10 Secrets Legal Recruiters Don't Want You To Know - Unlock the Hidden Benefits of Working with a Legal Recruiter | BCGSearch.com

10 Secrets Legal Recruiters Don't Want You To Know - Unlock the Hidden Benefits of Working with a Legal Recruiter


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BCG Attorney Search is a legal placement firm and not a legal recruiting firm. There is a huge difference. Read more about this here.

Legal recruitment is a highly competitive area that requires certain strategies to succeed. Unfortunately, legal recruiters often do not provide helpful advice to candidates. This article outlines 10 things that most legal recruiters usually keep to themselves.

First, legal recruiters often do not tell you when your background is not suited to the existing job openings. Many recruiters will still try to place you in an unsuitable job, making it difficult for you to succeed.

Second, recruiters seldom tell you when a law firm is having financial difficulties. It is better to be aware of the firm's financial health before committing to a job.

Third, legal recruiters do not always inform you of their other activities. Many recruiters act as consultants and engage in other activities outside of recruitment, which can affect their ability to help you find a job.

Fourth, legal recruiters rarely tell you when they have a vested interest in placing a particular candidate. If a recruiter is being paid a bonus for placing a certain candidate, it is important for you to know this before accepting a job.

Fifth, legal recruiters do not always provide accurate information about current job openings. It is important to do your own research or contact the firm directly to find out which positions are actually available.

Sixth, legal recruiters do not always tell you about the benefits and drawbacks of different practice areas. Knowing the nature and scope of the job is essential for making a well-informed decision.

Seventh, recruiters do not always provide accurate information about potential salary and compensation packages. Lawyers should be aware of this before accepting offers in order to ensure they are being fairly compensated.

Eighth, legal recruiters do not always tell you when they are not actively recruiting. This means you might be wasting your time with a recruiter who cannot actually help you find a job.

Ninth, legal recruiters may not inform you of potential conflicts of interest. It is important to be aware of any potential conflicts before working with a recruiter.

Finally, legal recruiters often do not tell you about the importance of networking. Networking is essential for finding out about job openings and staying up to date on industry news.

Legal recruiters have a lot of valuable information to share, but they often withhold or give inaccurate information. It is important for lawyers to understand the realities of legal recruitment, including the 10 things mentioned in this article, in order to make informed decisions.


The legal recruiting industry is unique. With the goals of placing attorneys in new positions and, most importantly, helping attorneys' careers progress by finding the appropriate match, there is an important responsibility that falls on the shoulders of legal recruiters. However, unlike the practice of law, the top legal recruiting firms and those that aren’t the best in the industry are not regulated by the states. No licenses are needed. Therefore, anybody who wishes to become a legal recruiter (whether a former car salesperson, captain of a cruise liner or an exotic dancer with good people skills) can easily hang out a shingle and call him/herself a recruiter, and they may or may not be able to find legal jobs to those who want law firm employment. No licenses, tests, or ethical-fitness qualifications are necessary. "Not an attorney, and you have no knowledge of the legal market or of the current legal opportunities? No problem!"
How to Choose a Legal Recruiter: The 10 Things Most Legal Recruiters Will Not Tell You

Legal Recruiters: What They Don't Tell You

A legal recruiter is a professional employment consultant who specializes in placing legal professionals with potential employers. Recruiters can also counsel these legal professionals on career planning, salary negotiation, and marketing themselves to employers. Many recruiters are affiliated with law firms, but there are also recruiters who work independently. Each has their own approach to helping those looking for legal jobs, yet there are some common “rules of thumb” that they rarely share.

Types of Legal Recruiters

The types of legal recruiters vary greatly. Some are simply service providers, while others are more like advisors, consultants, or counselors. Some recruiters specialize in specific areas of law, while others offer a more generalized service. Additionally, some recruiters are employed by law firms, while others operate independently or as part of a larger recruitment firm.

Why Use a Legal Recruiter?

Using a legal recruiter can be a great way for those seeking legal employment to gain access to potential employers. A good recruiter can provide valuable advice and assistance in setting up interviews, negotiating salary, and networking with employers. Furthermore, recruiters often have access to exclusive job postings that may not be available to the general public.

