Tarnya Mangano’s Successful Candidate Case Study

This case study details the return to permanent work of one of our hard working and very successful candidates. After some time away from the legal workforce due to illness, our candidate came to empire group looking to take their career to new heights.

Our candidate had extensive experience in the legal industry, however, after falling sick decided to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of life in the legal field. After resting and recovering, our candidate decided to rejoin the legal workforce in a temporary capacity.

Once the candidate overcame the initial nerves and chose empire recruitment and Tarnya Mangano as a recruitment agent, the candidate was quickly placed in a temp role.

For the next 7 months, this candidate completed a number of successful temp assignments with various international law firms throughout the city.  

After 7 months of temp work, we were delighted to find out that this candidate was offered her dream permanent role with an international law firm, which she had previously completed a temp assignment with.

The candidate left the following feedback about empire group and agent Tarnya Mangano:


Initially I was not confident (that is before I met Tarnya) as I was lacking confidence – I’d been out of legal for some years and am in the older age bracket. I should not have worried. Tarnya gave me great confidence.”

“Communicating with Tarnya has been regular and with ease.  Her ongoing support was greatly appreciated. Usually things went smoothly for me on assignment, but on the rare occasion I needed support, it was readily given by Tarnya.”

“My success in achieving this [permanent role] can be attributed to the wonderful service provided by Tarnya to both myself and her clients.”


Congratulations to the candidate and to Tarnya, a great result and a testament to the hard work undertaken by you both.


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 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


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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Why you need a recruiter to get it right

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

Often we are asked about the benefit of using a recruitment agency. There are loads of recruitment agencies in Australia, which in itself can be confusing. It can be a bit like shopping in that you need to try a few before you find the one (or two) that really ‘get’ you.

With so many jobs being advertised and the horrible feeling of not being considered for the roles you apply directly for; a well-connected agent can be exactly what you need. So, how can your recruiter help you?

  • It’s what we do! We have the active positions across practice areas and industry knowledge about what’s happening in the market and potential opportunities.
  • We have long established market contacts throughout Australia and also further abroad!
  • We can support you with finding a position that is going to be the best fit for you, both career wise and personally.
  • We can help you with tailoring your resume so it has the impact you need it to.
  • We also assist with interview preparation to help you impress in an interview.
  • If you have questions that you don’t feel comfortable to ask directly we can help!
  • We can describe the culture of a firm to you to ensure that you make a fully informed decision.
  • We support you right through the initial days, weeks and months of your new role, you will always have a sounding board with us!

When people put their trust in us to help them with such an important decision in their career, it’s not something that we take lightly. Using an agent shouldn’t feel like an annoying middle person, it should instead feel like a new support network and be an excellent way of understanding the market you are tackling and increasing your chances of success.



How to resign when you change jobs

Written by April O’ Dempsey – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Support) Brisbane, QLD

People change jobs periodically these days and here are some tips you can do to make sure your resignation goes well:

Make sure you tell your supervisor first and preferably in person, but always follow up with an email. Avoid telling anyone else at the firm as news about resignations travel fast.

Make sure you give your full notice period.  You never know when you will need your supervisor/manager to be a referee for you so always leave a role on a good note.  Also, once you have resigned, make sure you use your remaining time to do the work necessary and to complete all of your tasks.

Always tell the truth as to why are you leaving and be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving.  But make sure you explain the reasons without hurting anyone’s feelings and keep it as positive as possible.  If you cannot think of any honest and positive feedback then focus on your new job and why you have accepted this.

If your employer asks you what salary you were offered, be prepared that he/she may want to match this offer or get you a higher offer.  Keep in mind your reasons for wanting to leave and that a counter offer doesn’t usually work out in the long run.

Overall, once you have resigned, it is best that you stay professional and don’t burn any bridges.

Law Firms in Australia and the Talent Vacuum

Written by Marianna Tuccia and Nicholas Brown (Legal Professional, Sydney NSW)

A talent war has been waging over the last couple of years in private practice law firms in Australia. Particularly in that very sweet spot of 2 to 6 years post admission experience.  And especially in the sought after practice areas of real estate, finance, capital markets, projects and infrastructure. Law firms are pouncing on rising stars.

This skills shortage is a result of a number of factors. In the last 24 months, the international market has re-opened its appetite for Australian qualified lawyers i.e. Asia, the Middle East, the US and the UK have successfully recruited first class talent from the major law firms in Australia. Additionally, more and more lawyers are going in-house. According to an article by Matthew Hodgkinson from Eaton Capital Partners, ten years ago only 10% of corporate lawyers were practising in-house; a stark contrast to the 35% that are working in-house now. Another factor contributing to the skills shortage is that lawyers are leaving the profession altogether and going into other fields e.g. business development, journalism, legal editing, policy and government, teaching. A worrying trend is that many lawyers are questioning whether a career in law is for them. Long hours, demanding and unrealistic clients, timesheets, the workplace hierarchy in traditional law firms are contributing to the legal profession loosing talent. These factors are also contributing to the rise in the ‘NewLaw’ firm models. Recent examples of these firms are Hive Legal, Keypoint, Nexus, Marque, Salvos Legal.

