How many legal recruiters should I use on my job search?

In the difficult job environment that we find ourselves in, it is tempting for candidates to submit their resume to every legal search firm in town (the shotgun approach) in the mistaken belief that this will increase the candidate’s chances of landing a job. Selecting which and how many legal recruiters to work with is not akin to buying a lottery ticket — where the more you have, the greater your chances of winning. While there are times to engage more than one legal search firm, the circumstances for doing so are more narrowly defined than one might think.

Using too many recruiters can trigger the law of unintended consequences for several reasons. ONE, fearful that they might “lose” the deal to a competitor, the recruiter feels compelled to blanket the market with your resume by sending it to every firm who has a hiring partner or recruiting coordinator — lest the competition get there first. While this helps the recruiter get a leg up on his or her competition, it does not necessarily inure to your benefit. TWO, when you work with multiple recruiters, you are effectively diminishing the chances that any single recruiter will get paid for the time and attention that they invest in you. Because search firms are for profit entities that typically get paid only if they successfully place you (contingency placement), they are incented to spend their time disproportionately with candidates who provide them with the greatest odds of getting paid. THIRD, it sends a tacit message to each recruiter that he or she is merely a means to an end. In other words, your trust and allegiance is in the process rather than the person. Most of the top recruiters succeed because of their highly personalized approach, and the strong relationships that they have built with their clients. FOUR, and finally, utilizing too many recruiters is like having too many cooks in the kitchen. It increases the likelihood of something going wrong — such as a confidentiality breach or the embarrassment of a dual submission.

So how do you know precisely which and how many legal recruiters to use? Whether they will admit it or not, every search firm has tier 1 relationships, tier 2 relationships, tier 3 relationships with clients, etc. In a perfect world, you want the search firm that presents your resume to a prospective employer to have a tier 1 relationship with that employer. By tier 1, I mean that search firm has a relationship with their client that is as good as or better than any other search firm. You might think of this relationship as that of a “preferred provider”. At the Trense Group, we utilize a business model that puts the candidate’s interest first, and maximizes your chances of being submitted by a “preferred provider”. Because it is impractical for us to have a preferred provider relationship with every firm in a given market, we have built a network of correspondent relationships with other trusted search firms. You might think of it as a broker-dealer relationship, where the Trense Group is your broker and we are able to tap into a network of like-minded dealers on an as needed basis. Legal placement is a relationship business – client relationships, candidate relationships, and competitor relationships matter. By working cooperatively and collaboratively with our competitors, we are able to maximize the likelihood that our candidates’ chances of getting noticed are heightened. This is because our candidates come to the hiring authority through preferred providers who possess the full backing and leverage that only a tier 1 relationship can deliver.