Advantages of Working With a Legal Recruiter

For legal professionals seeking employment, working with a legal recruiter can provide a number of advantages. Recruiters often have established relationships with law firms and other legal employers and can be a valuable resource in helping to find the right job. Furthermore, recruiters are often able to provide guidance on salary negotiations and help to market the applicant to potential employers. Additionally, recruiters can often provide valuable insight into the local legal market and can help legal professionals to understand the nuances of the job-search process.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Of course, we are not saying these things to denigrate the legal recruiting industry as a whole. The best legal headhunters deserve  a high level of respect. However, the harsh reality is that due to the lack of regulation in this industry, not all recruiters representing people who want legal careers are created equal. Thus, it is in your best interest to find a recruiter that practices legal recruiting in the same way you practice law—with the utmost professionalism and dedication.

There are very few articles on the inner workings of legal recruiting companies. This article talks about some of the dangerous trends we see occurring among many recruiting companies who say they are assisting those in their legal job search, which are important to you because they affect the manner in which your career is handled. This article also illustrates some of the things we at BCG Attorney Search do to distinguish ourselves so that we can practice legal recruiting at the highest level and, most important, provide our candidates who want legal employment with a leg up on the competition in their job searches.


1. Most Legal Recruiting Firms Are Not Equipped with Resources to Provide the Highest Standard of Representation.


Most legal search firms are not serious organizations because they typically do not invest in heavy market research or growing their businesses. Furthermore, most are very small organizations (perhaps with a telephone answering service) that are based out of and operate from home offices. While there are certainly recruiters who are very small but still very effective because they are appropriately focused on jobs for attorneys, most legal recruiting companies do not invest in developing the manpower, research/job-searching capacity, or general resources to provide the highest level of service.


Think of this: If you were looking for an attorney to handle your most important legal issue, would you rather use a sole practitioner working from a home office or a respected law firm with established offices, a group of attorneys who are intimately familiar with your exact issue, discounted access to Lexis/Westlaw to ensure that research is exhaustive, and the benefit of years of institutional and expert knowledge that is freely shared among the attorneys handling your case? Better yet, what if you had this choice AND the cost to you was the same: free (as you may know, legal recruiters don't charge the candidates; the fees are paid by law firms)? Whom would you choose?

Why is this dangerous for you? Working with a recruiting company that has limited resources will result in limited opportunities for you. It's that simple.

At BCG Attorney Search, a division of The Employment Research Institute, we are part of a large international organization with more than 10 offices strategically located throughout the U.S. and other offices in Europe and Asia. As the first Employment Research Institute company, our intense research in the legal market has led to the creation of the largest legal job board in the world, the largest legal outplacement company in the world, the largest law school loan company (a federally recognized lending institution), the largest attorney resume company in the world; and we have significant operations in both the United States and abroad. We have founded numerous companies, including a legal staff company. We own multi-million dollar real estate holdings.

Most relevant to you, we employ more than 150 researchers in our core company and have more than 30 full-time programmers working for us. Our researchers consistently monitor the market so that we have the most recent openings at our fingertips, and our programmers create the most advanced database technology, which ensures that you have the quickest and most immediate access to the most opportunities. In this field, timing is everything. Therefore, we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our recruiters are also treated very well. They are all employees of the company and have 401(k) plans, health coverage, and all of the attributes that any serious organization offers.

There is simply no legal recruiting firm—anywhere—with the breadth of resources we have in this industry. We are exceptionally good at what we do, and we are run as a professional organization that does great things. For our candidates, that means we can provide an exceptionally high level of service, a level far above anything else out there in the market. We are serious about what we do, and it comes through in everything we do.

See the following articles for more information:


2. Most Other Legal Recruiting Firms Are Comprised of People Not Serious about Legal Recruiting.


Many of these legal recruiters are populated with people who dropped out of the practice of law because they did not like the pressure and were looking for easier jobs, where they did not have to work as hard. The entire style of business at these organizations is either very cavalier and casual or extremely aggressive, where the focus is on just making a placement at any and all costs, regardless of whether it is likely to be a good long-term fit.

Why is this dangerous for you? Working with legal recruiters who are not serious about their profession will likely cause you unending frustration and regret on many levels.

