Summary: How does a good recruiter get their candidates differentiated? By creating a Unique Selling Proposition – or USP. Here’s how they do it.
Even though you may be a good candidate, it is also extremely important that you are differentiated from other candidates. Good recruiters distinguish their candidates from all the rest. A really exceptional recruiter makes their candidates special in the eyes of law firms.
You should always work with recruiters who understand this.
That is why using a recruiter is the single most effective way to get a job if the legal recruiter is good at their work. When a good legal recruiter is involved, the candidate can get many more interviews and job offers than they would if they sent themselves to firms on their own or used an average legal recruiter.
A USP is that distinct and appealing idea that sets you favorably apart from every other candidate who is approaching the law firm either on their own or through another recruiting firm. The long-term successes our recruiters achieve for their candidates will, ultimately, be helped or hurt by the USP they decide upon for each candidate. See:The Kick Ass Marketing Secret of The Most Successful Job Applicants and Employees.
This is what good legal recruiting is all about.
The possibilities for building a USP are unlimited. It is best, however, to adopt a USP that dynamically addresses an obvious void other candidates for the position may have that a recruiter's candidate can honestly fill. Beware: It's actually counter-productive for a recruiter to adopt a USP if their candidate will not appear to fulfill the promise once they interview.
Most candidates represented on their own or through other recruiters don't have a USP, only a "me too," rudderless, nondescript, unappealing cover letter that feeds solely upon the sheer momentum of the law firm with an opening. There's nothing unique; there's nothing distinct. They promise no great value, benefit, or service - just "hire x candidate" for no justifiable, rational reason other than the candidate attended a good law school or has experience from a given law firm.
It's no surprise then that most recruiters, lacking the ability to attach a compelling USP to their candidates, merely get by. Their failure rate is high, their recruiters are apathetic and grasp at every straw, and they get only a small share of the potential business. But other than a recruiter's pedigree or the firm they worked for, why should any legal recruiter be in business or even practicing our profession if they fail to market their candidates in any appealing way, with unique features and abilities? Would you want to patronize a recruiting firm that's just "there," with no unique benefit, no ability to market your unique strengths, no especially comforting counsel, and no persuasive talents? Or would you prefer a firm that makes you appear to be a superstar fulfilling the law firm's hiring needs, the one with the most jobs, the best recruiters and recruiters who actually CARE about the work that they are doing, and the one that represents the "Rolls Royce" of attorneys?
With each candidate we represent, we reduce their USP to its sinewy bare essence.
Try it. With paper and pen, prepare a one-paragraph statement of your USP.
The USP is the hardest thing to write and generally goes into the summary section of our letters. It is the most important part of the letter. At first, you will have trouble expressing it tightly and specifically. It may take two or three paragraphs or more. That's okay.
Our recruiters ruthlessly edit away the generalities, and tenaciously focus on the crispest, clearest, most specific promise the candidate could possibly hold out. Then, they rework it and hack away the excess verbiage or hazy statements until they have a clearly defined, clearly apparent USP a law firm can immediately seize upon. And then, they integrate this USP into each paragraph of the letter, repeat it when they speak with law firms about their candidate, and drill this into their candidates as something they should talk about in interviews.
However, remember this axiom: You will not appeal to everybody. In fact, certain USPs are designed to appeal to only one segment of law firms. There is a vast gulf between law firms, and any USP probably can't reach them all. To our recruiters we ask, "Which do you want to stake out as your candidate's market niche?"
Our recruiters also analyze the market potential of various USP positions in terms of interviews and offers.
Immediately following a placement, we try to call or visit the law firms. During this follow-up effort, we do our best to see to it that the law firm feels important and special, and that they are "resold" on the value of the hire they just made. We repeat the candidate's USP and remind the law firm how it helped them make their hiring decision. We reassure law firms about their wise decisions, and show how the same USP that served them this time will be there to serve them in the future.
Good marketing requires that you give law firms rational reasons for their emotional hiring decision. There is a formula for success, and the USP related effectively by recruiters is truly an integral part of that formula.
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).
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