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4 Legal Recruitment Dealbreakers

4 Legal Recruitment Dealbreakers

Just getting started with the job search process and feeling a bit anxious?  Completely understandable.  Perhaps you haven’t had to search for a new job in a while, and don’t quite remember all the “do’s and don’ts” of hiring.  This anxiety can be further compounded by the fact that hiring trends shift frequently.  The legal industry, especially, has been changing quite rapidly, becoming much more casual and informal than it used to be (though arguably still more conservative than most other industries).

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Bay Area legal recruiter about potentially making a career transition — whether to a new position or to a different practice area or industry — we encourage you to contact the team here at Garb Jaffe & Associates.  Our recruiters have extensive hands-on experience and deep insight into the legal industry in California, and understand how best to secure “ideal” placements for attorney-candidates looking to explore truly career-defining roles.

We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing comprehensive recruitment services: from beginning-to-end, we work closely with attorney-candidates to help them identify compatible positions and organizations, update their resumés, write a winning application, prepare for interviews, and follow-up as necessary.

Now, let’s briefly run through some of the basic legal recruitment dealbreakers so that you can steer clear of making these mistakes!

Consider the following.

Failing to Present in a Professional Manner

Professionalism is perhaps the single most important aspect of any hiring process.  Though the legal industry as become somewhat more “casual” over time, the truth is that this is primarily at a surface level — professional expectations remain high during the hiring process, where candidates should put their best foot forward.

Here are some professionalism considerations to bear in mind as you move forward with the hiring process:

    • Abide by company dress code for the interview
    • Bring a copy of your resumé to the interview
    • Avoid speaking negatively about a previous employer or colleague
    • Do not eat during the interview
    • Do not curse or use any other inappropriate language in communications with an employer, even if they seem like a trendy employer.
    • Do not be short with employers — make efforts to use friendly, polite language.  Say thanks and introduce yourself properly.  Being excessively “minimal” with your language can be perceived as rude.

Failing to Investigate the Employer and Position

Do you background research — either on your own, or preferably, with the assistance of a skilled legal recruiter who understands and has ties to the legal industry.  By fully investigating the employer and the position, you’ll know what to expect, and how best to cater your application (and interview responses) towards the particularities of the employer and the position.

For example, if you know that an in-house legal department that you’ll be applying to encourages work-from-home at least once or twice a week, then you should emphasize any previous remote arrangements that you were able to handle successfully (maintaining a high level of productivity).

Failing to Fully Prepare for the Interview

Preparing thoroughly for interviews is a critical part of a successful hiring process.  Though you should not necessarily have “canned answers” for every possible question, it’s important to prepare for more challenging questions (especially if you have an unconventional work background) so that you come across as confident — as opposed to scrambling to come up with a decent answer.

When preparing for an interview, it’s also worth investing the time into developing familiarity with certain questions that you’ll want to be asking the interviewers.  Asking the right questions can help you guide interviewers towards topics that you are more familiar with (and you’ll be able to impress them with your knowledge of said topics).  Further, it can help you express enthusiasm for the position.

Failing to Express Enthusiasm in the Position

Genuine enthusiasm is not only infectious, but also a pre-requisite to moving forward in the hiring process for an attorney position — in a highly competitive job market, firms and in-house legal departments are increasingly demanding a long-term “attitude fit.”  In other words, they are looking for attorneys who are compatible with the overall work environment and its responsibilities, someone who will not be looking to make an exit as soon as various difficulties arise.

For that reason, employers look to identify whether you are genuinely interested in the type of work that you’ll be doing as part of the organization — as genuine interest can help you push through more difficult work periods.

As a general rule, avoid too much early discussion about salary, bonuses, and work culture expectations (i.e., anything that could be perceived as “negativity” or “caution”).  That’s what a legal recruiter is for — here at Garb Jaffe, for example, we have extensive networks of attorneys and hiring managers in the California legal industry.  As such, we can provide inside information regarding the real work culture of a given organization, expected pay scales, and more.

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