, it’s a question of quality or quantity. Do you want to receive a flurry of run-of-the-mill, if not irrelevant CVs from multiple recruiters? Or would you prefer to be presented with the details of one or two highly qualified candidates by a single specialist consultant who has properly understood your business? Retaining a recruiter can help you to more effectively source, screen and secure talented lawyers.

Work with Realm on a retained basis to guarantee the right results

If you are interested in utilising Realm’s expertise, cutting-edge technology and extensive network of candidates as part of your candidate search, get in touch with me today. Call 03300 245 606 and ask to speak to me, Duane Cormell or, alternatively, email duane@realmrecruit.com.

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