Probate & Property Magazine

P R O B A T E   &   P R O P E R T Y
Vol. 22 No. -2

Young Lawyers Network

When the Recruiter Calls

At one time or another, you will meet a recruiter. Either your phone will ring or an e-mail will arrive. Perhaps you contact a recruiter yourself. If you are looking for a new position, using a recruiter also may provide you with opportunities that are not widely published.

Generally, a recruiter can be either internal for one organization or one who works for multiple clients, sometimes called headhunters. Recruiters can help law firms and companies by finding, screening, and introducing only those who appear to be good candidates for the organization. Recruiters help attorneys by contacting them and describing available opportunities and navigating the attorney through each stage of the interviewing and hiring process. Also, recruiters can provide insight and expertise into the market.

What do you need to know about recruiters to ensure that they are working efficiently for your needs?

First, keep in mind that generally a company or firm has retained a recruiter to fill an available position. This company or firm is paying the recruiter. So, in the initial call, the recruiter is trying to find out if you may be the right fit for a position they have in mind currently or may have in the future. Also, some recruiters expect you to pay them to help you find a job. Bear in mind who is paying the costs.

There are several types of recruiters, such as recruiting firms, otherwise known as temporary agencies. These positions tend to fill quickly, and in the legal world may involve only administrative work or document review. The work is not necessarily meant to lead to a permanent position. There are a few success stories of attorneys who have taken positions from a temp agency and have become associates in law firms. Sometimes it is not how you get in the door, as long as you get in the door.

The next type is a consultant. Consultants generally work closely with business and offer a variety of services. One reason a consultant may be hired is to help grow the firm or help with marketing efforts. The business may have a long-standing relationship with the consultant. The consultant works within the corporate culture to best understand the proper fit between candidates and the company.

The last type is an executive recruiter or a headhunter. This type includes large, worldwide, and smaller specialized recruiting firms focused mostly on experienced associate and above positions. They also may recruit for executives in the corporate world.

Like a job interview, have questions in mind when the recruiter calls. For instance, try to find out how the recruiter found out about you (that is, through or a colleague). You also should find out how many jobs the recruiter has retained in the past. Have those jobs been with this firm or company? How well does he or she know the firm/company? Of course, the standard questions also apply, such as what does the position entail, what’s the salary, are there benefits, and so on.

If you are not suitable for the position, the recruiter will tend to hold onto your information in case another position becomes available that may be a better fit. Also, do not be surprised if the recruiter asks for names of people you may know who you think can fill the position. Finally, a recruiter will not proceed without your agreement.

If you are a suitable match, the recruiter will ask for your resume. Generally, the recruiter is not there to give resume advice but may ask you to tweak yours to specifically entice the employer for its open position. Your resume will be passed onto the appropriate person at the firm or company, who may direct the recruiter to set up an interview for you.

If your recruiter knows the firm or company well, he or she can give you key insights into the interview process. This point in the process may be where the recruiter is the most helpful. If there is a match, the recruiter is there to help you with salary negotiations and to serve as a conduit for any additional questions you may have.

If you look at a recruiter as another tool in a successful career search, you may be able to learn about additional opportunities to advance your career.


Dan Binstock, Ten Questions to Ask the Headhunter,

Michael T. Robinson, How to Get the Most Out of Head Hunters,

Thad Peterson, The Top Keywords Recruiters Use to Find You,



P R O B A T E   &   P R O P E R T Y
January/February 2008
Vol. 22 No.2