Theoretically this skills shortage should be offset by the exponential growth in the number of law graduates vis a vis the number of legal practitioners. According to a November 2015 Australian Financial Review article by Emanuel Tardos, there were approximately 15,000 law graduates in 2015, compared to 11,000 in 2011. These graduates are entering into an industry with just over 66,000 practising solicitors in Australia. Although the number of graduates has increased, this has not converted to a higher rate of employment for law graduates. Additionally, the disruption in the legal profession (which has been extraordinary in the last few years) in terms of technology ie intelligent contracts, E-contracts and E-discovery technology is equating to less and less opportunities for law graduates and newly admitted lawyers. Tasks like discovery and other low level work are being outsourced off-shore and are no longer being undertaken by law graduates.

The question becomes how do law firms overcome this skills gap, particularly at the 2 to 6 years post admission experience level? What can they do to secure that rising star over their competitor? How does a law firm win the talent war?

Trite as it may sound, but retaining your existing talent is just as important as ‘acquiring’ new talent. Managing Partners of the top tier law firms rely on their brand reputation in order to recruit and retain talent.  In a October 2016 article in Lawyers Weekly, Ashurst’s head of HR Asia-Pacific, Richard Knox said that the firm’s key point of difference that allows it to attract and retain talent, is that the “firm is well positioned as one of only a couple of truly integrated global firms that brings to the Australian market a full service offering, with a premium client list that sets us apart from much of our competition … The firm provides them the opportunity to work on clients and matters at the very top end of the market in a supportive and flexible environment. We have found our staff really engage with that proposition.” The efforts of King & Wood Mallesons are different. Newly appointed Global Managing Partner Sue Kench said that, among other initiatives, they had “Design Week – a week with speaker forums, workshops, hackathons and events all focused around designing the firm for the future”.

It is interesting to see what other professional services firms are doing to win the war on talent. In KPMG’s report “Being the Best: Inside the intelligent finance function, Talent Management – Playing for keeps” the financial services industry are facing similar issues. With regards to retaining talent, under the heading ‘Engage and Retain’, their advice is to manage performance through 360 degree feedback, and reward innovative strategy. Moreover, KPMG prides open and honest communication in order to make sure that their talent feels valued.

It is, therefore, of vital importance that law firms put talent management at the top of their strategic agenda. Law firms need to work hard to improve their recruitment and retention strategies if that gap in skills is to ever be overcome. The question “Why would a talented lawyer want to work here?” must always be at the forefront of every Partner’s mind. If the answer is not compelling, then more thought needs to given to the improvement of the firm’s workplace culture and practices.

Extensive training strategies, internal learning and development programmes as well as more on the job training by Partners will also assist in overcoming the skills gap. In some instances, the answer to overcoming the skills shortage may be right on your doorstep – retrain the underutilised and under-challenged lawyers already in your law firm. Additionally, law firms need to think creatively and outside the box when undergoing the recruitment process. If that wish list cannot be entirely fulfilled then time and resources need to be spent to upskill candidates.  On the job training by Partners and more Senior Lawyers ought to come into play more often than is presently occurring. You just never know how much a candidate will develop and grow into the role within 6 to 12 months’ time.

The war on talent will only intensify. Quality lawyers only want to work at quality law firms – law firms that are emulate agility, cultural cohesion, diversity, open communication and true collaboration. Law firms that do not emulate such qualities will eventually fold.

What to do when it’s time to look for a new job? These 5 steps can make a big difference to the outcomes

Written by Erin Horan – Legal Support Consultant (Temp)

1. Perfect your CV

Your CV is your first impression so make it count.

  • Keep it short – 2 pages is enough. The reality of today’s job market is recruiters and HR can receive up to 100 applications for 1 position, so most don’t have time to read 10 page CVs.
  • Highlight the important stuff – its fine to include your hobbies and volunteer experience, but make sure the most relevant stuff – like your work experience and education – is at the top and is the most detailed.
  • Spell check! There’s nothing worse than opening a CV to find it riddled with red squiggly lines. Triple check your CV to make sure there are no mistakes with spelling or dates.

2. Get interview ready

Interviewing is a skill, it’s not something we’re born knowing how to do, and there are a few things you can do to put your best foot forward.

  • Dress to impress!
  • Take your CV with you.
  • Be prepared to answer competency based questions such as “what motivates you?” and “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • Be prepared with some questions of your own such as “what is the reason for the vacancy?” and “what is the culture of the company?”
  • Have a breath mint before you arrive

3. Know why you’re looking and what you’re looking for

Take some time to think about exactly what you want to do next. “I’ll just take anything” is not a great impression to give to an employer. They want to know you’ve considered them and chosen them as an employer of choice.  Do your values line up with theirs?  Are you passionate about the same thing as them?  Do they have great career progression opportunities that excite you?  Being excited about a position will make employers excited about you.

