Six ways a legal recruiter can add value to your job search

Author Samantha Fong
April 13, 2020

With the help of technology, we have seen the process of the job search dramatically change over the last decade. Technology has significantly reduced the time, knowledge and research needed for applying to a vacancy. In 2020, you can directly apply to a job easily by simply uploading your CV on social media or job portal websites. However, in my view, this is not always an effective way of securing a role, at least not in the legal market. This article aims to discuss the values a legal recruiter brings to a candidate’s job search, and how this will result in a win-win-win situation.

Rewinding to my previous career, having been a candidate myself, I always looked forward to speaking with recruiters about my experience, ambition and opportunities. However, to my disappointment, the initial phone calls usually lasted no more than five minutes, and came with a standard sales pitch for an opportunity, followed by weak attempts to extract information about my compensation and organisational structure of the company. These calls often resulted in me talking far less than the recruiters.

I was looking for a career change into recruitment, with a particular desire to join a legal recruitment team where I could become a legal recruiter who would properly listen to the candidate’s situation and career aspirations, build long lasting relationships with the candidates and most importantly, add value to their job search process.

With the right legal recruiter in play, here are the top six ways we can add value to your job search.

  1. Getting to know you

Not every candidate fits a firm, and equally not every firm fits a candidate; a legal recruiter will take the time to understand and get to know you to work this out. We want to know why you chose your practice area, what you enjoy doing, rather than just your salary and job expectations. We’ll want to create a long term relationship with you and be a long term resource, so we that we can then position you with a law firm with the right cultural fit. We understand how stressful and challenging the job search process can be, and we treat candidates the way we would want to be treated as candidates.

  1. Power of relationships

A legal recruiter is familiar with the law firms they are making placements for, and as a result we will then only put forward the best suited candidates for the firm. We also source jobs that you may not have heard of in the market, with some law firms using us exclusively for certain vacancies.

We all know that employers receive countless CVs, even when they are not actively hiring, which means when applying directly for roles your CV has to stand out. However, if a legal recruiter is well-respected in the market, the employer is more likely to approve a candidate’s profiles recommended to them by the recruiter, which means avoiding having your CV (no matter how outstanding) going straight to old and dusty email archives.

The benefit of the relationship between a legal recruiter and a hiring managers is that they have a direct line to follow up with a potential employer after your CV is submitted. You can also take advantage of effective salary negotiation tactics when using a legal recruiter, as you may be concerned that directly putting your cards on the table may be perceived as greed to your future employer. A legal recruiter will take your emotion and feelings out of the negotiation process, whilst still matching your salary expectations.

  1. Time

We understand that you will already have billable hours to meet, working tremendously hard to meet deadlines day-to-day, as well as late into evenings and weekends. And then once you get time off for a breather, you may not have the motivation or energy to launch a serious job search on your own. It is unlikely to be a high priority in anyone’s weekend plans, no matter how much you are looking to move. A legal recruiter understands that finding the right job can be an exhausting process, we also understand that lawyers typically require a significant investment of time into networking, researching and due-diligence during their job search. A good legal recruiter can do this work for you, saving you the time and effort you would otherwise need to add to your already hectic schedule.

We have a database that makes the job search process faster, we have more hours in our day to talk to more people than you in a wider network and we know about job vacancies as soon as they become available. After all, this is what we do all day, every day.

  1. Network

A legal recruiter has unique access to market knowledge, such as hiring trends, salaries and bonuses. We are also usually one of the first to know about the ins and outs of law firms. In addition, we have personal relationships with the hiring partners as quite often we placed the hiring partner in the job, thus a legal recruiter can provide you with the interviewing style and questions that an interviewer is likely to ask, and any specific skillsets they may be looking for.

  1. After sales service

By the time we have successfully placed you, we will have spent hours getting to know your personality, day-to-day and career aspirations. By that point we should hopefully have earned your trust as well as the employers trust in us. We don’t then treat a placement as a one-off business transaction and then end the relationship; we aim to be a friend and career coach for life, assisting you in creating a career plan (and a back-up plan, just in case).

  1. It’s free!

Using a legal recruiter is free for a candidate, and there really should be no risk involved in reaching out and getting started. A good legal recruiter is not incentivised to make placements as quickly as possible. We are actually incentivised to make long-lasting placements. Recruiters are not rewarded for making weak placements that turn out to be short-term, i.e. when a candidate leaves the job within a certain period.

A successful legal recruiter consistently places candidates in roles where they will be happy, and this is the result of taking the time to get to know the candidate, using solid judgement, leveraging their experience, network and knowledge of practices and personnel to support the interest of the candidates we represent. Ultimately, creating a situation that is advantageous to the employer, candidate and the recruiter. In simple words, a win-win-win situation.

For more information on how Jonathan can help you with your job search in Hong Kong, please email