What To Do When Your Interview Is Like a Bad First Date

My manager recently asked me to write a blog – sigh – I’m not one for blogging, Instagram is about it for me.  I rapidly realised that finding a topic is insanely hard and there were no light bulb moments happening on a Monday afternoon. I pretty quickly ended up on a far more interesting article ‘How To Get Out Of The Date From Hell’. As the author rightly states everyone needs an “undeniably kick-ass exit strategy” for that date when the person is a completely less photo shopped version of themselves in real life… I realise I am well off on a tangent here as I am sure you are asking what the relevance of this is to securing a career progressing job in the legal industry?

Well what do you do if you find yourself in a job interview and for whatever reason, this is NOT the job you signed up for. You completely give up and start thinking where to get a skinny latte at 4pm. How do you then exit that interview whilst maintaining your reputation. This is where the alignment to the disastrous date ends, unfortunately you can’t have your recruiter on speed dial for the “someone needs me” strategy. However, making a professional escape and protecting your reputation in a small market is still possible. Here’s how…

  • Maintain a respectful attitude and keep positive – Often there is more than one position on offer and chances are they might be considering you for more than one position that you aren’t across – Options are your best friend!
  • Treat the interview as an opportunity to network and build relationships – you never know who knows who.
  • Don’t make a snap judgement – You might be pleasantly surprised about the opportunities within the position for your career
  • Never ever walk out – Being uninterested or cutting an interview short can be just as detrimental.

Interviewing really can be like dating: you can’t control the outcome, some turn out great, while some don’t, the best thing to do is to make the most of the opportunity. If the job on offer isn’t a great fit for you, then keep looking for one that does!

Emma Weeber LLB.
Email:      emma@empiregroup.careers
Phone:     (03) 8602 7400

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7 Advantages Of Hiring Through A Recruitment Agency

If you’ve ever been through the process of hiring staff, then you understand that great talent is hard to find.

With so many jobs being advertised across a broad range of channels, it may be overwhelming to consider the best approach, to attract candidates with the right qualifications.

Whether you’re looking to hire an experienced Manager, a junior employee, or bolster up an entire team, specialist recruitment agencies offer a range of benefits, including an effective and streamlined process.

A well-connected agent will know your industry inside out, and is positioned to deliver you the best outcome. Engage a recruitment agency to ensure results and grow your business.

Why Should You Use A Recruitment Agency?

There are many reasons that a recruitment agency can assist with finding and securing the right talent. The reasons outlined below, highlight the benefits of hiring an external recruitment agency, in selecting the best candidate to join your team.

1. Industry Knowledge

When it comes to finding talent, businesses have specific requirements across each industry. An experienced recruitment consultant who specialises in an industry such as the legal or medical industries will have access to candidates who have the right set of qualifications. Specialist recruiters will provide a shortlist of candidates who are appropriate for the role, whereas internal teams may have to sift through countless resumes of unqualified applicants.

The recruitment agency should understand the relevant requirements and legalities surrounding the industry they’re in. Recruitment agencies who specialise in the medical, financial and legal industries will be able to issue expert advice about employee legislation that applies to these niches.

2. Access To An Extended Talent Pool

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and specialist agencies are more likely to attract qualified candidates than other recruitment channels.

Agencies with knowledge in the recruitment sector have access to promotional tools that will ensure their job advertisements reach extended audiences. People who are actively seeking employment are more likely to see these placements and submit their application.

Empoyer Branding

3. Understanding & Improving Your Employer Brand

Employer brand is key to finding great talent and recruitment agencies understand its importance. A fully briefed recruitment consultant can provide candidates with a feel for the company culture and insights behind what its like to work in your business.

4. Understanding Hiring Needs

Whether your hiring needs are infrequent or ongoing, recruitment agencies can improve the employment process and provide relief for internal teams.

Infrequent Recruitment

For businesses who hire staff infrequently, maybe once or twice a year, having a dedicated recruiter on staff may not be feasible. Recruitment agencies can help to find the right candidate and have them profiled and guaranteed, with minimal involvement required from the company’s internal team.

