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At Thornton Legal we really appreciate the teams hard work and we recognise it as much as we can from late starts and early finishes through to team lunches and various incentive. We’re not perfect buy we do try, and we think we have learnt what works and what doesn’t from speaking to hundreds of candidates over the years.
While there is rarely just a single reason for a valued employee leaving a company, bad management is often an overriding factor. As the saying goes… ‘’people quit bosses, not jobs’’.
According to a study by Gallup, one in two people admitted to having left a job to get away from a bad manager. But what makes you a ‘bad manager?’
- No trust
If you don’t trust your employees, why hire them in the first place? (Obviously if your employee betrays your trust… but that’s a different story)
A manager who struggles with trusting their employees ends up creating a hostile working environment which leaves the employee feeling stressed and unmotivated to perform their best work, especially if they feel their every move is being monitored.
An employee does not want to work in an environment where they’re not trusted by their manager, it creates a negative culture.
- Not being appreciated
For an employee there is nothing worse than consistently going above and beyond what is required for it to only go unrecognised. You can show appreciation to your staff in many ways but a simple thank you is often all it takes.
- One rule for you, another for your employee
Employees get it, you’re the manager, you can do what you like… but it doesn’t create a positive working environment if it is ‘one rule for you, another rule for your employees’. Your employees will eventually become fed up of them not having the flexibility they need, whereas you are swanning off as and needs be.
Unsurprisingly, managers have the greatest impact on employee engagement. Gallup’s research also identified that great managers possess a combination of five talents:
- Motivate their employees
- Assert themselves to overcome obstacles
- Create a culture of accountability
- Build trusting relationships
- Make informed, unbiased decisions for the good of their team and company
Managers who do these tasks well create a positive working environment that motivates their employees to perform at their best. Whereas managers who struggle to do any of the above five points end up pushing good employees towards the exit door!
Despite the salary or amazing benefits you offer, you can’t buy engagement or loyalty. If an employee is not valued, trusted or recognised then they move on. You need to create a positive culture, build loyalty, and do everything you promised in their interview.
If you are reading this thinking is this me? Then it probably is. Luckily it’s not too late to make a change. Get in touch and let’s find you your next legal role.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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The penny, at least for a lot of law firms, is beginning to drop and this is music to recruiters’ ears. There is an ever-increasing acknowledgement amongst partners and internal recruiters that there just aren’t enough lawyers around to satisfy a hungry recruitment market.
Why is this important? Well, the realisation that candidates have choices means that firms are happier than ever before to work strategically with recruiters to get their hiring strategy right.
We have put together some handy hints and tips for law firms to help them stay ahead of the game when it comes to recruitment.
Engage effectively with recruiters
This sounds obvious, right? Unfortunately, too few law firms have embraced the idea, and this has seen them fall behind competitors who are committed to working in tandem with recruiters.
A good recruiter understands the firm’s needs and knows exactly where to go to find the right person, especially in a candidate short market. They have access to a wide pool of candidates including those who may not be actively seeking new employment. They are constantly in touch with ‘passive’ job seekers who won’t respond to a job advert but will take a call about a vacancy from a recruitment consultant who they know and trust.
What does engaging effectively mean? Well, it means doing most of the following:
Providing good information about the role and the reasons why working for the firm is a good idea.
Being open and transparent about salaries, bonuses and benefits and the likely timescales involved in the process.
Coming back quickly on CV’s and arranging interviews in a timely manner.
The Interview Process
Remember, an interview is a two-way process. You need to be able to ‘sell’ your company to the candidate. If the interviewee isn’t excited by the role, they’re not going to be interested in joining.
The best candidate may have multiple interviews lined up, so it is important to create a welcoming, positive interview experience, that leaves a lasting impression irrespective of whether you know you won’t be pursuing anything further with the candidate.
It starts from when they are greeted by reception and doesn’t finish until they have left the building.
Don’t hang around waiting to make a decision. In a candidate short market, time is not on your side.
This goes for every touch point a candidate has with your company - cv send, scheduling an interview and the job offer. Companies that take too long to make a decision are only giving the competition the benefit of time.
An efficient and quick recruitment process goes a long way in securing a candidate.
It also involves providing proper, constructive feedback within at least 24/48 hours of the interview Nothing turns a hitherto excited candidate off a firm more than delays and lack of communication.
If you are investing time, effort and money in securing the best lawyers, the process should not simply end with an offer being accepted.
3-month notice periods can drag so we would definitely recommend keeping the dialogue going with soon to be new starters. A nice suggestion could be meeting them for a coffee or chatting over the phone in the run up to their start date.
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Recruiters are often asked why you should enlist the services of a recruiter to help you find a new job. People often assume all we do is a arrange the interview between you and a company.
However, there is much more we do at Thornton Legal, before and after arranging the interview. For example:
We have access to hidden markets.
