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Lawyers, recruitment and social media

Posted by: Laurence Simons 27/06/14

New research from Laurence Simons has challenged some of the perceptions currently held about lawyers, social media and the ways in which legal professionals search for new roles. LinkedIn has become an important part of the recruitment process, with many candidates using the site as a way of showing their skills to potential employers as well as a good first stop-off when looking for new roles.

According to a study conducted by Laurence Simons, 46 per cent of British lawyers now begin their search for a job on the social media platform, compared to 60 per cent of their global counterparts. This puts paid to the old canard that the legal sector has been a slow adopter of modern technologies and the social web, showing that there are plenty of options available to lawyers when seeking out a change in position online.

However, it appears that many candidates still prefer the personal touch, which is understandable in an industry as competitive and reputation-driven as law. Only 1.4 per cent of respondents had found their current role on LinkedIn, with a third having used the services of a recruitment consultant in doing so. Similar figures were recorded globally, with two per cent of lawyers finding a position online and 30 per cent working with an expert recruiter.

The advantages of this are manifold - recruiting professionals can help with both the big and small picture, making tweaks to your application or approach while also suggesting what the best areas or firms could be for you to look towards.

Richard Turrell, Group Head of Digital for global recruitment company FiveTen Group (parent company of Laurence Simons) said “Across the majority of professional service industries social media continues to be hotly discussed, in particular the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. In reality, legal professionals are by nature very well equipped to understand how they should behave and more importantly what behaviours they should avoid.”

He continued “For an industry that relies on recommendations and trust, platforms such as LinkedIn provide lawyers with the opportunity to discreetly research and build strong international networks that further their career options. Rather than simply being slow adopters lawyers tend to be more aware of the time they invest in new initiatives which for many is seen as a cautious approach instead of a logical decision.”

Finally, the fact that 48 per cent of lawyers consider a personal referral to be important when applying for a job highlights the way in which hiring firms can be influenced by reputation and connections.

Applying through a trusted recruitment agency will make firms more likely to take notice of a candidate, especially if they already have an impressive background and the experience needed to do well in the advertised role.

Chris Cayley, EMEA Managing Director for Laurence Simons, has been in the recruitment industry for over 20 years and has certainly seen how social media has affected the recruitment process. “Just as the internet had an impact on how people applied for roles and found information, say fifteen years ago, social media has changed the way the recruitment sector works yet again. I said at the time that there would still be a significant place for good recruiters as trusted advisors to clients and candidates and our research demonstrates that relationships are still really important to people when furthering their careers. While there is no doubt that social media has given job seekers an additional route to find their desired role independently, the professional advice and bespoke service provided by a reliable recruiter cannot be matched by the one-size-fits-all approach provided by online services.”