At BCG Attorney Search, a great majority of our recruiters were successful attorneys at top law firms, who frequently received calls from legal recruiters. BCG recruiters transitioned into legal recruiting not because they wanted an easier lifestyle, but because of their passion and demonstrated commitment to recruiting and helping people. They were selected because they are not only compassionate, but also intense, focused, Type-A overachievers. Our recruiters are expected to be (and are) in the office early and work hours comparable to attorneys. They undergo an intense initial screening (including personality profiling and multiple rounds of interviews) before being hired and receive training on an annual basis. Our recruiters are the sorts of people whom you would also take seriously if they were practicing law. Our recruiters are high achievers who exceed the norms of the recruiting industry by a great margin. Our recruiters are passionate about what they do. They spend evenings and weekends speaking to candidates and other recruiters. Our recruiters are regularly quoted in the news media, write articles frequently, and all have very strong backgrounds. In addition, our recruiters communicate as a group each day; therefore, they all have a good understanding of the market at all points in time.

The work ethic our recruiters bring to their positions makes a major difference when you are looking for a position. When looking for a legal recruiter, whom would you want representing you?

See the following articles for more information:


3. Most Other Legal Recruiters Try to Take on Too Many Different Types of Searches and Are Not Focused.


Most other legal recruiters will place you in whatever type of job they can—whether the position is inside a law firm or corporation (or wherever). In order to make a few more bucks, some will place contract attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries, in addition to attorneys. In many instances, some recruiters out there will place accountants, manufacturing plant managers, and attorneys all at the same time.

It takes an incredible amount of time to learn the intricacies of the legal market, just like it takes a lot of time to become an expert on a particular area of the law. If you had a divorce law matter, would you be comfortable using an attorney whose practice also consisted of patent law and education law?

Why is this dangerous for you? While some people may be impressed that a recruiting firm does in-house and law firm placements or contract attorney and paralegal placements, this is something that you should view with a great deal of skepticism. This may harm you when you are looking for a job because a "Jack of all trades, master of none" recruiter will not be able to provide you with the highest level of knowledge about the particular area in which you are seeking a new job.

There are several levels to our focus at BCG Attorney Search. In fact, our focus is fanatical. First, we only place attorneys in permanent positions inside law firms. This is all we do, and we do not do anything else besides this. The reason for this is that our focus helps us be aware of the idiosyncratic nature of our market and understand what is going on inside the market at all times. Furthermore, having this focus also enables our recruiters to not get distracted.

For example, if you were a recruiter in Silicon Valley and Google was suddenly hiring a number of in-house attorneys, you might concentrate on this for some time. However, how much good would this be for your candidates seeking positions inside law firms? In some recruiting firms, they only become interested in the law firm market when the in-house market slows down. Would you want this firm advising you on the market?

At BCG Attorney Search, we take our focus one step further. We are also geographically focused. Our recruiters in each region of the United States can only work with candidates seeking positions in that area of the United States. Accordingly, our recruiters are only monitoring and working with law firms in a given city/state/region. This focus makes a major difference on several levels. On one level, our recruiters speak with the hiring partners and recruiting personnel inside most of these law firms on a weekly basis. Our recruiters see these recruiting personnel at local events and visit them in their offices. Most important, our recruiters know what is going on inside each of these markets and have behind-the-scenes knowledge of opportunities, often before they are announced. This precision gives you an advantage when you are looking for a position.

  See the following articles for more information:

4. A Model Based on Proprietary and Territorial Listings as Opposed to Shared Information Among Recruiters.


Some recruiting firms may divide up a city and allow only certain recruiters to send candidates to a given firm. For example, if there were four recruiters servicing New York City, each recruiter might be responsible for 25 separate firms. If one of those four recruiters wanted to send the candidate to any of the other 75 firms they would need to go through one of those other three recruiters to do so and would have to split any compensation from placing that candidate with the other recruiter. Given the disincentive to split a fee, many recruiters in this situation only send their candidates to their 25 firms. In addition, we have heard stories where one recruiter in an office does not like another recruiter in the same office and therefore will bar the other recruiter from sending candidates to his/her own firms. As a result, in some recruiting firms, you may actually be limited to applying to very few firms by the randomness of the recruiter to whom you are assigned.

While the problem above may sound serious, some recruiters work with only a few firms at a time! In this case, you may only have the option of applying to a handful of firms.

At BCG Attorney Search, we do not divide up law firms among recruiters. A recruiter in a given geographic area at BCG Attorney Search can send his/her candidates to any firm in that geographic area. This means when you approach BCG Attorney Search, you have the entire market open to you. This is not something you are going to get at every major legal recruiting firm.


