Know your role… or at least what you want it to be!

Question: “Is it a negative, to say that I don’t want a Leadership role?”

Answer: Not necessarily! It really depends on the position/organization you are interviewing for. 

If you feel you function best as a team member and enjoy being an active contributor…If you feel your talents are better suited to supporting and collaborating…If your happy place is working through a project or an assignment within a group and helping to propel the process…then by all means, say so!

All members of an organization/team/company hold a valuable place in the process! Knowing how you, as an individual, function best can only further support the company’s overall goal! Any manager will tell you that a solid, dedicated team member is worth their weight in gold!

It also may be that you are at a different stage in your career than the position you are applying for requires…and that’s OK too! Be sure to ask the specific questions to determine what type of leader they are looking for. Do they want an emerging leader, someone that they can develop over time? Do they want a dynamic personality that can pick up and lead now? Then ask yourself, am I that person? Do I want to be?

When it comes to leadership questions, it could very well be the hiring manager is just checking your temperature and trying to figure out where you fit best in their organization.

Don’t assume the negative and don’t be afraid to communicate your personal goals during the interview process!

Maybe your life is too hectic to take a leadership role! Maybe you are just not ready or do not feel comfortable with that level of responsibility right now! Maybe the idea of leading a team freaks you out! Or, maybe that is just not your work-life happy place.

Different strokes for different folks…It take all types…Go with what you know… (Insert your choice adage here)

Let us not forget one of the four major components to success is happiness…NO matter what job you are interviewing for, life is too short to take a position that you will not be happy in!

Heather Wallace, Senior Recruiter at Legal Specialists (Houston)

Finding The Right Recruiters

The search for great talent requires a lot more than a posting on a job board. To source, screen and hire the best attorneys, paralegals, administrators, human resources managers, IT professionals and support staff, consider partnering with an experienced legal recruiter.

Top recruiters are passionate, focused, ask insightful questions, listen, and spend the time necessary to deliver the best results for their clients. They can make the hiring process not only far more efficient, but effective, as well, providing access to high caliber candidates and giving employers more time to focus on priorities other than hiring.

But with so many choices out there, it can be hard to discern which recruiter is the best fit for your firm’s needs and goals. When you’d like to partner with an expert legal recruiter, what should you look for?

Seek out recruiters that understand the nuances of the legal industry and have experience placing candidates with firms like yours. Ask what relevant searches they have conducted and see how those match the position you are seeking to fill.

Listening Skills.
Successful recruiters do more listening than talking. They ask questions to gain insight needed to deliver positive results. The best recruiters will dedicate time to gather information about your firm’s key selling features. They will also seek to understand the specific personality, skills, education and expertise desired in a future employee.

Part of a recruiter’s job is to sell your employment brand. So if they’re not focused, passionate and knowledgeable about your firm, then they’re not going to be able to properly represent and promote your opportunity to potential candidates.

If you’re ready to partner with experienced legal recruiters in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area, put Legal Specialists on top of your list.  Our team of placement specialists has the knowledge and proven processes to help you attract, evaluate and ultimately hire top candidates for your openings. Contact us today to learn more.

A New Beginning

The holiday season is over and many organizations will be faced with staffing issues.   January is usually a time of resignations, terminations and forecasts. Planning ahead for this recurring reality is now even more important as we predict that 2015 is the year that intense recruiting competition returns.

That is because after years of slack hiring, the competition for top performers and technical talent will increase over the next year to the point where current recruiting resources and tools will be stretched to the limit. Aggressiveness, the need for counteroffers, higher rejection rates, and a renewed focus on recruiting the currently employed will all return to prominence. As a result of this increased competition, executives will begin to put pressure on hiring managers to produce new approaches that provide them with a competitive talent advantage.

One way to improve efficiency in recruiting is working with a staffing firm. This relationship is an investment that can save your organization the time and money it takes to locate, interview, hire and train new employees.

At Legal Specialists, our expert recruiters specialize in helping law firms plan for their staffing needs now and in the future. We are here to help you address human resource requirements with contract, contract-to-hire, permanent placement, and payroll-only option services. Our experienced staffing professionals excel at placing the best candidates with best-fit jobs. Plus, we have access to deep pools of legal talent and candidate databases that the general public does not.

Contact us today to start talking about strategic staffing for 2015!

Illegal Interview Questions

Most HR professionals know questions regarding age, race, ethnicity, gender, and disability are off-limits during an interview and can’t be used to decide whether or not a job offer is extended to a candidate. However, others involved in the interview process may inadvertently make inquiries that could have legal ramifications. Here are some common questions that are actually prohibited.

Have you ever been arrested?
An employer can’t legally ask about an arrest record, but can ask an applicant if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime.