Regular Recruitment

Companies who recruit regularly may need additional support for their internal teams. Recruitment agencies will help speed up the process of finding qualified candidates and reduce time spent filtering unqualified applicants.

Cover Letter Writing Tips

5. Trust & Validation Of Candidate’s Qualities

It is within the recruitment agency’s interest to verify candidate’s qualities and ensure they are suitable for the role. Recruitment agencies have the resources and tools to validate an applicants credentials, seek references and perform the appropriate checks.

These processes often take time to execute and may not be completed by smaller businesses or internal HR teams who are inundated with new staff.

6. Assistance With Negotiation

Recruitment agencies who understand the needs of their clients have a better ability to negotiate with applicants than internal HR teams.

Experienced recruitment consultants with a strong understanding of niche industries are positioned to provide advice on market rates for salaries and conditions across specific industries.

7. Efficiency & Speed

A recruitment agency can save huge amounts of time sifting through applications, so that you only have to spend time looking at people who are worth considering.

Recruitment consultants will take care of the administration that goes into finding great people. These tasks include communicating with applicants, notifying unsuccessful candidates, providing feedback, and verifying candidate information.

Your consultant will collate all of the candidates’ queries so that you can deal with them in one go. This often helps businesses to save significant amounts of time during the hiring process.

Contract and temporary roles can be filled quickly with short notice since the agency will have access to a pool of applicants who are already verified.

Find the right talent for your business

Are you ready to empower your business with great people? Speak to one of our specialist recruitment consultants about how we can help you find the right talent for your business.

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5 Hiring Tips To Help You Find The Perfect Candidate

Gone are the days when the hiring process involved sitting in a cold room opposite a potential employee, asking the same questions only to receive the same subpar answers. With a little fine-tuning here and a few tips there, knowing how to hire the right candidate just became a whole lot easier!

Our Guide To Hiring The Perfect Candidate

Here are a few essential job hiring tips for employers to ensure you find the right person the first time round in the interviewing process.

1. Outline Expectations & Deliverables During The Interview

Otherwise known as quantifying deliverables, one of the best hiring tips for employers is to outline what you expect of a potential future employee by the 30, 60, and 90-day marks while in an interview. This helps clarify to the candidate how they can make their skills an asset to the job, while also assisting you in assessing whether the person in front of you meets the company’s most basic needs

2. Take The Time To Find The Right Fit

With one employee moving companies, another on maternity leave, and a third leaving next week… trust us, we completely understand the sense of urgency surrounding the need to find someone, anyone, to fill the gap in the company straight away. However, this is the wrong way to approach the hiring process, as it could result in hiring an applicant who looks good on paper but is a terrible match for the company. Slow the process down to ensure you hire the right candidate.

3. Listen To The Candidate’s Questions

You can tell a lot about a candidate from the way they pose their questions. Are they confident in their queries? Do their questions reflect an in-depth knowledge and brand awareness around your company? Here’s another job hiring tip: if what they’re asking reflects the company’s culture and a true passion for the role, they might just be the perfect fit.

4. Assess The Candidate’s Cultural Fit With The Company

Speaking of company culture, this is an important element to take into consideration when looking at how to hire the right employee. While digital tools such as LinkedIn and ATS systems are great at ensuring only the best make it to the interview stage, data can only tell you so much. Personality is important and assessed best by asking behavioural questions that test how they would react to common situations within the workplace.

5. Make The Candidate Feel Comfortable To Be Themselves

The biggest hiring tip for employers? Make the candidate feel comfortable in an interview. Nerves aside, the traditional interview process of lining applicants out the door and speeding them through the hiring process is an outdated one, as it limits how much you can truly learn about a candidate’s personality and values.

Therefore, making your interviewees comfortable is crucial to comprehend whether or not they are the right candidate.

Speak To An Expert Recruitment Consultant Now

Looking for a more comprehensive overview containing all the best job hiring tips for your industry? Speak to an expert recruitment consultant today

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Job Interview Tips For Legal Candidates

You’ve received the phone call and have secured an interview, so the next step is to land the executive job at the law firm of your dreams. We’ve put together a guide to help you prepare for your next job interview.

