Recruiters can offer invaluable information and guidance during your job search and throughout your legal career long before or after a move. Here are a few tips for working most effectively with your recruiter and leveraging their knowledge and experience to benefit your job search:
Establish a relationship with a recruiter you trust early on. Take advantage of us. We have information on the market to share and we can offer you the benefit of our experience working with hundreds of other lawyers over the years who may have faced similar circumstances and decisions. It doesn’t cost you anything to have a conversation once in a while. Then if and when you are ready to make a move, you’ll know which recruiter has the best relationships with employers, which recruiter is most knowledgeable about the market you’re exploring (and the market you’re coming from, if different) and which recruiter you trust to best advocate for you and guide you through the process.
Work with one trusted and knowledgeable recruiter. While it may be beneficial to touch base with multiple recruiters if you’re looking for in-house positions, when exploring law firm options, working with multiple recruiters often leads to problems—at worst, duplicate submissions and at best, an imperfect management of your timing and leveraging of offers.
Allow your recruiter to adequately prepare. If you’re ready to make a move, send your resume and deal sheet if you have one ready in advance of an introductory call. This will make for a more efficient conversation if you’re pressed for time. Of course, if you’re not actively looking to move, no need to send a resume just to open the dialogue.
Give us all the logistical details. Then let us decide what may be important to share with the prospective employer and at what stage. For example, if you would need a delayed start date due to notice periods, school calendars, leases, etc., or if you do not yet have work authorization in the U.S., please let us know upfront.
Give us all the substantive information to work with. I recently spoke with a partner candidate who told me, “Don’t be offended. I value your knowledge and input but no one can sell me better than I can sell myself.” And he’s largely right. Recruiters can be instrumental in determining how to best present you to prospective employers, but without your substantive input, our abilities are limited. So don’t be the candidate who tells your recruiter simply, “Submit me!” Empower us with as much information as you can. For example, give us bullet points/sound bites covering why you’re looking to make the move and why in your own words you believe you’d be a good asset to the new team. See my post on cover letters for more details.
If you are working with other recruiters or applied anywhere on your own, let us know where and when right from the start. And keep us posted on the progress so we can best manage the timing and leverage your other interviews/offers.
Keep us posted on your thinking. We’re here as a source of information—in terms of the substance of opportunities and the logistics of the job search process—but we’re also here to be a sounding board. Let us know what concerns you may have so we can dispel any rumors or flag issues that may indeed be real concerns. Let us know your thinking on why you’re leaning towards accepting one offer over another.
When in doubt, run it by us first. If you don’t know how to answer a question a firm poses or you don’t know what to say when a partner is calling you with a verbal offer…if you don’t know if a detail is important enough to share, JUST ASK.
The bottom line: It’s better for everyone if there are no surprises! There’s no such thing as “too much information” when it comes to working with your recruiter. Give us all the information and let us do our best work for you! If you’d like to discuss your job search, have questions about the lateral process or just want to open a dialogue for general career guidance, please reach out to me at .