4. Be positive!

Sometimes looking for a new job isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity.  Maybe your last position was made redundant, maybe your last boss was a tyrant and you had to work Sundays, or maybe the office moved to the other side of the city and you now have to take 3 buses and a train to get there.  But don’t let the negatives of your last job affect you getting a new one.  You may be worried about money, you may be seething about the way you’ve been treated, but put that aside for the duration of your interview and stay positive!

5. Filter your social media

Fair or not, employers can form an instant impression on you based on your social media pages, and one look at your Facebook page could be your undoing.  Update your Linked In profile so it is current and professional, keep your Twitter account clean, and remove those pictures of you and the beer bong from Schoolies 2008 from your Facebook page.  Also, Google yourself! You may be surprised what pops up.

Death of the EA?

Written by Jo Williams: Corporate Support Consultant – empire group


I have had the good fortune of recruiting several senior level Executive Assistant roles recently and I have been astounded by the high calibre of candidates I have met. I put this down to two things. Firstly, there are not as many opportunities available for EAs due to companies shedding many senior management roles. Secondly, the role of Executive Assistant has evolved.


A switched on, proactive Assistant enhances the effectiveness and productivity of an Executive in immeasurable terms. Whilst diary management, travel, task organisation and project skills are fundamental for any administration assistant, so much more is expected of and necessary for the modern EA. They have become technology experts, mastering multiple software programmes to produce high end presentations and collateral. They are event managers, researchers, influencers, mentors and project managers. Many administrative roles have become more about team support than individual support.


These are exciting times for administrative professionals. There is much broader scope to work across departments and build contacts in the business allowing more people to take notice. You also have more opportunity to diversify and grow your skill set. It’s this variety and challenge that makes being an administrative professional so appealing.


A recent development in the world of administration is the Virtual EA. This is a fabulous advancement for small to medium businesses, streamlining operations and reducing overheads. It also opens doors for experienced administrators to start their own businesses which is also very exciting. As with any outsourced service, there is a trade-off; valuable in-person contact disappears. In my experience, the EA is a vital communication link between executives and other stakeholders.


Organisations also need to be mindful of security of information including passwords and confidential files. Although technology will continue to evolve, it is my belief that there will always be a need for professional administrative personnel. The women I am fortunate enough to meet on a weekly basis are loyal, smart, proactive, business minded, dedicated and highly skilled. They are all-rounders and indispensable contributors to the efficiency of senior leadership teams. Technology can never replace that. Long live the EA!

Is the grass greener? 5 reasons it is and a word of warning!

Written by Shaaron Dalton – Consultant, empire legal


If you are reading this blog post, you are already considering making a move. In my experience recruiting Lawyers for the best part of 20 years, a move is always a good idea once you have identified reasons to leave and what you are seeking to achieve by moving. The following 5 reasons explain why you won’t regret making a well-considered move. grass_is_greener

1. Your needs are no longer being met in your current firm.

Push factors are always present when you are considering a move. Common push factors include:

– change in leadership,

– others you admired have left recently

– change in workflow

– change in the type of work you are receiving

– insufficient challenge

– a top heavy environment or too much competition for promotion

– your learning curve has stalled

– your earnings have stalled

2. You choose your new job

As a graduate you may not have had much choice in where you worked. Many Lawyers we meet took one of the first positions they were offered as a graduate.

Moving laterally as an experienced Lawyer enables you to make a more informed choice about your future career. Issues we often see addressed include questions of work/life balance, type of work, salary and potential for advancement.

A good recruitment consultant is able to provide detailed information on the opportunities enabling you to choose the right opportunity to achieve your particular career goals.

3. Salary

Moving firms is one of the few times when you will achieve an increase in salary above annual review level.

As recruiters we often achieve uplifts of 10% to 30% on moving for well trained and experienced Lawyers with 2-8 years of experience. It is rare to see more than 3- 6% increase in salary reviews in this market.

4. Adaptability is a critical skill in an environment of change

The legal profession is undergoing a period of constant change. Moving firms enables you to learn new skills and adapt to new working environments, clients and partners, gaining skills for your career long term and increasing your commercial knowledge base. In the interview process you should also ask what the firm is doing to address the rapidly changing legal landscape.

5. Successful careers are no longer linear

The days of staying with a firm for life are over. Lawyers today are prioritising experiences and opportunities for engaging and fulfilling work over the traditional partnership track. Each job is considered an opportunity to expand skills and leverage on existing experience to level up remuneration and create a springboard for the next level. The traditional partner track has given way to a new career path less linear, slightly messier which can be very rewarding.

A word of caution …

Too many short term moves can pose a problem for job security in the longer term. Take the time, ask a good recruiter for advice and plan each move with research and caution so you will reap the rewards!