Not all law firms advertise their job roles on their website or job boards.
We invest a lot of time developing and maintaining relationships with companies and networking. We have the ear of Partners and HR Managers and are aware of opportunities that either aren’t being advertised or are being recruited for exclusively by one or two trusted recruiters.
So, if you are not using a specialist recruiter and are applying to companies directly, you might be missing out on a perfect opportunity!
We have expert knowledge
We are specialised in the legal sector and have expert industry knowledge. We have spent valuable time studying the market. We know who is recruiting, at what level and have detailed information about the role/firm from meeting with the hiring client – this will be information that is not obvious from their website and will help you go a long way in a successful interview process.
Also, by knowing the trends in the market we can help create an opportunity at a law firm for a candidate that otherwise would not have been possible without selling that particular person’s skills and experience to the right decision maker.
Law firms can be passive recruiters, often they don’t realise they need to recruit until the right CV is put in front of them from a trusted source. Sometimes they must be persuaded that they need to recruit.
We take the time to go through your CV with you, this is so we can fully understand your work history, where you are now, what you want from your legal career and your skill set. This is so we know what role you would be suited to and what firm you will be happy at.
When you get an interview, we want to meet all our candidates (if they want to) to help with their interview preparation. We fully understand what our client wants and what they are looking for. We can tell you informative information about them and the firm, along with interview questions you may be asked!
After the interview, we will speak to you and find out how the interview went, if you feel like you would be happy at the firm and will pass on any questions you have.
We obtain constructive feedback for you and keep you in the loop on what is going on.
Along with all the above, a few points to mention on the benefits of using a recruiter is
- Confidentiality - If you ask, we can ensure that approaches are made in confidence to firms, allowing candidates the peace of mind that their applications are dealt with securely and sensitively.
- Salary Negotiation – If you have been offered a job and the salary does not match your expectations, we can negotiate on your behalf in a sensitive and effective way.
- Career Guidance – We can give candidates valuable insight into career progression tactics, salary expectations, retrains opportunities or general advice on the job market.
- Time saving – Let us do all the work ?
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Before you start looking for a new job, you need to be 100% committed to the process and be clear about what you want from your next role.
Job hunting while you’re still employed isn’t the easiest of tasks, you will get home from a long day in the office or end the day working from home and sometimes the last thing you will want to do is spend the evening focusing looking for jobs and doing interview preparation.
It requires commitment to speak to recruiters and direct employers before and after work, and to take time out of your day to attend interviews, whether virtual or in person.
If you put yourself forward for a role then you must be serious about your search, so you do not waste the time of your recruitment consultant, the employer or your own.
Sometimes it can feel like a job in itself!
There are a host of reasons why you might be wanting to move, and your recruiter needs to understand your situation to sell you in the best light possible and to secure you an interview at a firm/job that fits your criteria.
If you don’t take some time to reflect on what you want and how to get there, you may end up taking your job search in the wrong direction.
Before applying for a job, ask yourself these questions:
Why am I looking to leave my current employer?
You will more than likely be asked this question during an interview, so you need to think carefully about why you want to leave. Maybe you think there is no progression opportunities, your firm is behind the times when it comes to home working, you’ve reached the limit of what you can learn, you feel under-valued, bored, or you don’t like the work-life culture.
Is it better to have a conversation with your current manager repair any of your current issues so you don’t have to leave?
Do I know what I am looking for?
Change of sector, specific workload, progression opportunity, increased salary, work-life balance, flexibility to work in the office and at home, specific benefits or the type of work environment? There are many reasons you might be considering a job move but you need to know what they are, so your recruitment consultant better understands your needs and puts you forward for the most appropriate roles and firms.
How far am I willing to commute?
Don’t forget to consider any additional commuting costs – petrol, parking, train travel, even extra child-care time? Don’t underestimate the impact a long journey can have on your working day and your home life. If you don’t want a lengthy journey, look for a role closer to home and express this to your recruiter.
Alternatively, if you are prepared to commute for part of the week but not all of it ask your recruiter to explore flexible working arrangements with firms. Many employers have now moved to a more hybrid model with part of the week in the office and part at home or flexibility with hours worked. Let your recruiter know if this would work best for you.
Am I committed to taking time to attend an interview and to do the required pre interview preparation?
One of the positive changes to the world of work post pandemic is the that virtual interviews are here to stay so the days of always having to take half a day’s annual leave or rushing to an interview after work are behind us. Having said that, face to face interviews will still happen, so you still need to be committed to your job search.
Again, finding some time for pre interview preparation now easier with hybrid working being common practice, but the commitment is still required from your side.
What do I enjoy most about my current role?
Maybe it is your relationship with your colleagues, flexible working or the office culture. Bear these things in mind when considering what you want in your next role.
