The Great Recession of 2008-2009 left many legal professionals facing a “new normal,” a phrase used to describe changes in the legal industry to drive increased efficiency. At one recent industry conference, the National Association of Legal Search Consultants 2013 Annual Conference, panelists from law firms and in-house legal departments shared insights on how attorney recruiting has adapted to the new normal. Here are four trends job-seeking attorneys can expect to face in 2013:
#1: Prior in-house experience helps. The majority of the in-house panelists noted that they prefer to hire attorneys who have experience working in a corporate legal department. What if you want an in-house role but don’t have prior in-house experience? Focus on your knowledge of the company’s business when applying or interviewing. The reason the in-house panelists prefer candidates with prior in-house experience is because of their business and industry knowledge. Candidates with firm backgrounds may have similar business or industry knowledge and need to emphasize this experience in the interview process.
#2: Behavioral interviewing is here to stay. An increasing number of law firms now incorporate behavioral interviewing when hiring attorneys at all levels. For example, to assess a candidate’s ability to work as part of a team, the interviewer might ask questions like:
a. What teams have you been a part of?
b. What role did you play on those teams?
c. What did you do to fulfill your role?
d. What did you do to develop productive relationships with others on the team?
The hiring committee would have concerns if the candidate’s responses indicate that he or she:
a. Has avoided being part of teams or groups
b. Has held few or no leadership roles in any teams
c. Did not offer assistance to others on the teams
d. Made little or no effort to get to know other team members or build rapport and relationships beyond what was necessary
e. Blamed other team members for the problems on the team
f. Continuously self-promoted
#3: Non-partner track positions are on the rise. The majority of the law firm panelists said they’ve seen an increase in demand for non-partner track attorney positions, like staff attorneys. Many firms are using recruiters to hire these positions, so let your recruiter know if you are open to non-partner track positions.
#4: Employers Google candidates. Finally, more hiring authorities run a Google search on candidates to see if the candidates have social media profiles. One panelist noted that he wants to make sure a candidate’s career path on his LinkedIn profile matches what’s on the candidate’s resume or is discussed in an interview. Another panelist noted that he looks to see what Facebook pages a candidate has “liked” to get a better sense of that candidate’s cultural interests.
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