Where do I look for a recruiter? Both the internet and recommendations are good sources. In general, it is best to work with one of the top national recruiting companies, such as BCG Attorney Search. They have higher standards for their recruiters, as well as the ability to attract the most talented recruiters in the country. In addition, the top companies have long-established relationships with major firms, as well as access to the best information, particularly if you practice or seek to practice in a major firm one of the top legal markets. These companies normally cover smaller legal markets as well. Remember, cost is not an issue, so you may as well get the best.
What do I look for in a recruiter? In terms of credentials, the ideal recruiters are usually former lawyers who went to a similar type of law school and worked in a similar type of law firm as you did. This usually makes the best match. If, for example, you happen to have stellar credentials, it would be to your advantage to work with a recruiter with a similar background who has placed similar candidates in elite firms. Such recruiters are more likely to have the experience, connections and information that a stellar candidate would want. Of course, just as fancy law schools and elite law firms do not always guarantee high quality in lawyers, the same is true for recruiters. So you should not just rely on the labels. There are also some excellent recruiters who are not lawyers at all. Most of them previously worked as a “recruiting coordinator” for a major firm, which provides them with valuable knowledge. The next thing you should look for is recruiting experience. Of course, there are “beginner” recruiters who are talented and dedicated, but experience is definitely a major plus. This is especially true for partner candidates, who face a more complex search. They should choose a recruiter who has at least several years of experience in placing partners in major firms, and who ideally was once a partner themselves.
How do I know if my recruiter is doing a good job? The best recruiters provide you with key information and respond to you in a timely manner. They take the time to answer your questions and explain the recruiting process to you, as well as provide valuable advice. They write well, are articulate and professional, and they are dedicated to getting you the best job possible. They are also honest – they will tell you when your chances at a particular firm are not good and why. And they are ethical. They do not send your resume all over town without your permission. Lastly, you need a recruiter you can be comfortable with and trust. If the recruiter is falling short in one or more of these areas, you should alert them. If they do not remedy the situation, you may need to inform them that you are going to make a change. If you have chosen well, however, this will likely never become necessary.