Preparing For The Job Interview

A lawyer would never go into trial unprepared, so the job application process is exactly the same. The list of law firm questions and answers is endless, so here is what you need to know before heading into your job interview.

Match Your Skills To The Job Advertised

The perfect prep is to read over the role advertised and corroborate the skills you have to the ones the job needs. In this way, you’ll know which of your talents to highlight on the day.  

Know The Organisation

Who are the partners? When was the firm founded? What field of law do they specialise in? You can never be too prepared, so it’s best to know the organisation by heart and prepare some questions to ask at the interview to truly impress at your job interview at a law firm.

Call To Confirm Time And Location

Show that you’re organised by calling ahead and confirming the time, place, and the name of your interviewer. Being late is never a good sign, so it is always good practice to check the traffic and leave extra time for travel when heading to the job interview.

Dress For Success

The preparation extends to the wardrobe as well so be sure to organise what you’re wearing ahead of time.  Your interview attire should be a professional reflection of yourself and will be one of the first impressions you make on the day. 

At The Interview

While a meeting with a legal firm is always nerve-wracking, remember these tips to make the most of your first impression.

Keep Calm

The first thing to do is relax. We recommend to keep your focus on the interviewer and avoid any negative thoughts. Feeling prepared will help with nerves so remember to bring important documents such as your CV, academic records, references, etc.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Don’t forget your manners! A firm handshake and polite thank you to those you talk to will all contribute to making a good first impression. Remember to leave any bad habits such as smoking or coffee cups outside the door. It’s also a good idea to put your phone on silent.

Be Responsive

Last, but not least, be sure you’re attentive to the interviewer. It’s important to smile and provide eye contact while you respond to the interviewer to help position you as a confident, yet respectful future law firm employee.

Questions To Answer During Your Job Interview

You can expect to answer some of the following questions at your legal job interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you decide to study law?
  • Are your academic achievements an accurate reflection of your abilities? Why or why not?
  • What do you know about our firm?
  • What can you bring to the form?
  • What area/s of law most interests you?
  • Tell me about a major accomplishment.
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What interests you most about our legal system?
  • How has your education and experience prepared you for the practice of law?
  • Describe a professional failure and how you handled it.
  • Why should we hire you over other candidates?
  • What were your accountabilities/responsibilities in your prior work experiences?
  • What did you particularly enjoy/dislike about that role?
  • Describe a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a problem.
  • What are the cases that our firm worked on that you find particularly interesting?
  • Why did you leave your prior employment?
  • During legal studies, what extracurricular activities did you participate in?
  • What questions do you have?

 

Finishing The Interview

While you might feel relief that your interview is coming to a close, make sure you remain professional until the very end.

Ask Questions

It may seem counterintuitive, but when the interviewer ends with a query such as “Do you have any questions for me?” the worst thing you can say is “no”.

Answering this question with more questions is your opportunity to flaunt your knowledge of the company or otherwise show your interest in working at the legal firm.

Questions To Ask During Your Job Interview

It’s best to prepare your questions ahead of time to ensure you’re ready. Try some of the following questions at your next job interview:

  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What is the induction process for new starters?
  • What is the immediate need in your law firm that you are hoping to address with this legal position?
  • What would a typical day on this legal team look like for me?

Get Your Free CV Review Today

Now that you have all the job interview tips, all that’s left is to clean up your resume! Click this link to get your free CV review today.

5 Cover Letter Writing Tips For Success

Cover Letter Writing Tips
In this highly competitive candidate market a well-written cover letter can be your greatest tool in getting noticed. 
Applying for jobs can sometimes seem like an arduous and administrative heavy process, but spending the extra time on a cover letter shows potential employers and recruiters that you value the opportunity and are serious about their job.

Be Concise

A cover letter should be concise with no more than 2-3 paragraphs. Keep in mind this is your opportunity to let the employer know why they should hire you. It should be professional yet conversational and to the point.

Personalise Your Cover Letter

It is critical to personalise your cover letter to the role rather than sending out a generic cover letter. If possible, you should address it personally to the recruiter or hiring manager.

