You can hardly believe your eyes. The resume you’ve been dreaming about has finally popped up in your inbox. Graduated from a highly esteemed university? Check. Years of experience in the role you’re hiring for? Check. Used all the right buzz words? Plenty of superlatives? Hard skills galore? Check, check, check.
But don’t get too excited. Not just yet. Sure, on paper this candidate appears to have all the bases covered: education, experience, hard skills, etc. But what about human characteristics? Is this candidate going to be the cause of drama or conflict at your firm?
We’ve been helping to staff law firms across the country since 1997, and in our more than 20 years of experience, we’ve learned a thing or two. But one of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that all the education and experience in the world can’t guarantee that a candidate will be easy to work with. Here are 4 characteristics that should send you running far and fast from a potential new hire:
1. Lack of respect. There is no room on your team for a disrespectful employee. Blatant disrespect for your firm’s leadership or other team members should result in an immediate “buh-bye.” If this candidate says nasty things about their current or previous employers during the interview, don’t even consider them for the position. This is a toxic person who will probably cause a lot of internal drama at your firm. Walk away. Don’t look back.
2. They take feedback personally…and poorly. If your interview process is setup properly, you’ll be able to “test” the ability of a potential new hire to take and apply feedback. If your candidate is unable use constructive criticism as a launching pad from which to grow, then they aren’t right for your firm.
3. They put the “I” in team. Gauging how nicely an individual will play with your team is hard during an interview, but identifying whether or not your candidate is a team player is make-or-break information. There are a million questions you can ask—Do you like working as part of a team? or Tell us about a time when you had to work alongside a team to accomplish a particularly challenging project—that will get you a rehearsed response about how much they love teamwork. However, asking more subjective questions will give you a much better idea of the kind of team player your candidate really is: Tell us about your best and worst experiences working in a team or What are the pros and cons of working in a team? The way they answer these questions may reveal great strengths…or weaknesses that you’re better off walking away from.
4. No personal connection to your firm’s mission. A smart candidate will have done their homework. They’ll know who’s who at your firm, when it was founded, who your clients are, etc. Buy why do they want to work for you? What is it about your firm that makes it the right fit for them? Having a personal connection to your firm and its mission will ensure that, if hired, this candidate will uphold your firm’s name and reputation—both in and outside of the office.
Our Smart Hire™ Solution process for law firm recruiting and staffing includes a proven interview strategy that helps us weed out the people who lack the necessary human skills to add value to your firm…before they even come in for an in-person interview. Our signature “5-Minute Phone Interview” ensures that only the strongest, most qualified candidates move forward in the interviewing process. We follow our phone interview with a video interview, where we can really assess the human side of the candidate via their mannerisms and presentation.
When it comes to law firm staffing, knowing what NOT to hire is as important as knowing the kind of person you WANT to hire. If you hire the wrong person, you’ll waste hours of time (and so, so much money) onboarding and training them—just to have them walk out the door (or be pushed)…oftentimes within months. Don’t roll the dice when it comes to your people…they’re your most important asset! If you have an open position, or even just want to understand and leverage your existing team members more effectively, schedule a free call with our founder Molly McGrath today. Click the button below to be redirected to our scheduling system, or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free discovery session.