Keeping Top Talent Warm this Winter: 5 Ways to Boost Engagement
With year-end around the corner, schedules have reached a fever pitch and recruiting is more of a juggling act than ever before. Between the holidays, executing on recruiting initiatives and end of the year meetings, identifying creative and efficient ways to maintain a strong candidate experience can be challenging. Here are five examples our recruiters shared from their work with law firm clients highlighting successful practices in maintaining momentum throughout the recruiting process:
- Proactive Communication. Applicants cite lack of communication as their main source of dissatisfaction in the recruiting process. We work with several law firm recruiting managers who successfully alleviate the issue by proactively providing status updates of candidate submissions. For example, one Am Law 50 client gives our recruiters “full and frequent disclosure” on the status of pending submissions. In lieu of addressing individual submissions upon our inquiry, we have a scheduled check-in, reviewing all pending submissions. This process increases efficiency, keeps talent informed, and creates a more seamless candidate experience.
- Advance Notice. Make your candidates feel valued and respected from the outset by communicating clear expectations on the timeline for decision-making and next steps. We work with several clients who let us know what to expect for a timeline at the out-set so there are no surprises and candidates can plan-ahead. It is ok to also communicate that this schedule may change. For example, we submitted a Counsel candidate to a boutique litigation firm client recently. They reached out immediately to express interest and communicate that the turnaround time would be delayed 2-3 weeks due to an upcoming trial. Providing this advance notice of both interest and next steps helped us keep the talent engaged and set a clear timeline. Importantly, the candidate could plan accordingly and did not misinterpret the lack of immediate movement as disinterest.
- Information is Power. While any answer is better than no answer when it comes to establishing positive candidate impressions, the number one question legal talent asks is “why.” Attorney candidates are often highly analytical and want to understand why a firm is or is not interested in his/her candidacy. Some of our clients stand-out by communicating their thought process, including an Am Law 50 client that keeps its feedback quick, succinct but informative. This client always provides at least one reason why it feels the candidate is or is not a fit. The messages are short and to the point, but successfully take the mystery out of the decision and empower us to keep the candidate informed on the client’s behalf, while also sourcing more effectively in the future.
- Personalize the Process. Maximizing personal touch-points is a highly effective way to improve the candidate experience as well as maintain momentum in recruiting. One of our clients in the Am Law 100 assigns an internal attorney sponsor to each partner candidate who interviews at the firm. That sponsor shepherds the candidate through their recruiting process, meeting the candidate in the first round and communicating with the candidate by text, phone and/or email throughout the process. This approach improves the candidate experience in several ways including:
- Maintains engagement despite potential time delays and gaps
- Provides the candidate an additional resource throughout the interview process
- Cultivates the candidate’s feelings of personal connection to the firm
- Begins the integration process during the interview phase
- Interim Steps. If there are delays in scheduling interviews due to coordinating schedules, travel or multiple candidates under consideration, consider alternate and interim steps to keep the candidate warm, engaged and feeling the love. We have several clients in and outside of the Am Law 200 who employ the following steps as alternatives to in-person interviews
- Conduct phone interviews
- Gather helpful materials (Writing Sample, Business Plan or Transcripts)
- Ask your Sourcing Recruiter to conduct in-person interviews addressing specific topics that will assist the firm in assessing the candidacy
Maintaining momentum during the recruiting process is critical to keeping priority candidates engaged. With an eye on communication, being proactive and collaborative utilizing these five methods and other similar practices, we can work together to deliver a positive candidate experience during even the most challenging times and most unexpected delays!