Are you married?
Although one may harmlessly ask this question, it’s illegal because it reveals spousal status and could also disclose sexual orientation.

How long have you been working?
This question allows employers to guess an applicant’s age, which is illegal. But, an interviewer can ask how long they’ve worked in a certain industry.

What religious holidays do you practice?
This question reveals an individual’s religion and is unlawful however it is legal to ask if they’re available to work on days of religious observances.

What country are you from?
If a candidate has an accent, this may seem like an innocent question, but it’s illegal because it involves the person’s national origin.

Do you socially drink?
Interviewers cannot ask about drinking habits, because it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What type of discharge did you receive from the military?
This is not appropriate to ask, however it is okay to inquire about the type of education and training a candidate has received while in the military.

Employment laws are constantly changing and what was acceptable yesterday could be illegal today. So, everyone needs to keep up to date with changes. “Oh, we didn’t know we were not supposed to ask that” is NOT an appropriate response to claims of wrongful hiring practices!

Shaking Things Up

Amidst all the seriousness of recruiting, I thought I would have some fun with one of the most important, and sometimes one of the most awkward, parts of the job interview… that first handshake.  It’s amazing the vibe you can get from people by their handshake.  Sometimes fragile fingertip folding, sometimes feisty knuckle-knockers and other times like shaking hands with a snake… I never really seem to know what to expect. I have put together a list of some of the worst offenders.

Slimy Noodle: This one is particularly common and it’s perhaps the worst – a “dead fish”, fingers only, clammy or otherwise wimpy handshake can ruin an interview before it even begins.

Greasy Palm: Pretty self-explanatory. You’re left thinking only one thing, “Disinfectant, ASAP.” A handshake shouldn’t literally leave an impression on the other person!

Bone Crusher: This is where the person tries to prove all their strength and hide all their insecurities behind their handshake. They grip your hand so hard you’re convinced at least 14 of your 27 hand bones have been shattered. You instantly dislike this candidate.

The Hipster: This is the applicant that puts a little something on the end of the handshake: maybe a fist bump, high five or that thing where they try to get you into an arm wrestler’s grip and then some combination of Pat-a-cake and touching shoulders.

I Love You Man: This person believes that a handshake just is not enough for them, and they can tell by the look on your face that it’s not enough for you either. Gimme a hug, you big lug, and they yank your hand and pull you into a full frontal embrace.

Won’t Let Go:  I close this woeful list with the classic move that seems to go on for eternity. You do a few hand pumps…and then some more… and some more… and finally you start to wonder if you’ve just participated in some sort of wedding ceremony.

How Strong Is Your B-Team?

Turnover isn’t an issue organizations face with just administrative and operations employees, it affects all levels of a firm’s hierarchy including C-level executives and upper management.  Does your team have other players that could step up if a key position became vacant?

As the economy and job market improves, top producers and effective leaders may be recruited or start looking for a better deal.  This possibility is real, and if organizations aren’t proactive, they could soon be impacted by loss in efficiency and loyalty among the staff left behind.  It may be prudent to make the changes needed to “beef up your bench” in a way that is not stressful and helps ensure the firm remains productive during the process.

Obviously, losing senior executives could have a major effect on a firm and the way it operates, but what about less-senior employees? There are other individuals throughout an organization who play a vital role in maintaining resourcefulness and driving innovation.  Though there may be no need to prepare for mass exodus, it is important to start training others in case a key player does leave for another job.

In developing a deeper bench it’s important to know who would be the best person to fill a position should a manager leave.  Fortunately, hiring managers may not have to look too far to find a suitable replacement for an exiting leader.  Are there current employees who show signs of leadership potential?  Identifying who will be able to fill executive roles is not necessarily a matter of seniority.  Focus on whom best fits the requirements of the position.

Understanding the leaders an organization already has is the first step in being resilient to turnover.  However, having a B-Team in place if change occurs is the step needed to truly foster sustainable success that’s built to last.  Firms that are prepared for the future are the ones that stand the best chance of seeing it.


Changing Roles

Making career changes can  be more of a dilemma than most of us might imagine.  There are some fields that are more difficult to leave than others.  Certain ones, in many of our minds, seem to have required more of a “calling” or humane dedication.  For example, an individual who wants out of the teaching profession may have a difficult time in doing so.  Thought seems to be very pervasive that we shouldn’t encourage people to leave such a caring role.  A minister or priest is generally perceived to be on such a pedestal,  that if we respond to their application for a change in vocation, we may feel ourselves to be a participant in an unpardonable sin.  Social workers, who may have gotten into well-doing at a young age, in some instances have cast their lot forever.