Address any criteria mentioned in the job ad and discuss the qualifications and experience that make you suitable for the role. Without being over-the-top or boastful, explain why you want the role so much. Explain what interests you about their industry and their organisation in particular.

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Keep it professional!

Do not mention any personal challenges or family commitments that have taken you away from your career. This can open you up to discrimination and unless they will affect your ability to carry out your role, they are not relevant.

Request An Interview

Finish with a closing paragraph expressing your desire to meet them for an interview. Ensure this sounds genuine and polite, never pushy. It’s a nice idea to include your phone number.

Check Your Spelling And Grammar

Last but not least – check all spelling and grammar! Print it out, read and re-read it and get a second opinion if necessary. Poor written communication skills can be a major red flag for employers.

Get A Free CV Review

Take your career to new heights with a free CV review from one of our experienced consultants. Click here to get started.

Written by Jo Williams: Corporate Support Consultant – empire group

What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

Written by Libby Mizrahi– Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional) Melbourne VIC

Let’s face it, job interviews can be daunting. Usually however, we find that the anxiety we create in our minds around an upcoming interview, is a lot worse than the interview itself.   In fact, amongst most of the lawyers that I work with, those that are most apprehensive pre- interview, are equally as surprised post interview, with how well the interview proceeded. Conversely, some of the most confident lawyers are actually underprepared for interview and perform badly.

Interviews, like a lot of other things in life, are as scary as we make them. The more prepared you are going in, the better the result. For most of us, we need to look at the interview process in a new way. We need to reframe the way we perceive the interview as a chance to demonstrate or sell our unique and high level skills and experience. That’s where it can get exciting.  It’s a chance to paint of a picture of the type of person we are, discus what motivates and drives us, what we enjoy in our work, what we are passionate about and where we want to take our careers. Once we reconsider the process within this paradigm, most of that tension and anxiety dissipates and we can concentrate on the positive aspects of the process.

The number one, hands down best advice I can give as a recruiter is to BE PREPARED for the interview.  Hell, be over prepared, it will be a lot of easier pick and choose what you want to share in interview,  than to have to struggle and stammer through what may feel like an interrogation.

This includes:

  • Research the firm, partners and team

I encourage the lawyers I work with to use me as a resource. My job is to provide as much relevant info as I can on my client. This info has been gained over some 15 years and is invaluable. Lawyers should do their own research as well, scour the internet / LinkedIn and know your audience well ahead of time. You will need to know exactly why you want to work with this firm/ team.

  • Know your CV inside out and be able to sell your skills, abilities and experiences.

You need to know very convincingly how you could contribute to the firm. You need to be armed with examples of matters you have worked on and highlight of your career to date.

  • Be armed and ready to ask relevant questions.

It’s just as important to remember that the interview is also an opportunity for you to find out about the firm.

  • Don’t stress if it doesn’t work out.

If things don’t go to plan, learn from the experience and move on. Focus on doing better next time round.

Risky business: taking calculated career moves

Written by Sally Hill – Recruitment Consultant (Medical & Corporate Support), Brisbane QLD

The career path of the contemporary worker can be quite varied as business needs change, jobs evolve and industries are hit with tough economic conditions.  If you find yourself on your evening commute home from another day on the job wondering what it’s all for, whether you’re in the right job, that you’re stuck in the wrong job, or you should have finished that degree – you’re not alone.

A great feature of the modern workplace is that most direct managers will be extremely supportive of any desire for change, and will appreciate the honesty from a team member admitting that they’re not engaged with their current position.  The key is having the self-awareness to initiate change before your performance starts to slip from loss of motivation or purpose.

Your organisation may offer the flexibility or the path to be able to change departments, expertise or start all over again – you will never know unless you open the conversation.  Don’t lead yourself into a rut, follow your instincts and make something happen if you have doubts about your existing role.

Reflect upon your situation, your values and what you want to be spending over 40 hours a week doing.  If you’re leaning towards changing industries or career altogether, you’re probably going to have to take a step or two back both in title and salary, inevitably shake up your comfort zone and take a risk – all daunting concepts, but all so rewarding if you make the right move.

