Legal candidates are often exceptionally intelligent and experienced, so we have compiled a few pointers to help you find candidates who are extra special.

When you start your search for a top candidate you need to have an idea of who that candidate is, what qualities they have and what makes them stand out from the rest of the pack.

In the legal industry there is often a long string of candidates who have achieved straight A’s throughout their academic career, gained a training contract at a top firm and have proven that they excel in their area of law. As the legal profession is so competitive to break in to it is likely that all the candidates will all have the qualities your clients have listed as highly desirable in a hire; it is your job to find the one whose character and values fit their firm to a T.

Starting your search

Patience is a virtue in recruitment, so take time at the very beginning to think about the type of characteristics you are looking for in a candidate, as well as their legal experience and qualifications.

Ensure you fully understand the job description, what the job entails, and have a good knowledge of the firm itself; consider taking the time to visit the firm in order to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Visiting the firm will not only give you an insight into the way the company works, but meeting the colleagues your candidate will be working with will give you a better understanding as to the legal professional you are looking for.

Once you have completed this step, you can start to incorporate these qualities into your search strategy, experimenting with search strings in recruitment databases and assessing the relevance of the results before you start actively using the information you find. Based on the information gained from each search, take steps to modify each search until you find a suitable volume of highly relevant results.

Look beyond recruitment databases

A database might be an easy place to start your search for the best candidate but it is vital to bear in mind that candidates are unlikely to include all their key skills and qualifications, only using buzzwords that they think recruiters are looking out for.

To utilise a recruitment database, it is advisable to make a shortlist of candidates who match the job criteria and start calling to find out more about each individual, as simply mentioning the right phrases is no indication of the capabilities of the candidate. In calling standout candidates you will learn two things essential in a legal professional: their oral communication skills and how they respond when put on the spot.

Recruitment databases are not only useful when searching with a specific job in mind, but could unearth the perfect candidate for a future role or one you have been working on for a long time.

What does a CV really tell you?

As with the recruitment database process, you won’t be getting the full story with a CV so extract what you need, what is relevant and call the candidate. Legal professionals will have had an abundance of experience and responsibilities, the majority of which they may forget to mention in a CV or see it as irrelevant for the role specified. It is the recruiter’s job as the professional, to ask the right questions of a candidate to extract the information you need; this is why it is particularly important to know the role inside out.

LinkedIn and Twitter are vital resources in recruitment, not only do they provide more information about the candidates you are currently interested in, but they will also throw candidates you hadn’t considered in your direction thanks to the helpful skills and endorsements section. Once you have found candidates, you can immediately ascertain a better understanding of their character from the way they put themselves across and how well they market themselves.

Social media gives candidates the opportunity to display a little of their personality in an environment which they know they are being assessed in, creating a balance between the formality of a CV and who they are off paper.

Who is your top legal candidate?

Each law firm will have different criteria, and finding the perfect legal professional to join their firm will require a fresh search strategy. Specialist BCL Legal are expert recruiters specialising in the legal industry and  have a vast network of law firms and connections in the legal industry which they have established over many years working in the sector. Working in a niche area of recruitment will give valuable insight into how the industry works and what type of candidate is typically suited to a certain role.

Successful recruitment is about the connections and knowledge you have at your finger tips, so that as soon as you learn that a position has opened up you can dip into your existing talent pool for a top legal candidate. It is worth taking the time to build strong relationships with candidates, as one candidate comes with numerous connections of their own.