As a recruitment consultant, I work to promote a client’s brand when speaking to prospective candidates. But, sometimes, more could be done by the client to promote their brand in the right way to beat the competition when recruiting top talent.

Throughout the past year, Totum has seen high volumes of recruitment. This is especially true at the more junior end of the market. Here, the best candidates will interview at multiple firms and receive numerous offers. They then have a decision to make.

Several factors can influence their ultimate decision, including salary and title. But the candidate’s experience of a particular firm’s recruitment process will often sway it.

Getting off to a good start

We see many job descriptions. They all tend to say more or less the same thing: they will be headed by a brief description of the firm, followed by the responsibilities and essential requirements of the role.

While bigger might be better for some, to rely exclusively on bragging rights by size (something the men reading this may relate to…) and a firm’s global reach is not enough for most candidates. They want to know what it’s like to work for a specific firm.

This is where the recruiter’s role can be limited. We can provide a candidate with background on team structure, the role and the firm. But more can be done by the client to help make their job description stand out from the umpteen others.

Every candidate preparing for interview should conduct extensive research into the firm they are planning to meet. There is an opportunity here, however, for the firm to send a message to promote their brand – inspiring a candidate to want to join their firm.

At present, few law firms capitalise on the opportunity to write something specific about their firm, and, as a result, increase the attractiveness of their firm to the candidate applying. Do you just want to be known as a ‘leading law firm’ – something your direct competitors also state on their job description?

Some firms seize this moment, providing candidates with additional marketing supplements that offer insight into what it’s like to work for their firm – before the candidate even sits down for their first interview. Our candidates love this.

To the interview and beyond…

When prepping a candidate for interview, we can brief them on the culture of the firm to some extent. When submitting a specific candidate to a particular firm, Totum works hard to match personalities to ensure ultimate ‘fit’. But this is ultimately subjective and will be determined by the candidate and client during the interview.

When a candidate attends an interview they essentially have to ‘sell’ themselves to the client. But the notion of selling applies to the hiring firm as well. It is important that the candidate gets the right impression of the firm – reaffirming their ambition to work there.

Every so often a candidate will leave an interview not wanting to progress further because of the ‘feel’ of the firm. This is a rare case, but one worth noting.

As the expression goes, ‘the early bird gets the worm’. As the best candidates are often talking to several firms, it is important to move quickly throughout the application process so as to not miss out.

If you have received the CV of a particular candidate, then assume that another firm has too. Totum likes to tell our clients where (if anywhere) our candidates are interviewing and at what stage they are at in the process. But most recruiters have at some point had to tell a client that a promising candidate is no longer available.

Candidates love feedback as much as law firms; it is lack of clarity on a situation that can throw them off. They want to know if their hard work paid off. Following an interview any feedback is good.

Seeing it through

The ‘offer and acceptance’ stage of the recruitment process is the moment when the client is most vulnerable. You have screened many CVs, interviewed numerous candidates and ‘whittled it down’ to just one.

This takes me back to the beginning of my blog: the best candidates often have numerous offers. It is important not to get drawn into a Dutch auction, but the offer has to be competitive. It also has to be what the candidate originally asked for – which your recruiter should have informed you of at the beginning of the process.

Totum is here to facilitate recruitment. We are here to make it easier for both candidates and clients. We value our obligations to both parties and the importance of our role.

We will, of course, manage a candidate’s application process – that is our job. But the most successful hires are those that see the client and consultant work together to promote the brand. This is the key to beating the competition.

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