Research the job market; what entry-level vacancies are advertised, do you have any transferable skills or experience?  Do you have a strong and interesting working background that could give you an edge over someone who has been doing the same roles for ten years?

Contact a recruiter working within your ideal or existing industry, they likely see candidates from each and may be able to provide you with the best angle to get into your desired role.  Ask yourself these questions, talk to the right people and get to where you want to be.

Effective Workplace Communication

Written by Tarnya Mangano – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Support) Brisbane, QLD

Simple, but sometimes we all forget the art of effective communication, especially in our workplaces.  Of course, we all think we have great communication skills, and every job requires them – but what does it really mean?  And what does it mean to have these skills when it comes to your job?

Communication is about more than just exchanging information.  It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.  Effective communication is also a two-way street.  It’s not only how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it’s also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said, to make the other person feel heard and understood.  Communication, whether verbal, written or visual can be expressed in positive (assertive) or negative (aggressive, passive) ways.  People need to take feedback from how others interpret or perceive how they are communicating.  Sometimes we can be perceived as aggressive even though it is not intended.  It is all about how the other person has “heard” your communication.

Communication is the key to all successful projects and a lack of adequate communication can prove to be the downfall of many, which would otherwise be successful.  Effective communication can certainly help you develop your connections with others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving.  It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.  Effective communication in the workplace can also increase work productivity and output which leads to the success of the business.

Good communication skills are some of the simplest, most essential and most useful tools for success you can possess.  In fact, they are probably the number one ability sought by employers. 

Some key skills we all need to be reminded of to improve our communication;

  • Become an engaged listener,
  • Pay attention to nonverbal signals,
  • Keep stress in check,
  • Empathise and encourage,
  • Assert yourself.

Regardless of what field you’re in and despite the apparent hollowness of the term, honing your ‘communication skills’ will pay you back many times over.  If you get it right, you’re guaranteed to have a much smoother path through life and your career.

Ask a Specialist Legal Recruiter: “What are your top 5 recommendations for entering the legal market?”

Specialist legal recruiter: Hi. My name is Libby Mizrahi (LLB) (Hons) and I’ve been recruiting legal professionals in the Melbourne market for over a decade. Throughout my career, I’ve recruited both in house and private practice roles, from Partner to 1st year Solicitor, in international global tier 1 firms as well as  small boutique suburban firms. I’ve had several children in that time, so I am acutely aware of the issues facing working parents and how flexibility in the workplace really works. My blog is aimed at imparting my experience and knowledge to you. Enjoy!

Be Honest: Don’t lie, don’t overestimate and don’t oversell.

We all want to portray ourselves in the best light and rightly so. Not at the expense of the truth, however. Whatever you hide from your recruiter will come out into the open… eventually. Whether you had a personality conflict with a partner you worked with previously or you need 4 weeks annual leave in the first year of your new role – make it known so it can be dealt with appropriately.  On the flip side, don’t undersell yourself – focus on your best points and highlight these with examples to back them up. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

Be open to opportunity: Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.

Upon entering the legal market, it’s a good idea to consider all opportunities. You never know who you might meet or what sort of exciting work lies around the corner if you’re closed minded. I’d never pressure anyone to take a role that they have considered but deemed unsuitable. However, if you go through the process of considering a variety of roles, it can actually lead you to your ideal role.

Preparation is key: Practice makes perfect

It’s best to enter the process with a clear picture of your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, etc. Obviously I can help you crystalize these, but the process if you have put some independent thought into it. Practice answering both CV based and behavioral interview questions beforehand. Again, I can help with this. If you can’t explain it, and back it up with an example, it shouldn’t be on your CV. Knowing why you want to work for a certain company well ahead of time can make all the difference.

Be N.A.T.O: Not attached to outcome

It’s business, not personal. Be professional, personable, punctual, respectful, positive… and slightly detached. There are many factors that go into a hire and sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Don’t take it too hard, do take any constructive criticism, note what went right, learn from it and move on.

Your career is long – make the most of every interaction

Using a recruiter facilitates many connections, the recruiter herself, multiple HR professionals, support staff, Partners and lawyers. Careers are all about connections, be sure to make them where possible and leave a good impression, you never know where you will meet again in the future.

