Hiring the Right Talent

A great resume does not predict great performance.

Many of your firms will begin recruiting law students early this year, and some are still adding lateral associates, but are your attorneys conducting impactful interviews by being prepared, purposeful, and present? 

I have trained attorneys at 89 law firms on how to interview. Here’s the 7-step process I teach them:  

  • Interview Intentionally 
  • Prepare Purposeful
  • Assess Appropriately 
  • Prob with Presence 
  • Listen to Learn 
  • Evaluate Effectively 
  • Promote Proactively

For example, in any interview you must arrive knowing what you want to learn about this candidate. Next, you want to ask the right high-mileage questions to assess the candidate.  

High-mileage questions are behavioral questions that will illustrate how the candidate has performed in the past.  This is your best indicator for how they will perform when you hire them.  

For example, instead of asking ineffective questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” I recommend asking “How did you keep yourself motivated on the mundane parts of that long project you worked on?”

Especially today, when we often hear frustration from partners about how associates are not responsive and fail to take ownership of assignments, your interviewers need to probe for traits like a proactive work style when interviewing.  What else is critical for success at your firm? Are your attorneys interviewing for these traits? 

Isn’t it true that just because someone excelled in school doesn’t mean they are skilled and motivated to excel at your firm? By training your attorneys to conduct intentional interviews, you are much more likely to hire the right candidates who are committed to serving your clients.  

In addition to identifying the right talent for your firm, every interview is a branding opportunityThat’s why it’s critical for your attorneys to be present and make every candidate feel heard. Even if you don’t extend them an offer, they will remember the experience, and how you treated them for years.

And you never know when they can come back as a client or referral.  

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