5. A Business Model Based Solely on Cold Calling.


A recruiting firm whose model is based solely on cold calling can limit your access to all of the available opportunities without your even knowing it. Here is why: If the recruiter is calling attorneys in a firm and the firm finds out, it will likely "ban" that legal recruiter from making placements in its law firm because the recruiter has sent the message that he/she does not consider that firm to be a client. If you were working as a recruiting manager in a law firm, how would you feel if an outside recruiter with whom you had an existing relationship had a candidate interviewing with your firm on Monday morning, but was cold-calling into your firm later that afternoon? The danger with cold calling-focused recruiters is that given the nature of the market, they are forced to choose their "placer" firms and their "taker" firms. In other words, half of the market consists of firms in which they place attorneys, and the other half consists of firms from which they take attorneys (i.e., firms into which they call).

Why is this dangerous for you? If there is a great opportunity at Firm X, but your recruiter simply won't mention it to you because Firm X is among the 50% of "taker" firms, you have missed out on a very good opportunity. So, the next time you receive a cold call, you should think twice about the large number of opportunities that are likely removed from the map, even before the game begins.

Another characteristic of many cold calling recruiters is that they either do not have many candidates or spend very little time focusing on helping their existing candidates. Why do you think that is? Is there something about the quality of the service they are providing? Why aren't other attorneys referring them candidates? Can the recruiter not afford to advertise?

At BCG Attorney Search, our business model is not based on cold calling. To the contrary, most of our candidates come through word-of-mouth referrals. In addition, we do an exceptionally high amount of targeted advertising to ensure that we have the ability to access, screen, and hand-pick from the broadest range of candidates, which minimizes our need to cold call.

While we do cold call for unique searches if our current database of more than 500,000 candidates does not have an appropriate match, we never call into our client firms, which are typically the best and most desirable firms to work at in each city. Furthermore, we rigidly adhere to any agreements we have with firms regarding cold calling their attorneys. As a result of our business model, there is no law firm we are aware of that has ever banned us for cold calling and recruiting from their firm. The good relationships we have with law firms signify our access to the entire market, and this makes all the difference when you are searching for a position.

There are secrets to the success of BCG Attorney Search compared to other search firms, and we believe this is one of the greatest: "Do not take from the mouth that feeds you." This business philosophy gives you more options.

6. A Lack of a Core Value That Demands Getting Attorneys Jobs.


Most legal recruiters are in the business for a variety of reasons. When you question these legal recruiters why they are recruiting, you are likely to get a variety of answers—most of which are not the answer you will get from a BCG Attorney Search recruiter.

Here at BCG Attorney Search, we are clear (and always have been) that our number-one core value is to get attorneys jobs. We are passionate about getting attorneys jobs. We believe our jobs exist to get attorneys jobs. When you deconstruct this statement, you realize that this statement is "all about others" and has nothing to do with our recruiters. This has everything to do with others.

We believe the greatest gift you can provide someone is the ability to work. We also believe ours is the noblest profession because we are providing people the ability to work at their highest level. Some might ask what is noble about getting attorneys jobs and helping them work. We believe when you help people work, you are improving their lives and improving the lives of their families. You are contributing to society and enriching people in a way that nothing else can. This value results in our recruiters' taking extraordinary pride in helping attorneys get jobs.


7. A Lack of Demand for a First-Rate Work Product.


Most legal recruiters cavalierly email your resume or fax it to law firms with little explanation as to your strengths or why you are seeking a job. They hope that an employer will "bite." In some cases, the recruiter may write a paragraph or two about you as well; however, in a large proportion of the cases, this explanation will be so rushed and riddled with typos that it does you more harm than good.

Why is this dangerous for you? If a recruiter simply sends out a resume and transcript without a detailed cover letter, what value is added? A well-trained monkey can fax a resume and transcript to a firm.

At BCG Attorney Search, we can confidently say that we go way beyond what every other recruiting company does in terms of candidate preparation. We write in-depth profiles (often more than five pages long) for every single candidate we agree to represent. No exceptions. Our recruiters (many of whom are former litigators) interview each of our candidates in depth and put together persuasive and compelling cover letters that contain comprehensive explanations of your strengths. As legal recruiters who are specialized and well versed in the needs of our clients, we spend a lot of time debating how to specifically position our candidates to look the absolute best they can in the eyes of employers. The sort of exactitude and level of understanding they bring to your job search make a major difference, and we believe this is something that greatly increases the odds of our candidates' getting hired.