7 Top reasons why candidates move on from their current position

Written by Kara Plummer – Legal Professional Consultant

2017 remains a candidate short market for law firms in the Australian market. The market is a competitive one and it’s likely that candidates may be interviewing for more than one role. You need to do what you can to secure good candidates.

A crucial first step in your candidate screening process is taking some time to fully understand why a candidate is looking to move firms. It’s very easy to glide over the reason without asking too many details, however in order to secure a good candidate, you need to properly understand what they’re looking for what they’re really after in an employer. Without this information, you’re flying blind. Knowing the candidate’s real reason for moving on will help you determine how to tailor the recruitment process, giving you the best shot of securing a candidate.

In our experience, these are the top 7 reasons why candidates choose to move on from their firms and some tips in terms of what to do in an interview process to attract them:

1. Rotten mentoring

Candidates at the junior and intermediate stages of their career want to work in an environment where their superiors can be approached for advice and able to provide constructive feedback.  If this is the reason they’re looking to move, be mindful of who you include in your recruitment process – make sure the interviewers are approachable and are able to confirm that your firm is able to offer proper mentoring.

2. Wanting better work/life balance

It’s sometimes unusual for candidates to be open about wanting a better work/life balance, but it is a genuine reason why some people want to move, especially if family commitments require it.  We all know that some firms are able to offer less hours than others and there’s no point talking about work life balance in an interview with a candidate if there’s really no chance of it being on offer after they start.  If yours is a firm that can genuinely offer this to a candidate, be open about what sort of hours a candidate can expect to work, or if yours is a firm that can offer part-time or flexible work arrangements, talk through what sorts of arrangements you may be able to offer.

3. Wanting a step up to a larger firm

Wanting to move to a larger firm applies mostly to junior or mid-ranking lawyers wanting access to higher scale and quality of work and more structured training and development.  Needless to say, if you’re courting a candidate from a smaller firm, talk through the work and clients on offer at your firm. These types of candidates will want to chat to you about the type of work going on in the team and the structure of the team so they know they’re not just going to get stuck on leasing or due diligence if they move. Getting a good partner into the interview willing to chat through some interesting work is a good plan for these candidates.

4. More $$$

Some candidates can genuinely be underpaid – some are just plain greedy. The trick is to work out which category they fall into.  If they are genuinely being underpaid, talk through what sort of salary they may be able to obtain and discuss other benefits and entitlements you can offer.

5. Wanting to work for an international firm

Due to the large numbers of Australian lawyers who move overseas to practice, candidates sometimes move to position themselves in an internationally recognisable firm from which they will be able to move overseas at some point in the future. Obviously you don’t want a candidate to join and 3 months later, ask if they can be seconded to the London office, but the ability to move internationally at some point in the future is a genuine reason for moving.  They’re probably not going to be completely transparent about their motivations for moving, however if you believe that’s why they’re looking to move, talking about the international work done in the office or the possibility of a secondment down the track is a good idea.

6. Wanting improved progression prospects

If a candidate is moving because of a lack of progression in their current firm, they will want a really thorough run down of the structure of your firm’s team and the criteria for progression at interview. The ones inquiring about partnership prospects will be particularly eager to talk through your internal process regarding this. It might also be worth mentioning circumstances where previous lateral hires have joined and success stories in terms of them progressing.

7. Wanting to move in-house

A lot of lawyers in the current market are keen to move in-house. The attraction of working for one client as opposed to many, moving to be closer to the business, no time-sheets, the opportunity to work on a broader range of legal matters, – these are all facets of that might attract lawyers to working in-house rather than stay in private practice.  If you’re recruiting for an in-house position, find out why your candidate is attracted to in-house work. A candidate who has worked in-house before or has been on fairly lengthy secondments in their current role are usually the ones that adapt the most easily into an in-house role as they already understand what it’s like to work in an in-house environment and what challenges they may face in making this move.

Taking the time to really investigate why a candidate is looking to move is a critical step in the recruitment process. Spending time during the process to understand their real motivation for a move will enable you to tailor the process and have a much better chance of securing them for your firm.