Top 10 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining in a Jobseekers' Market

Posted on 3/7/2017 by Duane Cormell

Within the legal sector, today’s market is very much candidate-driven. While the abundance of roles on offer is fantastic for ambitious would-be candidates, firms are having to work increasingly hard to attract the attention of these candidates. Crucially, it’s not only difficult for employers to find the right calibre of talent and make a hire in the first place, but it’s also trickier than ever for them to hold on to capable staff.

Follow my top 10 tips below to boost your chances of recruiting and retaining in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.

1.      Understand the type of candidate you want

Before you begin your search it’s absolutely essential that you are clear about what you’re looking for. As a starting point, draw up a list of the skills and experience that your ideal candidate will have and decide what criteria you’re willing to be flexible on.

Bearing in mind the kind of person you want to attract, think about what you can offer in order to capture their interest. Benefits like flexible working or opportunities for genuine career progression will strengthen your offering and help you to attract the talent you’re looking for.

2.      Be prepared to look yourself in the mirror

Next, think about what’s working well in your organisation, as well as what’s not working so well. Talk to your employees and get their views. Law firms that are aware of and honest about their company culture and values will have a better chance of recruiting suitable and dedicated staff.

Whoever you do take on will join with their eyes open. They’ll be more correctly aligned with your values, and, because they’ll have joined you for the right reasons, be more likely to stick around for the long haul.

3.      Promote and protect your employer brand

With competition for talent being so intense, there’s an awful lot of noise in the market. Having an understanding of what you offer that’s truly different to other firms and actively talking about it will help you break through that noise and make your business stand out to candidates.

Still, no matter how strong your employer brand is, it’s vital that you protect it. Being careful about how many and which recruiters you have representing you in the market will allow you a greater deal of control over your reputation amongst candidates, employees and the wider profession.

4.      Reach out to your contacts

If you can recruit good people directly, it makes sense to do so. In any candidate search, your first port of call should be your existing contacts. Get in touch with people you know both within and your organisation and outside it to find out if they know of anyone who might be suitable. Personal recommendations from people you trust and who know your company culture well will likely result in a successful hire.

5.      Where you do need a specialist recruiter, be willing to use one

While you might be able to recruit without third-party help, using a specialist legal recruiter can often make the hiring process more efficient and cost-effective, particularly if the role you’re looking to fill is highly specialist.

An expert recruitment consultant will have an in-depth knowledge of the sector and, often, invaluable contacts to help you in your search. Utilising their expertise and tapping into their network of connections will help to boost your position as an employer of choice and enable you to more efficiently find the talent you’re looking for.

6.      Be prepared to pay 

The commercial downtime involved in making a hire without assistance can be an unnecessary drain on your resources. If they can find you a competent candidate who’s the correct fit for your company, and therefore more likely to stick around, a recruitment consultant’s fee is certainly well worth the money.

It’s also crucial that you’re prepared to pay the candidate you find the salary they deserve. In today’s market, where there is competition on all fronts,  practices that short-change their lawyers will ultimately shoot themselves in the foot as staff realise that the grass is greener elsewhere. 

7.      Consider retaining a recruiter

There’s generally a belief that the more recruiters you use, the more candidates you’ll find. However, if you find yourself in a candidate-short market or you’re recruiting for a candidate with a particularly niche skill set, there simply aren’t going to be many people out there who fit the bill.

Not only ought a retained, specialist legal recruiter be able to identify those talented candidates, but they’ll be able to go about representing you in the right way. They’ll ensure your brand is properly communicated and the opportunity done justice, as they’ll have the assurance and space required to fully invest their time and resources into servicing your requirement.

8.      Be open to alternative methods of assessment

Hirers should no longer solely rely on traditional techniques. Using evidence-based recruitment methods, such as complex behavioural testing and competency questionnaires will enable you to objectively compare candidates against your specific requirements.

These tools help to remove the subjective element of making a hire and more thoroughly assess an applicant’s strengths, weaknesses and drivers so that you can make a more accurate hiring decision.

9.      Understand what your competitors are doing and be prepared to compete

It’s essential that you’re aware of the hiring techniques used and compensation offered by your competitors to ensure that you are properly equipped to jostle with them for the best candidates. The millennial candidate, in particular, has high standards about what they expect from their employer.

Law firms must be prepared to offer applicants a decent package and be open-minded about modern working practices like flexible hours and remote working. Those that, for example, fail to embrace modern working practices like agile working, will be at the bottom of the pile for candidates who receive multiple job offers.

10. Continue to evolve

While you might improve your retention rate and succeed in recruiting capable staff that share your corporate values, never become complacent. You can’t afford to assume that you’ll enjoy the same success 12 months down the line.

The organisations that will succeed in the long-run will be those that continue to assess how they’re performing in terms of retention and remain informed about the state of the market and the expectations of solicitor jobseekers. If you take your foot off the pedal, you can be certain that your competitors will be ready to pinch the talent from under your nose.

Find your perfect candidate with Realm Recruit

At Realm, we have the tools, expertise and connections required to deliver candidates who are not only highly capable but well-matched to your corporate culture. Our cutting-edge approach coupled with our modern techniques and technology allows us to streamline the recruitment process and provide our clients with efficiency, value and exceptional service.

Based in Manchester, we work across the North West, the Midlands and Yorkshire, placing legal staff at all levels. Whether you’re looking for a solicitor, paralegal or legal support staff we can help. Get in touch with our expert consultants today on 03300 245 606 or email

Top 10 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining in a Jobseekers' Market


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