On a regular basis, our candidates will return from an interview and comment: "A number of the interviewers told me to tell you that your cover letter was incredibly helpful and the best that they have ever seen." Recently, one of our candidates interviewing for an international trade position in Washington, DC, noted that four of her six interviewers praised BCG on the stellar quality of her cover letter and overall presentation to the firm.

Indeed, numerous candidates have called us asking to work with us because, in their words, "I read your cover letter for a candidate I was interviewing and was so impressed. I made it a point to remember your name for when I wanted to seek a new job." All of our written work comes in addition to the other work we do speaking with our clients about you in person and on the telephone.

Our profiles all go out not only by email, but also by mail on expensive stationery. All of our cover letters are proofread with considerable attention to detail and follow the same style format. In addition, we also make personalized color PDFs of our application materials available to our clients, which contain your information and look exceptionally good to hiring authorities (we developed a proprietary process for doing this).

We are the only legal recruiter that employs in-house proofreaders to review all of our written materials before they go out. We take our work product very seriously, and we believe the quality of the recruiter says something about the quality of the candidate. Law firms know that if you are using BCG Attorney Search, you value excellence and have done your homework. As many law firms have told us in one form or another time and time again:

"When we receive application materials from BCG, they go right to the top of the pile."

See the following articles for more information:    

8. A Lack of a Focus on Servicing Law Firms.


The only time most law firms hear from other legal recruiters is when they are sending them a candidate. This could be once every few years.

BCG Attorney Search produces and sends out the BCG Attorney Search Guide to Class Ranking and Law Review Admission at America's Top-50 Law Schools (a 200-plus-page publication) to every significant law firm in the United States every year. We also send an astonishing 100,000 handwritten holiday cards each year.

Because of our size, our geographic focus, and the fact that we only place attorneys inside law firms, most law firms also hear from us frequently to discuss various candidates. We are not strangers to any law firm in any city we work in.

Our focus on servicing law firms is extreme. We do everything we can to provide law firms with the best service possible because we want our candidates to be the ones who stand out and are hired. We have the ears of most law firms in the geographic areas we are in, and this makes a huge difference.

9. A Lack of Integrity.


Most attorneys are aware of all the horror stories regarding legal recruiters. You may know somebody who worked with a legal recruiter who sent out a resume without prior permission because the recruiter was so anxious to make a placement. Some may even discuss your candidacy with others without your permission. Other recruiters may misrepresent their candidates' qualifications in order to make a quick buck. While these things are highly unethical, unfortunately, they still happen. Remember, unlike the practice of law, there is no license that can be revoked when a legal recruiter behaves unethically. The only thing that can be done is to spread the word and hope that the recruiter's reputation catches up with him/her.

At BCG Attorney Search, we have a strict policy that any dishonesty by our recruiters in any manner results in their termination. We have never sent a candidate to a law firm without his/her authorization, and our recruiters are all known to be ethical. Our recruiters would never have a reason to be unethical because they are all exceptionally good at what they are doing and the thought of cutting corners is something that would never cross their minds.

See the following articles for more information:

10. A Lack of Training.


A lot of legal recruiters (even a few firms that consider themselves in competition with BCG Attorney Search) have a training program that consists of putting their legal recruiters in front of a computer and beside a phone and saying "go to work." Training is very costly from a company's point of view, and many recruiting companies simply do not want to invest in training. When you speak with a recruiter, odds are that you have no idea whether the person has been appropriately trained, is sufficiently experienced, or whether that person will know how to most effectively handle your candidacy. Don't forget, a well-trained monkey can fax a resume and transcript to a firm.

At BCG Attorney Search, we go to great lengths to train our recruiters to be the best in the industry. Most recruiters we train are brought out to our headquarters, and in some cases, these recruiters have stayed with us, thousands of miles from their families, for up to six months in order to receive the highest level of training possible. On an annual basis, our recruiters get together in person for a three- to four-day intense training session, with more than eight hours of interactive lectures per day. These presentations are also professionally filmed for training new recruiters. In addition, we train our recruiters by weekly, individual teleconferences, where a more senior recruiter checks in with the individual recruiters, learns what is going on with each candidate he/she is representing, and then offers suggestions for improving the representation of the candidate where appropriate.

