Hiring corporate counsel in 2014 became exceedingly competitive as law departments battled for the most qualified candidates among a dwindling stack. Forty-three percent of law departments said they planned to hire in-house counsel in the coming year, according to a 2014 Altman Weil Chief Legal Officer Survey. Yet a significant percentage of law departments have reported difficulty finding qualified legal professionals for the job.
The rising demand for high-quality candidates is just one of several industry trends reshaping the legal landscape for 2015. If your company wants to become a contender in this new arena, you must not only understand what factors are influencing market change, but also how to use those factors to stand out to top performers.
Here are three factors we are certain will impact companies in the coming year.
Legal Candidates Have More Power
Many companies think talent is still plentiful, but we’re finding the most talented candidates are much more selective than they’ve been in several years. Often referred to as “passive candidates," they tend to be less visible because they don’t necessarily advertise the fact that they’re seeking a new position, if in fact they are. If top legal candidates do make their interest known, they’re rarely on the job market for long.
The Market Has Shifted to Digital
Generation-Y is having a profound influence on the future of all industries, including legal. They grew up in the digital era, possess an innate understanding of technology and are experts at utilizing advanced tools to set an unprecedented pace for the market.
Tactics for Hiring Legal Counsel Are Changing
The omnipresence of online job postings and professional networks have made it much easier to bring a plethora of candidates to a hiring managers fingertips, but that doesn’t mean legal recruiting has gotten any easier. In many cases, it’s becoming more difficult for hiring managers to sort through an overwhelming stack of resumes.
These are just three of many indicators that legal recruiting isn’t what it used to be. Rather than becoming frustrated with these changes, smart companies use them to their advantage.
Improve Employee Retention
High employee retention rates are hugely appealing to prospective talent, and employees with longstanding tenure are your most influential brand ambassadors. Employee retention is indicative of the quality of your company’s culture and environment. If your employee retention isn’t a strong selling point, consider offering more training opportunities, orchestrating team building exercises or working with a legal recruiting firm that is specifically trained to find employees who are highly compatible with your company culture.
Sell the Opportunity
Today’s top legal professionals are looking for more than an attractive salary. You need to sell them on your company and the unique opportunities it will offer them just as much as they need to convince you that they are the right fit for the position. It’s crucial that you know enough about the candidate to discuss potential opportunities for advancement, such as becoming a valued member of the C-Suite, leading a team or a task force and being in charge of high-stake decisions.
Partner With a Top Legal Recruiting Firm
Although LinkedIn and other social channels can help you identify candidates who are actively seeking a position, some of the best candidates never post a resume. They may not even be interested in making a career move until someone approaches them with the right opportunity. Partnering with a legal recruiting firm that specializes in hiring in-house counsel can help you identify both active and passive candidates and devote the time it takes to thoroughly evaluate them.
Empower your search by hiring a legal recruiting firm that will allow you to compete with other companies doing the same. The right legal recruiters can identify an exact fit for your in-house counsel position even in a tight market.
BarkerGilmore has the expertise and established networks required to find the best candidates. Find out what makes us unique.