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Recruiting in a competitive market

In Category: The Legal Market
Published: 06/03/2015

Legal recruitment is becoming more challenging for clients than it has been for several years. There is a recognised shortage of talent – an increasing willingness to invest on the part of U.S. firms and candidates are becoming very aware that they have multiple opportunities available to them. While to some extent this manifests itself in higher salary expectations for many their experience of the recruitment process will determine the role they choose to accept.

Firms that are swift, welcoming, clear about their interest in the candidate, their motivation to hire and the platform available to the new employee put themselves in the best position to secure the talent they require. Firms that take weeks to respond before inviting candidates for interview, have large gaps between interviews and poor feedback and communication during the hiring process are losing out even if they are objectively the best place for the candidate and make the best financial offer.  

We have recently seen the return of the counter-offer from the existing employer. This is always a difficult issue for candidates to deal with because they are aware that the improved status and /or remuneration have only been offered because they have indicated a desire to leave. Are they really valued or just a lot of trouble to replace? Legal recruitment is a particularly challenging sector; many factors can affect an individuals decision to move and a firm's decision to hire. Cogence Search are specialist in the London Legal Recruitment market.

We have also seen some instances of competitive bidding for candidates with two or more offers with clients offering sign on bonuses and enhanced remuneration to get the people they need. This too needs delicate handling: contrary to popular belief this is not a “game” recruiters play to increase fees: it is really not worth harming a longstanding client relationship for a percentage of a small salary increase on one candidate process. When not retained we need to act as a neutral vendor to ensure that the candidate views each offer holistically rather than in bare financial terms and reaches a decision based on their view of where they are most likely to enjoy their work, succeed and remain long term.

Money does matter to laterals – they want to know that they are being paid the market rate for their work but it is far from the most critical aspect of a lateral move. A speedy, well communicated and respectful interview process will beat a slow and (apparently) grudgingly delivered offer every time. 

Written by Mark Husband

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