The American Bar Association’s periodical “Law Practice” featured a piece entitled “Fine-Tuning Human Resources: Top Tips For Frugal Law Firms” by practicing lawyer Donna S.M. Neff, (with the assistance of Natalie Sanna), in response to the common administrative struggle of trying to “do less with more” in human resources. HR is the area of most firms’ “single biggest expense” factor.
It’ll come as no surprise that, in order for your firm to beef up your HR return, you’ve got to exercise savvy practicality in everything from hiring to firing, and all areas in between.
A few helpful hire hints as outlined in the article include the following:
1. When seeking new personnel, draft up a suitable, comprehensive listing of what you expect. Get ruthless. Don’t skimp words. It’s critical that you clearly express what the job position entails. Use the job description to then develop your job postings and the interview questions, as well as the testing to be employed.
2. Place two types of help-wanted ads. Use a brief, concise advertisement to place in suitable internet venues, print journals and appropriate newsletters (such as those put out by your local bar association). Also prepare a lengthier one which will be mailed to your network via e-mail, and which will be posted on your firm’s site.
3. When interviewing, don’t forget to ask questions that directly relate to your drafted job position. Also create a few questions that accurately reflect your firm’s culture, and will help you and the candidate determine whether or not the job would be a good fit.
4. For lawyer applicants, consider composing a series of challenging scenarios involving a client-lawyer relationship. You’ll be posing a couple of unlikely examples of real-life situations that probably won’t, but ostensibly might, come up. Juding on how the potential associate (or lateral hire) responds, you will have gathered information on how they problem-solve and react in difficult circumstances.
5. it’s a good idea to have a tag-team when interviewing prospects. Have two people in on the interview process at all times: someone to ask the questions and someone to observe and take notes. This is more difficult–and valuable–than it appears, as the person(s) carrying the conversational ball don’t always pick up on important cues and clues…and they often don’t completely hear what the person doing the talking is saying.
By pre-planning your employment strategy, you’re avoiding the costly mistakes of mis-hiring that lead to a revolving door policy. Your aim is a happy, well-adjusted work staff…of lawyers and other personnel who are perfectly suited for your firm, and of a firm that’s perfectly satisfied with its people. To read more on searching for qualified candidates, maintaining (“training and retraining great people”) and having the most difficult of conversations…an exit interview, read Neff’s article in its entirely.
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