"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."

~ Thomas Jefferson

Resources

At the Trense Group, we take seriously our responsibility to equip our clients and candidates to make sound decisions by providing them with the essential information. From resume writing and interview tips for candidates to strategically partnering and consulting with clients on the optimal approach to take in achieving their hiring objectives, the Trense Group is committed to providing our candidates and clients with the resources needed to successfully achieve their goals. We hope that candidates and clients alike will find our guidelines and tips to be useful resources to achieve their professional goals. Feel free to visit our blog for the most current advice on managing your legal career.

Resources

At the Trense Group, we take seriously our responsibility to equip our clients and candidates to make sound decisions by providing them with the essential information. From resume writing and interview tips for candidates to strategically partnering and consulting with clients on the optimal approach to take in achieving their hiring objectives, the Trense Group is committed to providing our candidates and clients with the resources needed to successfully achieve their goals. We hope that candidates and clients alike will find our guidelines and tips to be useful resources to achieve their professional goals. Feel free to visit our blog for the most current advice on managing your legal career.

Guidelines for Candidates Working with Legal Recruiters

It's important to establish some basic ground rules with whomever you decide to engage to assist you with professional career advice:

  • 1 Have a clear understanding with your recruiter as to where they may and may not submit your resume. A responsible recruiter will clear it through you first before submitting your resume to a prospective employer. Work with recruiters who obtain your permission prior to sharing your resume with a third party.
  • 2 Communicate clearly what you ARE and ARE NOT interested in. Be wary of any recruiter who pressures you to do something that you are not interested in doing. Make sure that whomever you select to work with respects your input.
  • 3 Work with a recruiter who is willing to tell you as much about himself/herself as he/she is going to ask you to divulge about yourself. Frequently, a recruiter who was referred to you by someone you trust is a safer bet than one who runs the largest ads on the web sites that you frequent in the legal periodical to which your firm or company subscribes. Don't be afraid to ask for references from candidates and clients.
  • 4 Establish a communications protocol that will maintain your confidentiality. Would you prefer to be contacted at home or at work? Do you prefer to be contacted via email, text or cell phone? Ask whomever you are working with whether they've ever experienced breaches of confidentiality.
  • 5 Ask questions of your recruiter. Why is there an opening? What is this person and firm like to work for? What type of billable hour pace do I need to maintain to have a realistic opportunity to make partner? What is the firm's reputation and track record when it comes to admitting eligible associates into the partnership? Is the firm profitable? What is it like to be a partner in the firm? Does the firm pay bonuses? If so, are the bonuses guaranteed or discretionary? The recruiter may not have all of the answers initially, but he or she can certainly endeavor to find out.
  • 6 Make sure that whomever you work with is prepared to put your interest ahead of his or her own. Don't be afraid to test your recruiter's objectivity. Ask them to share with you their strengths and weaknesses with regard to assisting with your candidacy.
  • 7 Make it a priority to work with a recruiter who is accessible and responsive to your needs. Career decisions are important. Your calls, emails, or texts deserve a prompt response.
  • 8 Please be completely candid and forthcoming with your recruiter. Expect the same of him or her in return. If you are working with more than one recruiter or have conducted your own, independent search, let each recruiter know.
  • 9 Keep tabs on where your resume has been sent, whether it is by you or someone else. It is your responsibility to play "traffic cop" to ensure that your resume is not sent to the same prospective employer twice. Such a faux pas can make everyone look bad.
  • 10 Finally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true! If you are not confident that you will enhance your career by making the move, then do not make it. Remember, the position that generates the highest fee for the contingency recruiter, may or may not be the best position for you.