No matter how senior or experienced our recruiters are, we are training and working with them at all times. In addition, our company is distributing material to our recruiters for training purposes on a weekly basis. We believe that outstanding training makes a major difference not only in how well our recruiters do their jobs, but also in how well you are represented by them.

Good representation makes all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose The Right Recruiter?

Recruiters connect job seekers with open positions at companies. Recruiters may work on their own, for staffing agencies, or as part of a company's Human Resources department. To fill urgent job vacancies, recruiters maintain a large database of qualified candidates. On behalf of a company, they communicate with potential employees and provide key updates during the hiring process. It is a recruiter's responsibility to build relationships with both job seekers and employers in order to place as many quality candidates as possible.

Choosing The Right Recruiter From The Company's Perspective

Choosing the most qualified candidate is the least expensive method from a company's perspective. The management team is likely to assign recruitment efforts to internal recruiters for entry-level or mid-level jobs when time pressure is not dire. Ultimately, if the internal team is able to find a suitable candidate, no additional expenses are incurred.

Contingency recruiters are a common next step when internal efforts fall short or if the company lacks the time or resources to source candidates. Often, a company works with several contingent recruiters at the same time - these recruiters compete to present the best candidate.

The majority of companies use retained search firms for upper-level positions and jobs requiring specialized technical expertise. A retained recruiter uses their network of industry contacts to find professionals who are interested in changing jobs. Their process involves reviewing resumes, conducting initial screenings and interviews, and only presenting a few top-qualified candidates to the company - which justifies their higher rate.

Candidate's Perspective On Choosing A Recruiter

Which recruiter is right for you? You have to decide based on your individual circumstances.

Consider building relationships with internal recruiters if you already know which handful of companies you want to work for and if you are not in a rush to change jobs. Internal recruiters know the company inside and out. You can also find out exactly where you should be by working with different functional teams within the organization. You may be able to get an interview faster with the help of an internal recruiter when the time is right.

You may benefit from working with a contingent recruiter if you are in a job-search mode and short on time. Keep in mind that contingent recruiters have a financial incentive to present your candidacy to as many hiring managers as possible. To eliminate the possibility of frivolous or duplicate applications, have the recruiter obtain your approval before submitting your resume for a job opening. Similarly, inquire about the number of jobs he or she has filled over the past one-to-two years with the employers you are interested in. As a candidate, you gain little from the recruiter's involvement if the recruiter does not have "inroads" into the hiring manager's circle. Sending your application directly may benefit you!

Recruiters who work for retained clients usually reach out to candidates who match their client's needs. Keep in mind that retained search firms will present multiple candidates to the same employer. As a result, a retained recruiter handpicks you - and your competition. Yes, it might feel good to be represented by a discerning retained recruiter. Recruiters are compensated for filling positions, not for placing you in a job. Alternatively, many positions that justify a retained search are not advertised. A referral from someone in your network or a retained search firm may be your best option in those situations.

Choosing The Best Recruiter For You

You are likely to come into contact with a wide range of recruiters during the job search process. Take into account the attributes that are important to you and your job search when choosing a recruiter. In an ideal situation, a recruiter will become a constant source of new career opportunities for you. Recruiters should show interest in both your professional goals and those of the organization they work for.

You can use the following steps to vet potential recruiters before you commit to a professional relationship:

1. Research the Recruiter's Network

You can often learn a great deal about your potential recruiter's network using social media and job sites. Ask the staffing agency which companies they have as clients. Human resource professionals with whom a recruiter regularly communicates about job openings will form a large network.

2. Seek Out Testimonials

Ask others in your industry about their experiences with different recruiters. A recruiter with a track record of successful placements is more likely to assist you in your job search than one who has moved from agency to agency.

3. Consider Their Specialty

Recruiters often work in a wide range of industries, but you may want to choose one that specializes in your field. It is possible for recruiters to specialize in a particular industry or level of skill, such as executive management. Specialist recruiters are more likely to be familiar with the requirements of a job and the type of applicant who would excel in a given role.

4. Narrow Your Options

If you are tempted to work with several recruiters or agencies, it is best to focus your efforts on one committed recruiter. A candidate who sends out his or her application to every recruiter may simply be ignored or lost in the shuffle if they work for the same company or agency. A recruiter can be trusted to find you a great job if you build a strong bond with them.

How Do I Find A Recruiter To Find Me A Job?

