Speaking to candidates this year has been an interesting and informative task. Some of their tales of previous experiences with recruiters have demonstrated to Joe and I why we set up our own recruitment business in the first place. It has also served as a great reminder of the standards we aspire towards for our own business.

We wanted to see how we could keep on improving the services we offer at Thornton legal and recently decided to survey some of our existing candidates to try to identify what they liked and what they disliked about recruiters and the recruitment experience generally. The results were very interesting.

Many candidates found their previous interaction with recruiters to be a positive experience but struggled to name them, even the ones who had placed them in their current jobs. This worried us.

Others had a less favourable perception that involved one or more of the following:

  • “Being kept in the dark as to applications”
  • “Not being contacted when they were told they would be provided with an update”
  • “Recruiters sending cv’s to firms without the candidate’s permission”
  • “Their consultant not knowing enough about the role or firm”
  • “The application for a particular job falling down over salary at the 11th hour”
  • “Recruiters not taking the time to find out what the candidate actually wants”
  • “The role being very different to the one painted by the recruiter”
  • “Was a hindrance rather than a help”

A fair number, thankfully, gave glowing appraisals of the recruiters that had helped them find their perfect role. Some of the more positive comments included:

  • “Going above and beyond what I had come to expect of a recruitment consultant”
  • “Was knowledgeable and well informed and knew a lot about the culture of the firm, the team and the role itself”
  • “Took the time to understand what the candidate actually wanted from a job”
  • “Managed expectations and kept the candidate in the loop throughout the process”
  • “Helped out with interview preparation”
  • “Was trustworthy and efficient”
  • “Was easily contactable and seemed genuinely interested in helping”

It struck us that in a candidate driven market awash with legal recruiters that we needed to take on board what our most valuable commodities were telling us. Without them we simply wouldn’t have a successful business.

It simply isn’t good enough not to respond to enquiries, not to get back in touch when we say we will get back in touch, not to prepare candidates properly for interview. I remember only too well from my own time as a solicitor in private practice, the frustrations I had with some recruiters who suggested roles to me that didn’t fit with my experience or ambitions, who didn’t call me back, who didn’t offer constructive feedback or advice.

Thornton Legal is keen to buck the current trend of impersonal legal recruitment. We want to meet candidates, to get to know them, to offer a consultative approach to recruitment that ensures that each and every candidate we deal with feels as though we have listened to their needs.

We have received some fantastic testimonials from candidates placed through us recently. We think we are doing the right things. The recurring themes we came across were; acting with integrity, a knowledge of the market, offering a personal service and believing that we care.

We are happy that our candidates value the service that we offer but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. The recent survey has highlighted just how competitive the legal recruitment industry is and that candidates have a lot of choice as to who represents them.

The best kind of marketing a recruiter can get is our recommendation from a happy candidate to one of their colleagues. The number of referrals we have had this year is testimony to this.

There are a lot of legal recruiters in the North West. Some are great. The majority are pretty average. We want to be able to stand out from the crowd and ensure that we are memorable. We can only do this if we do what we say we are going to do and apply the Thornton Legal ethos consistently to each and every candidate we represent.

If you are a lawyer working in the North West who wants to have an open and honest chat about the job market, your career or an opportunity advertised on our website, we would be happy to take the time to listen. We appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to speak during the day and are only too happy to put time aside in the evenings or at weekends if this suits you better. We are fairly certain that we can help. We are absolutely certain that if we can’t help, you will still come away from the conversation having thought it was a positive and constructive experience.

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Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Chester and Preston. We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today on 0151 307 5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career.