Alex Gotch of Beacon Legal discusses how a General Counsel can improve their interview process
General Counsels are experiencing how tough it is to hire. There are simply not enough lawyers available and those who are interviewing, often have multiple job offers.
Alex Gotch, a Director at Beacon Legal, has extensive experience helping firms to find top talent. He told Lawyers Weekly “General Counsels and Partners are struggling to sufficiently staff their teams, whether that be for growth or to backfill replacements, which is proving incredibly frustrating. As legal recruiters, we aim to coach our clients on how they can improve their interview processes and sell their offering, to maximise their chances of securing their preferred lawyer candidate. General Counsels and Partners should work to improve their hiring process and interviewing skills, just like they would with their legal skills, given how critical it is to build a great team.”
If you’re a General Counsel or Partner looking to hire, here are some top tips from Alex Gotch at Beacon Legal.
Prepare for the interview
Far too many interviewers just don’t do enough preparation. You should prepare thoroughly at least the day before and not just read a candidate’s CV for 5 minutes before the interview. Think about interviewing with two hats on when you’re preparing: Point 1) how will I assess this lawyer’s skills and suitability and Point 2) how am I going to sell the role and my company to this person?
Most General Counsels and Partners are comfortable with point 1).
Point 2) is the tricky one. Times have changed and we are in a “Candidate’s Market”. Lawyers know this. Lawyers have options when they’re job searching. It is often well outside the comfort zone for a senior lawyer to have to sell themselves to a junior lawyer.
As a hiring General Counsel, you need to sell your company, role and yourself. You also need to relate those elements to the lawyer’s interests and motivations. Matthew Edwards, Director at Beacon Legal, comments:
“Pick out their interests from their CV and LinkedIn: what interests them outside of work? Is this something they could get involved with at your company? Do you or anyone in your team have any common ground with them? Are there any values they care about which are reflective of your company?”
Know the top non-financial sells of your business
Beacon Legal has surveyed hundreds of lawyers and found the top 3 non-financial priorities for job searching lawyers are:
- Team culture
- Flexible working
- Training and progression
Before you interview the lawyer, can you provide detail on all of the above points? You should be knowledgeable of your company’s offering – don’t leave this job to HR at the end of an interview process – it’s much more powerful coming directly from you.
You should have a short pitch at the ready for each of the 3 top priorities and be listening for further useful information during the interview. All of this can be used to sell your offering.
The Red Carpet
You’ve decided to make the lawyer a job offer. Average offer/acceptance conversion rates in Australia are 1 in 4….so you have a 25% chance of getting their signature!
Like a lot of the above ideas, rolling out the “Red Carpet” treatment can be outside of the comfort zone.
But, your competitors are taking the interviewing lawyer for lunch, calling them directly with the offer and congratulations, arranging for them to meet the team for coffee, offering sign-on bonuses and more.
The little things can make all the difference in a competitive interview process. And they often do!
Looking to streamline your interview process?
If you’re a General Counsel or Partner and would like a free consultation on what you can do to improve your interview process and maximise your chances of hiring success, get in touch with Beacon Legal at