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Law firms are losing candidates due to lengthy recruitment processes

Firms are risking longer-term recruitment challenges by failing to explain their decisions to applicants

6 November 2012

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Law firms are at risk of losing top candidates by having lengthy recruitment processes.

Many legal professionals would turn down a role if the recruitment processes take more than a month, according to recent research.

Firms are also at risk of longer-term recruitment challenges by failing to provide adequate feedback to candidates, who in turn share their experiences with friends and colleagues.

Seventy-two per cent of legal professionals said a lengthy recruitment process puts them off a job, according to the market survey by Robert Walters.

Seventy per cent of respondents also said they expect the full recruitment process (from application to job offer) to take four weeks or less. However, only 25 per cent of responding employers said it takes this much time in practice.

Respondents also noted that employer responsiveness during the early stages of the application process is a priority. Seventy per cent of legal professionals said they expect a response within six days of applying for a job. Feedback on both the initial application and interview performance is also important to candidates.

However, only 12 per cent of responding legal professionals who applied for a job said they received any feedback from the employer. In addition, 56 per cent said they had been for a job interview but had not been given any update on their performance.

Candidates’ negative experiences can result in longer-term recruitment challenges for firms. Ninety-one per cent of responding legal professionals said they discuss their experiences of the recruitment process with friends and/or colleagues.

Colin Loth, director of legal recruitment at Robert Walters, said firms should “take the time to explain a rejection and provide job seekers with a positive representation of their brand, despite the fact they may be delivering disappointing news”.

Published in Managing Your Brand Throughout the Recruitment Process, the full research findings are based on survey responses from 1,306 job seekers and 250 hiring managers. Of these responses, 168 of the job seekers are legal professionals (either working in house or in private practice), and 59 of the hiring managers routinely recruit legal professionals.

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