We did get him one phone interview / screener in December, but then nothing else for several, several months. I think that in December, when he applied to work with me, he was just too junior. In my experience, candidates really only start to become marketable once they have been at their first firm for about two years. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, especially in the case of top candidates at reputable, national, mid-sized to Big Law firms, with decent / good to strong grades at their law school, Law Review, etc. However, for a candidate like this one, who was a good candidate but perhaps not a top, top candidate, I figured that it might take longer to get traction, especially given the caliber of firms that he was approving.
This candidate became less responsive to me between May and about August. I think that he was busy with work, and he was probably also disillusioned. After all, I had only gotten him one interview when we first started working together, back in December, and then nothing for several months. However, rather than giving up on this candidate, I continued to follow-up and reapply him to firms that he had approved between December and May. I would also periodically reach out to him and ask him what he thought of specific opportunities. For example, I have a strong boutique law firm client in LA at which I recently placed a candidate, and whom I knew was looking for a candidate like this one. The boutique firm was, in fact, interested in interviewing him, but he had his heart set on mid-sized to Big Law firms. This is an example of how I try to keep my candidates warm, and try to show them that I am here working for them tirelessly behind the scenes, even when they lose steam or burn out on their search.
I think that this candidate started getting excited about his search again when I got him a great Big Law interview in SF in September, and then another in October. Neither of these interviews worked out - he had initial interviews with both firms, but not callbacks - but still, I think that getting this candidate these great interviews re-instilled his faith in me as a Recruiter.
I actually applied this candidate to the firm that ended up hiring him for the first time in December 2017 (their OC office), and again in July, October, and December (their SF office and their OC office multiple times). I actually placed another strong Labor & Employment candidate at their SF office in August, and this candidate was too junior for their OC opening, which I think called for around four years of experience. When I saw a new opening pop up in his small market where he is currently located this December, I immediately applied him, as he had told me in passing that he had interviewed with another top L&E firm in his current small market very recently. Interestingly enough, up until a month or two ago, I hadn't realized that he was also interested in the smaller market that he is currently located in. I do think that his goal long-term is to move to SF or LA, but I think that his primary goal is to break into a great national firm, regardless of the market.
The firm moved very quickly, because they have had great experiences with candidates that they have hired from my candidate's current firm, and because I think that it is hard to find decent / good candidates in this smaller market. Whereas I'm not sure whether or not my candidate would have been hired by this firm in SF, he was very competitive as a candidate for this smaller market. They reached out to me on a Wednesday, conducted a phone screen on Thursday, had him into the office for a callback on Friday, and gave him an offer the following Wednesday. This is the fast that I've ever seen a firm move, between initial phone screen and offer.
I learned a few lessons from this placement. Firstly, even if a candidate has high expectations and burns out on his or her search, one should always keep working behind the scenes to find great opportunities for one's candidate, and even re-apply one's candidate to firms from which we had never heard back from. Secondly, it's a good idea for us Recruiters to regularly check in with our candidates, either with new lists of firms and job openings to consider, a specific job order or opportunity that we think would be perfect for the candidate, or just to make sure that their geographic preferences haven't changed. If my candidate hadn't mentioned to me that he was also interested in his current smaller market, and was interviewing with another top L&E firm in this smaller market, I would have never thought to apply him to the office of the firm that ended up hiring him. We Recruiters and our candidates need to keep each other up-to-date on the candidate's experience, geographic preferences, and firm search! Everyone wins when the Recruiter and the candidate have all of the information.