In addition to job boards, social media, and professional associations, professional recruiters often have an extensive network. Before connecting with a recruiter you will first need to research what recruiters are actively looking for candidates and find their contact information. Use the following steps to find a good recruiter that will be most qualified to assist in your job search:

1. Browse Job Boards

Many job postings on job search sites such as Indeed are created by a hiring manager, but many companies assign this responsibility to recruiters. You should pay attention to the names and titles of people who post job listings in your field. Various recruiters identify themselves with the following titles:
  • Staffing agent
  • Senior recruiter
  • Headhunting firm
  • Employment agent
  • Search professional

2. Connect with Staffing Agencies

Find a local staffing agency that can connect you with one of their recruiters during your job search. A few agencies specialize in a particular area, while others serve a wide range of clients. Make sure they have recruiters who work in your field of interest when discussing your job search with a staffing agency.

3. Use Your Network

Many of your friends and colleagues have worked with recruiters and can provide recommendations. You may be able to meet a recruiter directly through your network, making your application more visible. Recruiters in your field can prioritize your job search if you find them through your personal contacts.

4. Consult With Industry Groups

Associations and conferences related to their specialty are frequently attended by recruiters. Look for staffing agencies that regularly attend events in your field if you are looking for a job in a particular industry. Consider searching your professional organization's directory for recruiters if you are a member.

5. Reach Out to Top Companies

Consider contacting a company directly if you are interested in working with them. Ask to be connected with a recruiter by speaking with a representative from Human Resources. Inquire about the staffing agencies they use if they outsource their talent acquisition. Even though this information may not be available, reaching out to top companies in your field can let them know of your interest and enter you into their candidate pool.

6. Post Your Resume

Recruiters often use job sites to locate talent, just as you might use a job board to locate a recruiter. Employers can easily find your resume by posting it on your job board profile. Regularly update your contact information and job history to demonstrate your availability and interest in new roles.

How Much Does Recruiting Services Cost?

If your business is considering using a hiring company for your hiring process you are going to want to know what to expect in terms of cost. How do your fees compare with your own internal hiring costs?

Recruiting Agency Fee Structures: Direct Hires Vs. Temporary Staffing

Firstly, recruiting agencies have different fee structures, and this is primarily determined by the services they offer. Few recruiting firms may provide both direct hire and temporary staffing services, but many specialize in one or the other.

Direct Hires

A direct hire is a "permanent" employee who is paid directly by the employer. Generally, this is a full-time job position with benefits and compensation. Rather than hiring for the season or for a particular project, direct hire is someone who will remain with the company for the long term.

Recruiting agencies typically charge a percentage of the new hire's salary as a one-time fee for direct hires. This is typically in the range of 10% - 20%.

In terms of finding and bringing top talent to your company, you are paying an agency to handle all the advertising, sourcing, screening, and interviews. The agency also offers expertise. To quickly find the right candidate for your position, the best-recruiting agencies have developed strong talent networks that they can tap into.

Temporary Staffing

A temporary staffing arrangement is just that - a temporary one. Most temporary staffing agencies have their own temporary employees on the payroll, which they assign to companies on a temporary basis.

Therefore, your company is not paying the agency as much for talent acquisition as it is for the convenience of using one of the agency's temporary employees. Getting temporary workers is relatively quick if the agency already has a placement on the payroll.

Typically, with temporary staffing, the company pays the employee's hourly rate and associated costs directly to the agency; this may include a markup of 25% - 100%. An agreed amount or rate will then be paid to the employee by the agency.

The Costs Associated With Hiring

Temporary staffing and some contract-to-hire placements generally incur very few costs other than the employee's salary (both paid to the agency), but direct hires have additional costs.

Consider the following factors when your company uses its own resources to hire directly:
  • Hiring costs: The average cost per hire is $4,129.
  • Time: On average, it takes 42 days to fill an open position.
  • Onboarding expenses: The average new hire costs an employer $3,000 in onboarding.
  • Turnover costs: Although they vary from business to business, turnover costs can range from tens of thousands of dollars to more than 1.5 to 2 times one’s salary.

Alternatively, by outsourcing the recruiting process to a recruitment agency you can reduce hiring costs, time spent sourcing candidates, the need for internal recruiters, and turnover costs. In addition, with the agency's expertise and recruitment methods, you can be confident you made the right hire.

What Is Cost Per Hire?

