This leads to the next issue in that she was unemployed. She had left her firm on her own accord during COVID since she was not in the niche area, and she had moved back to be with her family to ride out COVID. Thus, once the pandemic hit and she returned home to quarantine with her family, she realized this was where she wanted to remain, so felt the right thing to do was to let her firm know she did not plan to come back to the area and would be looking for a new opportunity in her home town once hiring had picked up in the area. They completely understood and she left on excellent terms on her own accord, and it helped that she could get glowing reviews from her time there.
However, the hard part is that although this was the truth, there is always a skepticism that someone really left a firm on their own accord, since the idea is that most rationally people will not do so. Here, this candidate was trying to do the right thing, but it could make it harder for her to find a job.
One thing going for her though was her niche practice area. Her real estate experience is amazing -- she started in-house in a regulatory affairs position with a real estate focus where she had the opportunity to draft real estate documents related to new resorts with regulatory agencies and worked with both internal and external counsel. She maintained regulatory filings related to relevant laws with respect to ownership vacation interests and marketing. Desiring to transition to a firm, she made a move to a top boutique in that area where she worked in real estate including purchase and sale transactions, financing and zoning issues. She also drafted real estate documents from said agreements to lease agreements and restrictive convenants. This type of niche experience can make a difference when looking for a job.
The fact she was in her home town was a plus for her, since it showed a real connection to the area that is hard to come by sometimes. Also, less people are looking in the market, which makes the competition not as stiff. This candidate would not have landed a job in a major market. However, this also leads to the other side of the coin in that there are not as many opportunities in the area as a result. She handled her search beautifully, and really put her trust in me. She allowed me to apply broadly, and to firms without openings, since in a niche market, that is how hiring happens. And she executed this fantastically.
She ended up landed two interviews, and ultimately getting two competing offers, which is pretty incredible. She got the first interview at a boutique firm that actually wanted to hire her outside her practice area, which is pretty cool. The other firm had a practice exactly in line with what she did. She had to juggle the two opportunities, and ultimately she got one offer well before the other and she had to be honest with the first firm that she was waiting to hear from a second, and they gave her the typically two weeks to decide. Two interviews is amazing for any candidate in a small market, and to land both is even more surreal.
She ultimately went with the real estate position, and is so excited to be starting at the firm. I think it is truly a perfect fit for her, and I am so so so so so excited for her to start her career there! They do exactly the type of work she is looking for, they are a top boutique firm in the market, and she found the people to be absolutely wonderful. She can not wait to start!