How Traditional Law Firms Can Adopt Digital Recruitment During Lockdown

COVID-19 lockdown measures have had a major impact on the way we run day to day business, and UK law firms in particular may be feeling the hit.

Alison Pye has over ten years experience delivering effective recruitment strategies for Patient Claim Line, the medical negligence brand owned and operated by leading UK law firm Fletchers Solicitors. Alison is passionate about sourcing hard to find candidates and believes that a strong digital recruitment strategy is crucial for successfully building teams, especially in today’s current climate. Here, Alison shares how enforced remote working needn’t hinder firms’ recruitment drives and how adapting to the current situation through digital innovation will ensure firms fare better in the future.

Whilst many firms have invested in technologies that have helped staff to adapt to remote working quickly, there are some areas of business that are difficult to syndicate digitally, such as recruitment. Translating your company ethos online through your written marketing materials can be tricky, and it can be even trickier to assess a candidate’s potential when you’re meeting them through a screen. However, with experts suggesting that working from home may be the new norm in the future for many of us, companies need to get over the hurdle of digital recruitment and virtual team management if they are to continue to attract talent. Here’s how.

1. Adopt the right digital tool to reflect your business

More and more companies are accelerating the use of technology and digital recruitment to compete for top talent, and this is certainly true during the current lockdown. But sometimes recruitment teams can get sidetracked by flashy tech and forget to put the real purpose of the tool at the forefront of their decision; the candidate.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that you are dealing with people, so having the correct technology to communicate with your candidates on their level, is essential.

But, whilst it may be trendy to use Zoom, we need to remember that some candidates may prefer WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or traditional texts to communicate. Whilst some businesses may be reluctant to adopt instant messaging tools due to their typically casual usage, these tools are widely recognised as being perfect for replicating how people normally speak and so can help to bridge the gap between video calls and email. So it is important to ensure you have the right tools. Often a variety of tools that have different advantages are better than sticking to just one.

Sometimes recruitment teams can get sidetracked by flashy tech and forget to put the real purpose of the tool at the forefront of their decision; the candidate.

Always remember, whilst AI and technology is an amazing thing, it’s the person and their abilities you are hiring.

2. Be transparent and proactive in order to establish relationships

These are challenging times for all of us. But for new starters, working from home whilst joining a new team can be incredibly daunting.

This is a situation we have never had to deal with before, so, don’t be afraid to tell the candidate that it’s all new to us, too. Taking the time to explain how you are adapting business processes to the ‘new normal’ goes a long way.

Make sure candidates know that they will still have a great onboarding process, even during digital recruitment. And ensure you follow up on this process; remote new starters may need help with structuring their day and facilitating introductions, and are perhaps likely to require a more conscious effort to induct them into the business than a candidate who is coming to work at your physical office space.

It is useful to provide a rounded account of the business, even during digital communications. Tell candidates about the teams, give them a virtual tour of the office, tell them about the local places that they will be able to visit once we are all together again.

It is also important to acknowledge that new starters and employees in general are likely to need additional tech support time to help them to adjust to using new digital tools whilst working from home. According to a report by Hays Talent Solutions, 1 in 5 workers feel that technological change is happening too fast, with over a third stating there needs to be more training. So, additional time to train staff members on new IT systems should be factored into your onboarding process, as well as staff training updates.

Something that has worked really well for Fletchers Solicitors is having someone from the Recruitment Team have an informal chat with the candidate before progressing to the interview stage. This way you can deal with any initial fears/questions and save on valuable time.

From the initial engagement, the candidate should feel like your company will be a great place to work, and be looking for the dotted line.

3. Ensure your company values are effectively translated into digital communications

If you are lucky enough to work for a company that lives and breathes its values, then reflecting these in your digital recruitment campaigns shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

During interviews, explain the company’s values to each candidate, and advise how these values relate to the role they have applied for. At Fletchers Solicitors, there is an ethos of ‘We are all in this together’ and this really has shone through during this time.

Speak to candidates about the management structure too, and give examples of how senior leaders   demonstrate the company values, even in everyday life.

If you are lucky enough to work for a company that lives and breathes its values, then reflecting these in your digital recruitment campaigns shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

You may even have videos that you can share with the candidate that better illustrate the values and ethos of the business, the origins of those values and any aspirational visions for the future of the business.

Ultimately, ensure that you ask questions during the interview process that may have some relation to the values and ethos of the company.

Always make sure that the candidate is aware of what will be expected from them and how they will be required to demonstrate that same ethos.

4. Look beyond CVs

As well as the most obvious qualifications, at Patient Claim Line we look at experience and also whether we think the candidate would be a good fit for our company and embrace our values and culture. Especially in today’s unusual working environment, candidates that can demonstrate independence, the ability to adapt to new digital technologies and infrastructures and strong communication skills are particularly attractive.

Sometimes it’s not all about the CV – it’s about the person behind it.

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