It’s rather interesting as we sit in our Ivory Towers, how many of us know better what is best for everyone else.  Changing roles can be important to all of us; even those in human resources.  There are many fields where experience can be transferred very effectively into a complete new area of interest.  Often, an organization can benefit greatly from the perspective that a fresh approach can offer.


Dress For Success: What to Wear for an Interview

When searching for a job, it’s important to look the part. You want to dress like you’re professional, prepared, and capable – not like you just rolled out of bed. But, there are many different dress code policies in the business world, so how do you know whether or not to show up in the latest trends or go for the classic look? Follow these tips to pick out the best interview look that will get you noticed in a positive way.

Call the company first. To find out what an organization’s dress code is, contact the company before your interview to find out how you should dress for the occasion. Speak with the receptionist or your contact who helped set up your interview to get insight into what the firm’s culture is like and ask what employees typically wear to work. They might be able to share some insight to help you get started.

Flex your style level. When you find out what the dress code is, kick your wardrobe up a notch. For instance, if the dress code is business casual, make it a point to dress professional. Not sure what the difference is between these two? Find out here. For example in a professional environment, men and women interviewing for the job could wear a nice pantsuit. Just be observant of the organization’s everyday dress code. If employees typically wear jeans and a polo shirt, the executive look for your interview would be too much. Instead, go for slacks and nice shirt.

Choose classics over trends. It’s a great thing to express your personality through your clothing choices, but for a job interview it’s better to err on the side of caution. Stick to basic colors like white, blue, navy, grey, or black instead of bright neon colors. And it’s still OK to reflect your personal style, but do it in a subtle, tasteful way. Choose one element of your wardrobe to play up. Some examples are a bright tie, a hip handbag, or shoes with a modern cut. If your interview outfit is classic with a little punch of color, you still look very polished and professional. In addition, women should choose simple jewelry like diamond stud earrings and a nice necklace instead of wearing large hoop earrings or several attention grabbing necklaces.

An interview is a time for an employer to get to know about you, your skills, and your personality. You want to stand out from the competition, but not in a negative way.


What’s Around The Corner?

A number of organizations are wondering what hiring and human resources will look like in the future. With the beginning of the New Year this is a great time to consider predictions. The following is what we expect to see in 2014 and beyond.

Temporary is the new permanent. One thing that will remain constant in this year is uncertainty. Given the current unpredictability in the economy – such as the recent governmental shut-down, stock market fluctuations, and reluctance to move ahead with new initiatives, we foresee firms will likely continue to bring on temporary workers when help is needed.

Part-time hiring on the rise. While various factors will influence hiring trends, we anticipate employers will hire more part-time workers in 2014.

The way we work is changing.  Many firms are starting to re-evaluate their staffing needs and this development is particularly notable in the legal field.  Skilled attorneys, paralegals and other support staff are recognizing these new options and are entering the temporary and part-time labor pool. A number of clients feel that this is the best way to attract needed, skilled employees, and it provides greater opportunities for cost containment. In addition, bringing on an employee in a “try-before-you-buy” scenario can be a good way to assess whether a candidate is right for a position.

Demographic shifts are occurring.  An increasing number of individuals will look to contract, part-time work and other less-than-long-term employment. Here’s why: Younger workers are more mobile and receptive to contract staffing. Technology is providing the flexibility people need to use their skills in new ways.  Combine these and other factors with a firm’s focus on controlling expenses, and you have both the employment model as well as the needed workforce to propel growth.

Are you ready to see how temporary staffing solutions can benefit your firm’s objectives? If so, I would like to discuss your staffing requirements and help create a recruiting plan that will assist you in achieving them.

A Bright Spot

Hiring is exploding in one corner of the market: Temporary work. Contract employees and temps are proving their worth as the solution for flexibility in the workplace. There is greater appreciation for “just-in-time” personnel, since they are only compensated for the time worked and without the added financial burden of benefits costs. In addition, more and more, firms are opting to go with the “try-before-you-buy” method to fill openings.

With this option organizations can offer potential employees a trial period of sorts before bringing them on as full-time employees. There are few things more frustrating than hiring a candidate you think will be a rock star, only to realize two months later that they don’t quite ‘fit in’ with the rest of your team. Bringing on an employee in a temp or temp-to-hire scenario can be a great way to assess whether a candidate is right for a position.

As the jobs picture brightens, employers increasingly are turning to Legal Specialists’ pool of “flexible associates,” which enables firms to react quickly and strategically to meet the sudden changes that arise in business. We work as your partner to provide the highest quality contract and payrolling staff across a range of positions from entry-level to attorneys. Clients can expect top-notch, vetted and knowledgeable candidates recruited from a variety of sources.