Why DIY?

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					WEEKLY RECRUITER SPEAK                                                                                                        1. 800. 973.1177

Why DIY?
[byCarey Bertolet, Esq.]
The “Do It Yourself” home improvement craze is all the rage, but does the same philosophy apply to job hunting? Find out the pros and cons of handling
your own job search.

The ‘do-it-yourself’ home improvement craze        may prove interesting, do you understand the       rejected. Thus, the difference may have only
is spreading. From painting to flooring, more      market as a whole? A good recruiter explains       been timing. A good recruiter will submit you
and more people are embracing the idea that        the entire playing field, not just one or two      only when you have a good shot at getting
they can do it themselves. Since we’re in the      players.                                           an interview. A really good recruiter will be
business of career improvement, so to speak,                                                          able to use his or her insight and contacts
we wondered whether there is a renewed             Having access to all the information an            to arrange to submit you at a time when the
interest in do-it-yourself job hunting. In other   informed recruiter has (recruiters at BCG          consideration you receive will be optimal.
words, does it pay to handle your own job          update themselves daily on breaking legal
search?                                            news, firm personnel transitions, and              Example 2: You know your “target audi-
                                                   relevant business trends) in and of itself         ence.” Many lawyers rationalize that they
As an initial matter, recruiting firms cannot      mandates using a recruiter. Later, we will         know they only want to work for a 10 to 20
be responsive to each and every lawyer.            also illustrate why most firms prefer to use       person firm who practices a certain type of
For example, independent recruiters do             recruiters for their candidate searches, even      law. Knowing the universe of firms who fit
not handle entry level searches; that type         though there is a fee involved. The easiest        that demographic in their city, the lawyer will
of recruiting is often done directly at the        way to address the “DIY” question from the         simply target those firms on their own. The
law school level. Depending on a lawyer’s          job seeker’s side is to give examples of situ-     problem? In addition to the timing problem
background and the goals for his search,           ations where candidates may understand-            described above, which cannot be understat-
his resume may or may not be responsive            ably believe that they are better off handling     ed, you may miss out on opportunities. When
to recruiting searches. For those individu-        their own job search. That is rarely the case,     a lawyer targets firms based on demographic
als who have the type of background that is        however.                                           information, he or she may miss out on firms
well-suited to one or more positions handled                                                          that are outside of that demographic, but that
by a recruiting firm, then there are few, if       Example 1: You know your “dream firm.” The         would be an excellent place for him or her.
any times when it would benefit that lawyer        single biggest mistake we see is candidates        I hear that lawyers want to go to a smaller
to “do it themselves” when it comes time to        who approach their ideal employers at the          environment, or a mid-sized firm, or a white
apply to firms.                                    wrong time. Why does it matter? It matters         shoe firm. I always investigate why it is they
                                                   because in most circumstances, if the firm is      perceive that that type of environment suits
One of the most important functions of a           not interested in a lawyer with your experi-       them. More compensation, or more respon-
good recruiter is to serve as a consultant. As     ence, credentials, and level of expertise,         sibility? More flexibility or better opportuni-
you approach the job market, isn’t informa-        they will reject (or disregard) your resume.       ties for business development? The point is
tion the single most important resource? On        Furthermore, you may have just wasted your         that generalizations are just that, and with
your own, how do you know who is looking?          shot at interviewing with that firm. Some          a recruiter, you may very well discover that
How do you know whether you will be consid-        firms (not necessarily all), once they reject a    your job is with a firm that you wouldn’t have
ered? If you have some information that cer-       candidate, will not reconsider that candidate.     initially thought of.
tain firms are looking, where are they in the      I encourage you to think about that for a
hiring process? It is important to understand      minute: If you approach a firm on your own         Example 3: You know that if you could just
that there are nuances in the job market that      before understanding whether that firm has         explain to the firm how much you wanted the
can affect a job search in subtle or dramatic      a need for someone with your background,           job, they’d interview you. Although a smash-
ways. Although through contacts, friends,          you may be rejected. If they do need someone       ing resume with on point experience is a
and colleagues, it is often possible to glean      with your expertise at a later date, they will     great start, explaining the motivations behind
some information about one or two firms that       have a record that you have already been           approaching a particular firm or explaining

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WEEKLY RECRUITER SPEAK                                                                             1.800. 973. 1177

anomalies in your background may make            them. She could recite almost from memory,
the difference in whether or not you get an      however, the applicants through BCG. Which
interview. In the overwhelming majority of       candidates are getting the best consideration
case, a lawyer isn’t in a position to advocate   in that instance?
his or her own case to a firm. In fact, it may
be difficult for a candidate to even follow up   There are at least two more examples
and get a status on his or her candidacy. Re-    demonstrating the utility of recruiters to
cruiters are different. BCG is happy to report   the hiring process. One large New York firm
relationships with firms that are based on       contacted our office to let us know that even
providing information on our candidates, and     though they were removing a particular job
advocating for them. Firms and recruiters        from their webpage’s recruiting section, it
often have relationships which are based, in     was still active. The hiring partner, however,
part, on making sure that the firm is properly   was discouraged by the caliber of attorneys
considering and recruiting the right types of    applying for the position, and wanted only
lawyers for their jobs. Simply put, most firms   those pre-screened by recruiters. In another
do not have relationships with individuals       instance, a boutique firm contacted BCG to
who approach them for jobs. We heard a           handle a search, even though the webpage
story about a large firm who held a recep-       clearly stated that they did not want to be
tion for young lawyers in order to tell these    contacted by recruiters.
lawyers about how great it was to work there.
When many of these attendees applied, they       None of this is to suggest that it’s impos-
received no response of any kind. No phone       sible to get a job without a recruiter. That is
calls were returned. This firm works with        certainly not the case. However, given the
BCG and makes decisions on their candidates      above examples, consider whether you would
generally within a two week period.              benefit from the consulting, the contacts,
                                                 and the consideration a recruiting firm such
Why is it, then, that firms seem to be more      as BCG.
responsive to recruiters, when recruit-
ers cost them money? It’s actually a fairly
straightforward answer: good recruiters
provide value to law firms that are well
worth recruiting fees for any particular hire.
One firm recently gave BCG two jobs, and
informed us that there were only 2 other re-
cruiters they would trust with the searches.
One of the benefits, the firm told us, is they
knew they would only receive quality candi-
dates. Therefore, recruiters streamline the
hiring process so that firms are not paying
internal personnel to filter through resumes
received from other sources.

Some firms do receive resumes from
sources outside recruiters, of course. Even
so, BCG recently met with one hiring coor-
dinator, who showed us her laptop. She said
that she had 160 resumes from attorneys
who had applied on their own and she had
only a 40 minute break to consider all of


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