Direct sourcing is becoming more popular as a recruitment strategy among law firms. We see some firms using it as a very effective part of their hiring process, especially in roles that can be managed relatively easily in-house. Some firms are really good at it and good on them. Other firms not so much.

What concerns us, though, is those who may see direct sourcing as the only recruitment strategy of the future – bypassing other routes that have proved very successful in attracting and retaining the right talent.

In this piece, we provide what we hope are useful do’s and don’ts when it comes to this new way of thinking.

Embracing the new

We fully understand the rising interest in direct sourcing. With professional networks like LinkedIn now giving businesses far greater access to talent, firms are understandably keen to explore the possibilities for entering the candidate market direct.

We always support our law firm partners who wish to try out direct sourcing. Some choose to direct source some of the easier roles where they have more confidence, leaving us to help on more complex, difficult to source, positions. Others take a dual approach, asking us to research our networks, while they do the same. They then take a view on the best candidate from the combined pool, but keep their options open to ensure the role is filled.

As far as we are concerned, this is a sensible approach – in which we can fully engage with our clients to ensure the best result.

Understanding the challenges

We worry, though, where firms might see direct sourcing as the be-all-and-end-all. And driven by just one priority: to reduce costs. When this happens, we see law firm recruiters asking the wrong questions – namely, how much money can we save, rather than how can we secure the best person for this role.

We have seen this in practice among some of the CVs we have received from recruitment managers looking for jobs. More are highlighting how they have reduced recruitment spend by X amount as achievement number one. But what is the chief purpose of their role? Is it to reduce spend? Or is to hire the best, most suitable person?

As recruiters, we have spent many years building up our networks and we have the processes in place to work smartly. We can often source faster and more efficiently and deal with the long administration tail that trails behind.

Not only that, but we will ensure that all leads are closed off professionally, giving the right feedback as required to ensure all candidates leave the process with a positive impression of the firm concerned.

We recently spoke to a candidate who was approached directly by a firm about a role. They suggested he go into the firm for a meeting and he agreed. And then he heard nothing. Next thing, he received a rejection letter saying he’d been unsuccessful at the interview stage. He’d never had an interview. Worse, as he relayed this tale, he was passing on his now tarnished view of the firm to others.

So think and plan before you direct source roles. You will have some wins, but not always. And the more you take in-house, the more resources you will need to manage the process properly. Because it is your reputation at stake if you don’t.

A united approach

We understand the buzz around finding a ‘whole new way of doing things’ especially if you think it’ll save a bundle. But be wary of counterproductive measures. Cutting us out completely (as some do) means ending a hugely productive relationship. We want to be partners, not competitors.

We want to work with you on developing the right recruitment model that embraces the best of both new and more traditional methods. Our raison d’être remains the same: to help you secure the very best people, in a way that builds and protects your brand, and at the most effective price. But, in our view, the latter should not totally drive the former.


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