With a population of two million compared to Sydney and Melbourne who are more than double our size, Perth is a small city. That means a lot fewer law firms and a lot fewer Legal Assistants.
Everyone knows everyone, or at least it feels that way. We all joke that there are two degrees of separation and it’s even smaller in the legal world! With a smaller pool to choose from and more law firms opening up in Perth, it’s becoming a very candidate short market, especially for top calibre Legal Assistants and Paralegals.
Here are a couple of things to consider when you are looking to grow your legal support team:
Don’t just rely on job advertisement response
Chances are if Legal Assistants are on SEEK and applying to your ad, they are also applying to other law firms - you will be in competition. Secondly, sometimes the best candidates for the job are the ones that are not actively looking. Think about it, often if they are performing well, the firms are making sure they keep those employees happy so that they don’t leave. They could still be persuaded to leave, if they aren’t looking, they need to be directly approached.
Use your network
The great part of Perth being such a close-knit environment is good people often know good people. Ask your network who they can refer, it’s always better to hire someone through someone you trust to give a recommendation.
Engage an agency that understands your business
I hear it often, “we are advertising and recruiting directly to save the cost of an agency”.
It is right, a Recruitment Consultant charges a fee, however, if you are doing it yourself, what is the cost for:
a) your job advertisement posting?
b) your own hourly rate x amount of hours spent on: writing the ad, posting the ad, reviewing applications, phone screening, testing, interviewing, coordinating diaries providing feedback, reference checking, etc. etc.?
c) the opportunity cost – time spent recruiting means your focus is away from other tasks?
d) hiring someone who isn’t the right fit?
Partner with an agency who your values align with, that has your business’s best interest at heart, takes the time to understand the ins and outs of your law firm, the structure, the culture, the future plans, the personalities, so that they can approach those candidates that you can’t reach through your own network. It’s important that your law firm partner with a Legal Recruiter who specialises in Legal and understands the market, the calibre of firms that people come from, the practice areas and what it takes to be exceptional as a Legal Assistant.
Optimise your ads
If you do choose to advertise yourself as a first step, make sure your ad is really going to attract the best candidates. Put yourself in a Legal Assistant’s shoes – what will be of importance to them? Why should they join your law firm and not another?