Legal hiring has been wildly competitive in 2022. Job openings have been abundant, while candidates open to changing jobs have been fewer than normal. Though hiring typically slows as the end of the year approaches, we often have companies rushing at year-end to finish up hiring for an unfilled position or a new opening due to a departure, retirement, or a new project or acquisition.
Here are a few tips for companies looking to hire before year-end:
- Write a Good Job Description – Explain why a candidate should want to join your company and the specific responsibilities and path to growth they will enjoy in the role. Choose words carefully to make the job description clear, concise, and attractive. Be specific with respect to responsibilities and skills, but don’t overload the job description with a laundry list of requirements.
- Be Flexible – In today’s competitive job market, it is hard to find someone with all the skills. So be flexible about “must have” vs. “nice to have” skills. Think about hiring someone who can be trained quickly and consider soft skills such as teamwork, adaptability, motivation to succeed.
- Know Your Strengths – What does your company offer that is attractive to a new team member? Expanding into new practice areas? Opportunity to manage a team? A stable, tried-and-true business, or perhaps a new, emerging industry? Unique company culture? Include these strengths briefly in the written job description and be prepared to expand in detail during first round interviews.
- Track Compensation Trends – Law firm salary wars have pushed up compensation for in-house legal departments, too. Know what other in-house legal departments are paying for similar positions. Paying market salary will make it easier to attract and keep high-quality candidates. A higher salary for your in-house attorney is usually less expensive than paying outside counsel.
- Brag on Benefits – Many companies offer much more generous employee benefits than law firms. Share your Benefits Summary early in the process. 401K matching, health/dental premiums, employee stock purchase plans, short-term and long term bonuses can really add up.
- Double-time Your Hiring Process – If your goal is to get a new hire on board by year-end or early January, your hiring process should be organized and efficient. Plan ahead for the interview rounds that will be necessary to make a decision. Holiday parties and travel will become a factor by late-November and can delay the process. Remember that your chosen candidate needs to professionally resign with at least two weeks’ notice to their current employer.
- Consider a Sign-On Bonus – Candidates who expect a bonus at year-end or in Q1 2023 will be reluctant to leave their bonus behind. A Sign-On Bonus might be the motivation needed to entice a lawyer. Paying a sign-on bonus is a short-term cost that can allow you to stay within budgeted salary grades and get the new hire on board in a timely way. Allowing a candidate to wait to collect an annual bonus that is payable in a few months can backfire: in the interim, their current company could promote them or their personal circumstances could change, causing them to rescind their job acceptance before their start date.
- Cross the Finish Line – Keep recruiting your chosen candidate through their start date. Be prepared to react if the candidate receives a counter-offer from their current employer, and stay in touch by taking them to lunch or sending updates from the company between offer acceptance and start date.
Whether you’re hoping to hire by year-end or planning your budget for 2023, Pye Legal Group can be your partner to make the entire hiring process run smoothly.