By Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny
Newly Qualified Solicitors (NQs) and burgeoning young talent expect the same level of accessibility to potential employers as the brands they buy from, according to a leading legal recruiter.
Chris Clarke from legal recruitment specialists CapeClarke said: “NQs and those considering a career in law will largely be Millennials – the generation that has grown up with instant message type technologies. They expect accessibility and immediacy from the brands they buy from thanks to social media and influence, the use of live chat. These same expectations extend to the employer brands they’re interacting with too.”
In a job seekers market, firms must work hard to differentiate themselves. Impressive salary hikes have been seen at some firms across the UK in a stand-out – although the consensus is that Millennials already want supportive cultures, good work life balance and to feel their contribution makes a difference.
Chris Clarke added: “The market is such that young professionals are essentially interviewing potential employers. How a firm harnesses digital tools during this process gives an indication of how invested they are in technology overall (which is crucial to hybrid working), how accessible and relevant they strive to be for clients and how much they understand the needs of talent. These might not seem obvious considerations – but for younger professionals these things matter.”
Poppy Tamang, Marketing and Business Development Manager from Ellisons Solicitors, which has seven offices across Essex, Suffolk and London, agrees that greater use of digital tools is key. She said: “We use live chat to help answer some of the early-stage questions we get from potential candidates. We can explain the recruitment process and signpost them to useful resources, often about our CSR activities, our wider values, and aspects of practice-life. Plus, it gives us an efficient way to be accessible out of hours – many candidates are looking at new roles in the evening, after all.”
Jacqui Gower, HR Director from JCP Solicitors, which operates across Wales, said: “We have so much in-bound communication that we need to make sure that none of our potential candidates are overlooked and that we provide a range of ways to get in contact with us in the most accessible way possible. The recruitment market is very competitive, so we need to be quick to spot talent and engage with them. Chat technology and social media let us be available on professionals’ terms – the ability to ask questions when on our website researching and applying for roles is valuable to us. How we engage is all-important and often candidates are impressed by this. We want the best recruits to apply, and we are finding that live chat can help turn initial interest into an application, almost there and then.”
Live chat offers the same values to candidates, and therefore firms, as it does to consumers, says Bernadette Bennett from Moneypenny, which provides outsourced communication support to more than 1000 legal businesses across the UK.
She said: “Millennials are inherently impatient because of the technology they’ve grown up with. Answering their questions in real time, whether that’s 9pm at night or 11 in the morning – can make the difference between that candidate applying or not. They expect this of the businesses they buy from – and they’ll certainly expect it from their potential employers too.
“Legal firms need to harness all tools to attract the brightest and best. While they won’t replace the more formal aspects of the recruitment process – they do create an early opportunity to engage with top talent.”
Chris Clarke concluded: “While live chat might be a firm favorite with NQs, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be engaging with highly senior talent through this channel. It’s all about being relevant to your candidates, whatever level of experience or seniority they are, and using the tools that work for them.”