Increased internet access, innovations in search engine technology, and improvements to law firm websites have all resulted in a new form of informational equity. Today, any individual with a computer can gain access to just about every job listing being advertised. Of course, as a result of inside information and word of mouth, recruiters sometimes have access to information not necessarily available to candidates trolling the web, or even to other recruiters. But, for the most part, because of various technological innovations, we all have access to the same information.
This informational equity is leading to an increased number of mistakes by candidates seeking new job opportunities. For example, rather than building a relationship with one recruiter whom a candidate believes does an effective job advocating for them, many candidates now work with multiple recruiters, often allowing the first recruiter who mentions a firm to submit them (regardless of the recruiter's methodology, reputation, or success rate). Some candidates make things even worse by also randomly submitting themselves to additional law firms and then even having friends or family members submit them to other firms. Moreover, a number of candidates further exacerbate the situation by applying to positions that are not good fits for their backgrounds and in some instances by applying to law firms that do not have active job openings. While a few candidates will meet with success following this ''see what sticks'' strategy, it most often backfires, resulting in either no interviews or a handful of ''informational'' interviews that yield no actual job offer. 1
What many candidates seem to be forgetting these days is that an effective and successful job search involves much more than just firing off your resume to every law firm advertising a prospective job opening. Generally speaking, good candidates will have the most success when they have a trusted recruiter advocating on their behalf and when they adhere to a consistent system of applying to jobs. In fact, the candidates who have the most success are those who consistently adhere to the same method of searching for jobs. Either self-submit 2or work with a recruiter, but be constant in your approach. If you work with a recruiter, work with one recruiter rather than multiple recruiters, and take the time to build that relationship!
Here are some key reasons why consistency in one's job search methodology and effective relationship building with a trusted recruiter will assist candidates in securing new jobs.
As mentioned above, people generally have access to the same job openings due to the informational equity established by improvements in law firm websites, search engine capabilities and various software programs used to gather data about available job listings. So, with rare exception, you will not be missing out on opportunities if you work with just one recruiter!
Working with just one recruiter allows you to select the person whom you believe can most effectively advocate for you. Be wary of the recruiter who does not take the time to ask you questions and who is only interested in getting their hands on your resume. Good and effective advocacy involves much more than simply sending a copy of a candidate's resume to a law firm.
Relatedly, when you consistently work with one recruiter, that person gets to know you, the breadth of your work experience and what your long-term interests and career goals are. Remember, the idea is not just to get you any job, but to get you the best possible job for your interests and overall career objectives.
Often recruiters have relationships with law firms, and agreements in place with them, even when a law firm website or specific job posting states that no search firm submissions will be accepted. In today's job market, law firms often get inundated with hundreds of resumes for any given job opening. Thus, recruiting coordinators have learned that it pays to build discreet relationships with select recruiters, both to ensure that they receive quality applicants and to prevent being spammed with resumes from less discerning recruiters. Your recruiter should be able to tell you whether or not a particular firm will accept recruiter submissions (and any reputable recruiter should willingly disclose this information to you).
When you consistently work with one recruiter, there will be clear information flow in both directions. You will be fully aware of the firms which you have been submitted to and of the available job opportunities and your recruiter will be fully appraised regarding the firms you have applied to and the status of each submission.
Accidents can happen when multiple recruiters are used. This can result in the submission of a candidate to a firm multiple times by different recruiters - which law firms do not at all like and which sometimes even results in the candidate's application being rejected. Similarly, candidates who aren't consistent in their job search methodology often lose track of which firms they've applied to, which can also result in multiple submissions to the same firm.
Finally, when you establish a relationship with one recruiter, that recruiter can and often will go above and beyond for you. Loyalty to a good recruiter tends to generate better quality advocacy and results in return loyalty3. A loyal candidate will be the priority to a recruiter over a non-loyal candidate, which can make a large difference when multiple people are vying for the same position.
Finally, keep in mind that, in most instances, a candidate who selects one recruiter and follows a consistent approach to his or her job search gets placed more quickly at a firm that is an overall good fit. So, although you may be tempted to deviate from this approach given the current job market and the scarcity of job openings, hang in there! You will eventually reap the rewards.
1What's worse, candidates who adhere to this hodgepodge methodology often eventually have the startling realization that they have applied to just about every law firm in the city and have thus (ineffectively) exercised every available option.
2Not every candidate will benefit from using a recruiter, especially in this job market. Recent law school graduates, those who are looking to transition practice areas, and those who have made multiple law firm moves in a short period of time should consider applying to firms directly.
3Some candidates believe they should be ''loyal'' to the first recruiter who happens to call them with a prospective job listing. Alternatively, it makes more sense to build a relationship with a recruiter who works hard on your behalf and who represents you well. Remember, you do not have to sit around waiting for your phone to ring. So be proactive, pick up the phone and seek out the recruiter whom you believe will best represent you!
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