I must admit – I hate this question. GSL don’t have an in-house recruitment function and while it is on the agenda I struggle to find the right team.
However, when I do get this question I am always keen to give advice. Here are my top tips:
- Have you actually asked your clients?
It amazes me how few partners do this. When looking to make a senior hire in-house most businesses need someone who is technically strong but also someone who understands their business. In most cases where there is budget to hire most companies would prefer to hire someone they have worked with.
Tip: The best way to raise this is always discreetly. Your client may not be hiring but may get spooked at the thought of you moving from your current firm. Raising it in a social setting or even mentioning you have been head hunted for a couple roles recently which has got you thinking is a nice way to open the conversation. You may even go further and say you know of a partner who is considering a move and gage whether there is an opportunity.
I know suggesting a direct approach is blasphemy to recruiters but it really is the most obvious and successful method.
- Who is your head hunter?
I believe GSL are the best at what we do. Few law firms can compete with our track record when it comes to moving partners, launching offices and increasing client turnover.
We are also probably the worst in-house recruiter on the planet. It is not something we really do (with the exceptions of a couple big GC moves in the last decade). The best in-house recruiters have the contacts, mandates and track record to put them at the top of their industry. They also don’t need to chase candidates because they know with the right mandate they simply need to send a quick email out and they will be inundated with CVs. The key question is this: are they picking up the phone/emailing you?
Tip: Find out who the best recruiters are in your space and call all of them. You don’t need to tell them you are moving but you should let them know if the right thing came along you would want to know about it. I am a firm believer in meeting head hunters face to face to build that rapport so try and arrange a meeting. The best thing that will come out of it is you will be on their radar when the right role comes out to market. The worst, you get a free coffee and biscuit and waste 30 minutes of your time.
If anyone wants to know who I rate in the in-house industry feel free to contact me and I will pass on my recommendations.
This is a really obvious thing but social media is part of our everyday lives and LinkedIn is the most important form of social media for all lawyers but especially partners.
I appreciate most of the partners I work with have little time for social media but your clients do. Many scan through LinkedIn on a weekly basis – what will they see when they come across your profile? And if they are considering hiring at your level does your profile “sell” you enough to make them send you a message? Will recruiters looking for candidates for your dream role be tempted to approach you?
Tips: Firstly, always have a photo (professional as opposed to one with your pets – this isn’t Facebook after all). Secondly, have a strong overview of your career to date including previous firms. Thirdly, make sure your key skills are labelled and flagged up. This should include the most technical aspects like recruiting, managing a budget and other commercial aspects of your role. Finally, put down your personal details and make clear you are always happy to be contacted for views on the market. No one likes to be ignored or told to go away and unfortunately that’s the default fear when making an unsolicited approach. Make it easier on yourself but being welcoming to approaches.