If your reason for wanting to leave is based on issues that can be resolved, you are best speaking to your manager first to try and sort them out. This can save time for you, the recruiter and the client particularly if you end up accepting the counter-offer.
Of course it is ok to change your mind throughout the process, but make sure you let your recruiter know as soon as possible.
If you have given due consideration to these questions and you still feel a change is the right option, then get in touch with Thornton Legal. We recruit Legal Assistants through to Senior Solicitors with roles available in all areas of Private Practice, from Commercial Disciplines to Private Client, Personal Injury, Family and everything in between.
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When you do land the perfect job here are some tips to create the best first impression in your new role:
Arrive on time, even better, early
Wether remotely or in person, it’s a good habit to get into from the outset and will ensure you’re ready and fully prepared for the day ahead.
Positive mental attitude
Always be positive, even if you’re not always feeling it. It will rub off on colleagues and ensure you’re seen as an optimistic, upbeat problem solver.
It’s important to dress like you mean business. Observe the dress styles of your new colleagues to get an idea of what is appropriate in your new work environment.
Get to know your colleagues, remember names!
Taking time to get to know your new colleagues will help you to feel comfortable in your new role and settle in quickly. Introduce yourself and ask them about themselves and, importantly, remember their names! Even if it means jotting them down initially.
Be friendly and professional
This will take you a long way and will make your colleagues more willing to help you out when you need it.
Be organised and proactive
During your first days in your new role listen carefully to everything you’re told and take notes. If you’re unsure, ask and be organised from the word go to ensure you stay on top of your workload.
Avoid office politics and gossip
While it is important to be friendly and engage with your new colleagues, avoid gossip and office politics, no matter how tempting it can be to join in. You start a new role with a clean slate and you want to keep it that way rather than clouding your initial impressions of the firm and the people you’re working with.
Ask questions and ask for help
If you’re unsure of something ask for help as people will expect this from a new colleague. As processes and procedures are being explained, ask questions to deepen your understanding and knowledge.
When colleagues do take time out of their busy schedule to show you the ropes and help you out, show your appreciation.
Don’t be a clock watcher and do volunteer for tasks over and above your role to show your enthusiasm and commitment to your employer.
Be quick to observe and slow to judge
Spend your first weeks observing how your colleagues approach their work. You will learn a lot and showing humility rather than judging people will stand you in good stead. Making mistakes is inevitable but turn them into positives by learning from them.
Participate in social events
This shows willing and that you’re keen to get to know your colleagues. You can learn a lot about the culture of the company in a more informal setting and it also helps to boost team building.
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We've been recruiters for a long time, and we like to think we've learnt a few things about what works and what doesn’t work in a recruitment process from instruction of a vacancy through to offer acceptance.
Here we go:
1. Don’t contact as many recruiters as you can when you have a vacancy and expect to have any more than superficial commitment from them. Speak to one recruiter exclusively and you’ll get 100% commitment, speak to 10 and you’ll get 10%. Most recruitment is payment by results, so we work on roles where we have the most chance of successful conclusions.
2. Don’t think having recruiters working at a low fee is a victory. Low fees mean low commitment – see above.
3. Do engage in the recruitment process. Take the time to meet recruiters you have chosen to work with, sell the firm, the role, the opportunity. We can only work with the information we have so if all we have is a one-line email then the job becomes really hard. On the flip side if we know the day to day duties, about the culture, benefits, progression, the team etc there is a much higher chance of success.
4. Do return calls, emails, give feedback in CVs in good time, give reasonable interview time slots – work with the recruiter not against them. If there is no feedback on CVs yet, tell us don’t ignore us! We need the information to keep the process ticking along and to keep candidates interested
5. Don’t ambush the candidate at interview with a grilling, expecting them to do all the talking. Interviews are two-way process. Most candidates will have more than one interview, so they need to feel wanted. Sell the opportunity and why your firm is a great place to work.
6. Do show them around the office, give them chance to meet some others in the team. This may not happen until the final interview stage, but it can work wonders. It’s the small touches that can make all the difference. Obviously easier in pre COVID times!
7. Don’t take the candidates contact details and contact them directly without letting the recruiter know. Trust me, most of the time it’s unnecessary and unhelpful.
8. Don’t offer the candidate the job on the spot, let us do the negotiation on your behalf. Don't let the process fall down at this crucial stage.
9. Don’t low ball when it comes to the offer. Whether or not the candidate accepts in the end it causes bad feeling. If you’re not paying market rate, then don’t be surprised if your new recruit doesn’t hang around too long as its very likely they can find a similar role paying more elsewhere.
10. Do be honest about the role at interview so there are no surprises when the new recruit starts. If they don’t know what they are coming into (positive and negative!) then, again, don’t be surprised if they move on quicker than expected.
11. Do have a good on boarding process!!
That’s it! Some you may agree with and some you won’t, but I honestly feel that giving these points due consideration will result in more successful and long-term recruits.