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Tips for Hiring in Today’s Tight Job Market

Christopher Earley


  • Despite the scarcity perception of hiring, an abundance mindset can help you find a great hire.
  • Hiring slow is key to the process even if you are desperate to fill a position because dealing with a difficult employee will cause more issues for you.
  • Never go with your gut when choosing a candidate to fill an open position.
Tips for Hiring in Today’s Tight Job Market

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We are definitely in a very tough hiring environment. The Great Resignation is impacting the job market significantly. This means it is harder and harder for law firms to find new hires. That does not mean fantastic people are not out there. It only means we have to work a little harder to find them. Below are some tips to increase your chances of finding and hiring the right people to work at your firm.

Maintain an Abundance Mindset

It may be really frustrating to find people now, and that can feel very defeating. However, watch and be mindful of how you think about this issue. As with anything, getting your mind right is key. Specifically, are you looking at things from a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset? Are you thinking positively or negatively about your chances of finding a great hire? The universe will give you what you ask of it. Be sure to keep the proper mindset as your go about attracting that perfect candidate to your firm.

If you are thinking about and operating from a scarcity mindset (“there are no good people out there, so I’ll never fill that open seat”), consider adopting an abundance mindset (“there are tons of diamonds in the rough out there, and I just need to continue searching until I find them”). This is a small but powerful mindset shift that has helped me tremendously when it comes to thinking about hiring.

Hire Slow

“Hire slow” is an axiom that doesn’t change when hiring markets do. The more thorough you can vet applicants, the better. That means you always need to really kick the tires on all job applicants and be very choosy, regardless of current hiring challenges. For example, during an interview, I ask open-ended questions that are intended to get the applicant to talk. Dive as deep as you can to really get a feel for how the applicant thinks. Really listen to the answers you get. Ask “why?” frequently because that helps to drill down on how the applicant thinks, which reveals very subtle clues you want to listen for.

If a candidate admits he historically has had trouble getting to work on time or that he does not like a fast-paced environment, those are “tells” to me that this is not the right candidate to work at my firm. Similarly, if he tells me that he likes to read a lot, that tells me he is probably curious and likes to learn. If he shares that he genuinely likes serving and helping people, that is a really attractive quality to me when it comes to people whom I want on my team. Really and truly listen during the interview to what the applicant says so you don’t miss anything at all.

Ask curveball questions and never generic questions that each and every applicant gets asked at every interview. Curveball questions I ask are, “What is the worst thing a previous employer would say about you?” or, “What would your friends say is your greatest weakness?” I make clear there are no right or wrong answers, and this I find is disarming and makes the applicant settle in comfortably into the interview. This uncovers so much interesting information that can show me whether or not this candidate is a potential hire.

If I like the applicant, then I will have him or her back for a second interview, and that is when I have my team members interview the applicant. I do it that way because, almost certainly, they will pick up on things that I have missed. The more eyes and ears you can have on a potential candidate, the better your chances of finding and selecting the right person for the job.

Be sure to test all applicants whom you like. For non-attorney roles, asking for the applicant to complete a grammar test or to provide writing samples can be quite helpful. You should also administer personality tests to all applicants, as this can provide insights you want to know about an applicant you are interested in potentially hiring.

Be very intentional and careful when you hire. Really kick the tires on any applicant you are interested in hiring. Never go with your gut just because you feel really confident that someone is potentially a great hire. Always, always hire slow (and fire fast).

Email me at [email protected] with your own methods of finding and hiring great job candidates—I would love to hear from you.