Interview tips for Attorney Candidates

  • 1 Be Prepared. Arrive prepared. Know as much about the position that you are interviewing for as possible. Research the firm or company and the individuals in advance of the interview.
  • 2 Be Punctual. Arrive on time. If it appears as though you might be late, call in advance to let them know. Arrive properly groomed and attired. When in doubt, err on the side of formal as opposed to business casual.
  • 3 Act the part. Give a firm handshake when introducing yourself. Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Project confidence and be self-assured. Relax and smile. There’s nothing to be nervous about.
  • 4 Avoid talking too much. Avoid talking about yourself too much. If the person you are interviewing with wants to talk, let them. Talk about what they want to talk about rather than what you want to talk about.
  • 5 Set expectations regarding progress. Before the interview concludes, express interest in moving the process along toward the offer stage by asking, “What is the next step?, ” so that you set and manage expectations regarding progress toward an offer.
  • 6 Avoid taboo topics. Avoid discussing politics, religion or other potentially sensitive topics. Avoid talking about money or giving the impression that money is the motivating factor in your search. If you are under compensated, it may cast doubt on your worth, as there will always be those who believe that “you get what you pay for” and that your current employer may be no different. When asked what your salary expectations are, an appropriate response would be, “I expect to be paid commensurate with others who share my background, experience, and credentials.”
  • 7 Finish what you start. Get the offer, even if it’s not your ideal choice. Just because you receive an offer doesn’t mean that you are beholden to accept it. Success begets success. Offers can create a sense of urgency among other prospective employers. They can also help set the table for other, more desirable offers.
  • 8 Say nice things. Never disparage your current or past employer or offer up a “personality” mismatch with the person you work for as a reason for leaving. It will only serve to cast doubt on your own candidacy.
  • 9 Maintain confidentiality. Take the necessary steps to preserve the confidential nature of your search. Utilize personal email and phones when communicating with prospective employers or recruiters during the search process. Avoid meeting in a place where others from your current firm or company might recognize you. Be careful -- many confidentiality breaches occur because the candidate confided information about their search to a “trusted” colleague, co-worker, or friend.
  • 10 Mind your manners. A healthy dose of “please” and “thank you” will go a long way toward endearing you to your future employer. If meeting over lunch or dinner, etiquette matters. Follow up with a “thank you” note. While it may sound old fashioned, hand written notes are always better received than texts or emails.

Guidelines for Clients Working with Legal Recruiters

It's important to establish some basic ground rules with whomever you decide to engage to assist you in attracting the right candidate for the position that you are seeking to fill:

  • 1 Have a clear understanding with your recruiter that only candidate-authorized submissions will be accepted. A responsible recruiter will clear it through his or her candidate first before submitting a candidate resume to you. Avoid any overzealous recruiter who does not obtain his or her candidate’s permission in advance of submitting that candidate’s resume to you.
  • 2 Communicate clearly what you ARE and ARE NOT interested in. Be wary of any recruiter who pressures you to interview or hire candidates you are not interested in hiring. Make sure that whomever you select to work with respects the parameters that you have given to them.
  • 3 Work with a recruiter who is willing to tell you as much about himself/herself as he/she is going to ask you to divulge about the opportunity with your company. Frequently, a recruiter who was referred to you by someone you trust is a safer bet than one who runs the largest ad on the web sites that you frequent or in publications to which your firm or company subscribes. Don't be afraid to ask for references from candidates and clients.
  • 4 Establish a communications protocol that will insulate you from a plethora of inquiries from overzealous or under qualified candidates. Do you prefer to be contacted via email or telephone? Ask whomever you are working with whether they've experienced breaches of confidentiality.
  • 5 Ask questions of your recruiter. How do you go about identifying, screening, and attracting your candidates? Do you advertise? Have you ever placed candidates similar to the one that I am asking you to place? What are the pros and cons of a retained search versus a contingency search? What are your fees and payment terms? What happens if the candidate does not work out? Do you guarantee the candidates that you place or will you replace them?
  • 6 Make sure that whomever you work with is prepared to put your interest ahead of his or her own. Don't be afraid to test your recruiter's objectivity. Ask them why you should use a search firm to fill the position that you are seeking to fill. Ask them to share with you their strengths and weaknesses with regard to assisting you in attracting the right candidates to your firm or company.
  • 7 Do not work with a recruiter who is not accessible or responsive to your needs. Be wary of any recruiter who screens out your calls or takes an inordinate amount of time to respond to your messages. You may be less important to them than you'd like to be.
  • 8 Be completely candid and forthcoming with your recruiter and expect the same of him or her in return. If you are working with more than one recruiter or have conducted your own, independent search, let each recruiter know.
  • 9 Keep tabs on precisely when and from whom you received each resume. If you are using more than one recruiter, it is your responsibility to play "traffic cop" to ensure that the resume that you received has not been previously submitted independently or by another search firm. Such a faux pas can make everyone look bad.
  • 10 Finally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true! Be wary of the recruiter who is quick to promise and slow to deliver. If the search firm that you are working with is making your task more difficult, rather than easier, cease working with them. Remember, the recruiter who submits the greatest quantity of resumes within the first week of the search is often less desirable than the recruiter who submits the perfect candidate within the first month of the search.