A cost per hire is a recruitment metric that measures the total money spent divided by the number of hires. For example, if you hire 200 people in a given year, and the average cost per hire is $4,500, you can expect to spend $900,000. By tracking this metric, you can compare costs from year to year to see if anything has changed.

Although recruitment is at the forefront of every company's success, we increasingly see a push to cut costs per hire. Cost per hire is the most common recruitment metric used to measure this metric. Advertising, software, relocation expenses, and more are all considered in the cost per hire.
  • Cost per hire = Total recruitment cost / Total number of hires = Total internal cost + Total external cost / Total number of hires

The cost per hire can be divided into internal and external costs. The total recruitment cost can be calculated by identifying and calculating all costs.

Internal Recruiting Costs

Recruiting costs are expenses related to the internal employees of a company and the recruiting process.
  • Employee referral bonuses (cash or prizes)
  • Recruiter salaries
  • Interview process costs (The number of hours times the hourly salary of involved employees)

External Recruiting Costs

Expenses associated with recruiting that do not fall under internal recruitment costs are external recruiting costs.
  • Advertising costs (Job boards, PPC)
  • Recruiting software
  • Recruiting events
  • Non-internal recruiter fees (Agency fees)

The cost of a flight or relocation for a candidate should also be included in external recruiting costs. Around $4,000 is the average cost per hire.

What Qualities Should A Recruiter Have?

There are a few traits that a recruiter should possess to succeed in the industry, from being able to talk with people easily to the gift of gab.

The following are a few of the top qualities that make a great recruiter. How do you measure up?

1) Confidence

Extroverts tend to be attracted to this field for a reason. Recruiters' work involves a lot of networking and interacting with a lot of people, so confidence is definitely a plus. The recruiter must have confidence not only in themselves but also in the skills that they can offer a client and candidate.

2) Good Communication Skills

Recruitment relies heavily on effective communication, so the recruiter should be capable of communicating both face-to-face and via phone/email. In order to keep the client and candidate informed throughout the recruitment process, the recruiter must provide them with frequent updates and act as a middleman between the two.

3) Approachable Demeanor

Being likable and building positive professional relationships with clients and candidates is essential for future business. It can make the client/candidate uncomfortable if they do not come across as personable. You build trust between yourself and everyone you work with when you establish a good rapport. As a result, the future business will be easier, since they will be more likely to want to work with you in the future or to recommend you to others.

4) Good Listener

While recruiters have a reputation of being able to talk your ears off, they must also be able to listen! It is important to take a step back and listen to the client or candidate's needs and requirements before launching into a conversation by stating how great they are. If you take the time to learn what each party is looking for, filling roles will be much easier.

5) Strong Sales Skills

Recruiting is essentially sales. The recruiter must first sell their service to the client, and then sell the new job to the candidate, describing why it would be a great opportunity for them. You will probably have a hard time gaining clients if you lack this flair for sales. And no clients mean no business.

6) Target Driven

The recruitment industry is extremely competitive, so the recruiter needs to be driven and able to work well under pressure. It is common for recruiters to work on a commission or bonus basis, so they are motivated to hit their targets. Your earning potential will drop significantly if you are not willing to put the effort into meeting these targets.

7)  Good at Multi-Tasking

Many recruiters will be working on several jobs at once, from many different clients, so they need to be able to juggle the different projects simultaneously. It is also important for these individuals to be adept at managing their time effectively since certain roles may need to be prioritized due to a greater level of urgency to fill the position.

8) Patience


Recruiters must be patient if interviews have to be rescheduled, or they do not find the right candidate in the first round. Despite the fact that this can be frustrating, it is important to remain calm and professional.

Want to join our team at BCG? View the legal recruiting jobs currently available at BCG.

See What Other Candidates Are Saying: Testimonials and Reviews

See the following articles for more information:


Learn how to become a legal recruiter in this related article.


Click here to contact Harrison

BCG Attorney Search is looking for driven recruiters to join our team. BCG Attorney Search covers the entire United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We offer first-rate training and coaching, pay top of market commissions, pay our recruiters as employees and not independent contractors, and offer medical insurance and other benefits. Additionally, BCG is the best-known brand in the industry and is part of a 200+ employee legal employment company. We offer a supportive cooperative atmosphere and provide you with everything you need to be the most effective recruiter possible (continually updated internal job database, massive advertising support, incredible back office support, and many other perks designed to ensure you match every possible candidate with every available position).

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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