The legal industry is undergoing significant change and yet it seems that the traditional way of recruiting and hiring young lawyers has for the most part remained the same. Sure, law firms and recruiters are looking at LinkedIn for candidates but that really isn’t a major change in how law firms find and evaluate new hires nor will it make a significant difference in why a law student will choose one firm over the other.
In-house legal recruiters are recognizing that the competition for top legal talent is increasingly being fought on the social networks.
Here then is a set of practices recruiters and law firms can use to gain an edge in law firm hiring:
Find Out Where Your Targets are Spending Time Online
This is one of the keys to successfully finding legal talent using social media. As previously mentioned, most law firms spend their time on LinkedIn trying to find the right candidates. However, the reality is that many law students are not on LinkedIn. Sure they may have a profile there and check in on groups once in awhile, but that isn’t really where they spend their time online. To find out where your targets are check out social networks millennials are using to communicate and share their interests like Instagram and Snapchat. To truly stand out, you need to be where your target audience is and do something to capture their attention.
Be Creative with Your Status Updates
Most law firms post open positions on job boards and with outside legal recruiters. However, when used effectively, social media can be a great way to spread the word about positions your are looking to fill. Using your firm’s status updates on social networks creatively can enhance your overall reach and let your target candidates know that your firm is committed to using innovative methods to reach them. Even if no one in your network is looking for a position, they may know someone in their network who might be the perfect fit.
Treat Your Recruiting Campaign Like a Marketing Campaign
By the end of this decade 70% of the work force will be millennials (people between the ages of 18 and 34). Millennials have grown up in this new hyper connected economy and therefore they rely on their social networks to do many things. They don’t read newspapers (at least not those written on paper) and really don’t watch network television. They spend a significant amount of their time online chatting with friends or consuming content on YouTube or other social networks.
Marketers have realized this and are spending millions of dollars trying to engage and reach this new generation. As a legal recruiter, you need to do the same. You need to figure out what you can do to capture millennials attention and differentiate yourself from other law firms competing for the same talent. Think like a marketer and come up with a recruiting campaign or strategy that is “outside the box” and lets you capture their imagination.
Leverage Your Current Employees
The power of many is greater than the power of one. Empowering your current employees to spread the word out about your law firm is something that we have written about in the past. Turning your workforce into advocates allows your firm to leverage the power of each person’s inherent social network when it comes to marketing and business development. The same holds true for recruiting. You may already have systems in place for communicating open positions internally.
Use social media to take those processes to the next level. Everyone at your organization can help with the recruiting effort. Internal recommendations are a great way to find talented people, and having your lawyers help announce job openings in their LinkedIn and Facebook status updates expands your reach to people who aren’t directly connected to your law firm.
Provide Valuable Content and Experiences
Content is the fire that helps drive people to your firm website. Most law firms publish promotional content that is all about them. To truly engage with your target audience, you need to provide useful, valuable and educational content that will encourage your audience to share it with their social networks and keep them coming back for more.
New recruits are looking for valuable content. They are looking for advice on a variety of topics such as networking, finding mentors, career advice, how to deal with student loans, etc. The firms that provide useful content on these topics and do it in a creative way by leveraging video, images and other rich media can truly differentiate themselves from the competition.
Candidates are also looking to find out what its like to work at your firm, so search for ways to expose them to that experience through your content. Perhaps you can have simulations or video testimonials from associates at your firm that describe what their day is like and what they enjoy about working at your firm. Be creative and put yourself in your audiences shoes.
Maximize Your Use of LinkedIn
As I wrote earlier, most law firms are using LinkedIn for recruiting purposes, but most firms are not maximizing the power of LinkedIn as a social network. Don’t just post job ads on LinkedIn. To truly take advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer, you need to immerse yourself in the network. Participate in groups and answer questions when appropriate.
Use LinkedIn to build relationships with those you may want to hire in the future. Make sure your company page is current and it contains relevant information about your firm and about positions you are looking to fill. Encourage your attorneys to also update their profiles with photos and ask them to help you spread the word about open positions through their status updates.
Learn how to Power Search
Learn how to leverage social networks to search for and locate candidates that are the prefect fit for your firm. Maximize your results by using the advanced search functions on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. Use Twitter Lists to follow people you are interested in and create Twitter feeds on Hootsuite or other social media monitoring tools to uncover talent you may be unaware of. Learn how to use the advanced features on Google to search through social networks and to geo target your search.
Law firms and legal recruiters need to be creative and smart in order to win in the legal hiring process. Using social media to discover and attract top legal talent is an important skill to master as we enter an era where connectivity and social networks are prevalent.
Updated and republished October 20, 2017.