Recruitment Innovation in 2016 – “Getting behind the CV”

25 Jul, 2016

Recruitment Innovation in 2016 – “Getting behind the CV”


Through the various meetings we have on a daily basis with law firm partners and senior HR professionals we constantly ask them about their recruitment experiences.

“What problems do you encounter with recruitment agencies you partner with? What are your current frustrations with the recruitment process? What is the biggest problem for you in identifying and recruiting the best available talent?” we ask. Overwhelmingly the same messages come back to us which I’ve paraphrased below:

Recruiters “appear much more interested in making a fee as opposed to solving our resourcing problems”. They also “all seem to work with same candidates” without ever offering “genuine consultative insight as to why these candidates are right for respective roles.” “Regularly we hear there is a lack of available talent in the market and therefore we should be flexible in terms of the candidates we should consider”.

This results in recruitment processes which are “time consuming, long winded and unsatisfactory”, which often involves interviewing candidates “who are at least partially entirely unsuited to the role I’m looking to resource” while told this is the best available talent.

One Partner lamented “Manchester has too many law firms for the amount of available talent, particularly in transactional disciplines.” When appropriate candidates are identified they are “interviewing at a number of competitor firms as well and we are often given little insight by recruiters as to what is driving them and how we should sell our proposition.”

So how do we solve these problems? At Think Legal Recruitment we believe this is a two way process. Undoubtedly agents could and should be playing a role which is much more closely aligned with needs of the law firms who ultimately pay their bills. However, in order to offer a genuinely insightful, consultative service we need to properly understand the requirements that individual teams and partners have. There will always be something genuinely unique about different opportunities and therefore something particularly remarkable in terms of the individual required to fill these roles.

To be clear, aspiring to achieve mutual understanding is far from a magic formula to help hire the perfect candidate. Compromise will always be required. The perfect role and therefore the perfect candidate does not exist. However, understanding this in the context of more satisfactory dialogue in relation to available candidates, allows for a smoother more rewarding process. It also allows us to brief candidates properly in terms of a law firm’s specific requirements.

All of this is great but where does the innovation come in? Well in an environment where we have established an open and mutually beneficial dialogue, we are able to talk about an individual candidates merits and drawbacks in more detail.

The latest thinking within the recruitment industry is referred to as “Getting Behind the CV”. The idea being that one can miss a gem of a candidate by being arbitrary in terms of what a good CV looks like. Recent surveys of business leaders across a range of industries have actually concluded that the overriding priority when hiring is to hire a candidate “who has the right emotional intelligence to fit within my business”.

This “right emotional intelligence” might not present as the best CV. It might not have the best indicators in terms of academics and demonstrable experience. This is not to say these factors are not important but just that the “right emotional intelligence” when regarded as the most important indicator when hiring, is statistically likely to lead to recruits which represent a better medium to long term fit with a particular business. If this is the case across a range of industries then why should law be any different?

If we establish this as a given, then how do we incorporate this into a successful recruitment process? We believe that our “innovation” is that we’ve already been doing this! Where we have strong mutually beneficial relationships with our clients we are able to “Get behind the CV” and provide the sort of insight Partners and hiring professionals require when interviewing candidates. We work hard to understand the motivations of our clients and the lawyers we work with to ensure a mutual fit. While a CV may provide an introduction, it is this level of insight which is the key to a successful hire.

If you would value a confidential discussion about working in partnership with us, please contact or call 07926 176 481.