Lauren Chester consultant, Melbourne, Australia...
It seems rather obvious, but candidates and recruiters work best together (and achieve the most favourable outcomes) when there is a healthy, ongoing line of communication. However all too often, communication can break down, leaving both sides wondering what went wrong!?
Effective communication starts with the very first call with your consultant. Be frank about what you are looking for. If you’ve already spoken to other recruiters or sent your CV to firms in the market, say so. This is perhaps the most useful piece of information you can offer, as it means you and your consultant can effectively map out any missing pieces of the puzzle and identify any relevant opportunities to explore.
Communication becomes even more crucial as you progress through the recruitment process, particularly with interviews. It’s natural to feel that once this part of the process is arranged, you’re all set to go it alone, but this is not necessarily the case. A good consultant will always want to ensure you are well prepared; no matter how recently you last interviewed or how senior you become, this really can make all the difference. A consultant knows their client and more specifically what they will and won’t be looking for – their advice can be very helpful and give you an edge over other prospective interviewees. They can assist you with answering any tricky or nuanced questions relating to your CV, guide you away from certain topics that may not leave the best first impression, and most importantly, offer you a great insight into what to expect from the interviewer.
Throughout any process, you should also remember to keep your consultant updated on developments at your end - whether that be another opportunity you’ve become aware of, changes at your current firm, changes in your expectations, or even that you’re having second thoughts about making a move altogether. This is essential as it means that you are both on the same page, and the consultant can ensure they are providing you the most relevant and helpful advice.
The legal field is a surprisingly small world – whether you are a recruiter or a lawyer, not keeping people in the loop can have negative ramifications. A particular experience comes to mind...Initially, things were going very well; the candidate was engaged and excited about opportunities, attending interviews, when communication started to break down. They became more difficult to contact, and after entering the final stage with their ‘dream firm’ (and several weeks of chasing) they withdrew from the process without explanation and ceased further communication. The firm had invested a lot of time in this individual and were keen to proceed. However, after the initial excitement had passed, it became clear that this was no longer what the candidate wanted. This of course is perfectly reasonable; we can all change our mind, but from the firm’s perspective, more damage had been done than if this had this been communicated sooner and an explanation given. Through lack of communication the candidate inadvertently tarnished the firm's positive impression and burned any bridges they may have initially built. It’s fairly likely they’ll encounter the interviewing Partners as opposite parties on future deals, which could be a little awkward!
What you can expect from a good recruiter
The responsibility of good communication does not fall solely on the candidate - this is a two-way street! A consultant needs to uphold their end of the bargain, setting your expectations regarding timescales from the outset and providing regular updates. You should also expect open communication around what the general recruitment process is, what you’ll be facing from interviewers, and insightful market information on remuneration and past offers.
Remember that using a recruiter has a myriad of benefits - good communication from both sides will mean you are best positioned to take full advantage of these; getting the most out of your search and cementing your chances of securing a dream career move!