All recruiters are not the same. Some are so bad at basic communication and listening skills that it’s hardly surprising that firms might be tempted to try online tools instead – and look to direct source their candidates. At the same time, law firms can often fail to appreciate that it takes two to tango: a successful recruiter relationship requires input and effort from both sides.

Get it right, though, and it can be a truly beneficial partnership that doesn’t just meet short-term needs, but supports a firm’s broader business strategy. And far from rejecting new recruitment tools, the good recruiter relationship will be one that helps firms to embrace change and opportunity.

Partnerships that work


Here are our top five tips for working with recruiters:

  • Think quality not quantity. Working with one or two recruiters who really understand your business will be more fruitful than casting the net wide in the hope of getting more candidates. This market is relatively small. A recruiter who knows you will also know how to source the best talent.
  • Invest time in building a relationship with your recruiter. A good recruiter should know his or her market inside out and will be delighted to share insights. Likewise, be willing to talk about your broader business requirements so that placements have a context and great talent can be sourced appropriately.
  • Give your chosen recruiter a chance to excel. A good brief and job spec will go a long way to enabling success. You can’t blame a recruiter for failing to ‘produce the goods’, if you haven’t indicated properly what it is you want and helped them ‘sell’ the opportunity. Remember, this is a market cluttered with roles that, on the face of it, may look similar.
  • Expect second-to-none communication from your recruiter throughout. Be wary of recruiters who try to overly systemise the process and just throw a load of CVs your way. You should get a proper discussion of requirements, a well-tailored shortlist of CVs, and a good explanation of why candidates have been chosen.
  • Support each other. A recruiter should have your back every step of the way – dealing with all administrative processes, including helping to set up interviews and guiding candidates throughout. Likewise, though, ensure you give your recruiter feedback on every candidate you meet. They will pass this on constructively and safeguard your reputation in the process. Even the best recruiters can’t work in a vacuum.


And as a bonus tip, be honest. If you’re not happy about the way things are turning out with a recruiter, let them know. A good recruiter will only be too keen to address concerns and talk through strategies for improvement.

Building relationships with recruiters might seem like hassle (and expense) compared to just clicking on a potential candidate’s LinkedIn profile. But direct sourcing isn’t as simple as it sounds – it can quickly incur its own time and costs (see our related post). As with most things in life, there are few shortcuts: effort achieves results.

Working effectively together, however, could go a long way to making the effort of recruitment easier and the success more pronounced and long-lasting.


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