Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Thursday, October 12, 2017

CV Blooper of the Month - October


CV Blooper of the Month

Extract from Paralegal's CV - more "incomprehensible waffle" than a "blooper" but included nevertheless!
Profile:
I am a highly motivated, focused, determined, enthusiastic person with a sophisticated acquaintance of grasping beyond what individuals reckon in a brief conversation. Startling communication skills that allow me as an interlocutor to predict and endeavour to persuade clients. I have a confident pro active character which enables me to use my own initiative at work, a stereotypic ideas changer with ability of generating new ones. I can work proactively in a complex and busy environment. I am a quick learner who is able to absorb new ideas.
HR departments - seen any good bloopers recently? Send them over to cv@ten-percent.co.uk and if I publish them I'll send you a £10 Waterstones voucher by way of thanks.



Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

Is Your Career Stuck in a Rut? Read these 7 simple steps to climbing out of it

Is your career stuck in a rut? If you are going into work feeling thoroughly miserable and hating every minute of it, here are some tips for strapping a proverbial rocket to your back and changing your life.

1. Hand in your notice. Go on - you can do it. All it takes is a few words "I resign" or "I'm off to find a job where I am actually appreciated and get paid more than an intern". You could even tell the senior partner what you really think of him/her but this is not recommended as your reference may not be very nice.

2. Write down three things you would love to do in the next two months. Close your eyes and pick one at random. Go and do it.

3. Study for a degree in something you actually like. So many solicitors do LLB Law without actually enjoying a minute of it, whereas they would probably have loved doing a history degree or a politics degree. Its never too late - go and do one.

4. Close your eyes - try to picture yourself in your dream job, your dream location and with the remuneration you believe you are worth to enjoy life. Now write all three things down on a post it note, attach it to a note book or your iPad and keep looking at it. It is possible! Email me when you get there and I'll send you a box of chocolates to celebrate.

5. Close your eyes again - what is it about your job that you don't like? Is it your money grabbing, pernickety boss, your freezing cold or boiling hot office or your ridiculously long hours? What about your colleagues - do you get on with them? If you think of the first thing you hate about your job what is it? Write it down. Now promise to yourself to sort this one thing out in the next four weeks in whatever way you can. Make yourself a reminder on your calendar and check you have done it. Obviously this advice does not involve attaching concrete blocks to the senior partner's legs and lobbing him in the canal, no matter how tempting this may be..

6. Ever thought about life elsewhere other than law? Is there more to life? Is it possible to get a job outside law? Yes of course there is more to life and of course it is perfectly possible to get a job outside law. You just have to go and do it.

7. Want to be your own boss? Had enough of yours? Do it. You don't have to leave your job - set up a business - work in the evenings to start. You may surprise yourself as to just how much work you have to do to make any money (I'm typing this at 8pm after a busy day in the office) but at least you won't have a boss watching you all the time and taking the benefit of your efforts.

8. Do nothing. Stay as you are. Be depressed and moan a lot about your job, your life and everything around you. None of its your fault - misery is just part of life and you have to accept it.
 
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

CV Blooper of the Month


CV Blooper of the Month

Extract from Senior Solicitor's CV - 30 years experience.
Education - O Levels in English, Math’s, Geography, History
HR departments - seen any good bloopers recently? Send them over to cv@ten-percent.co.uk and if I publish them I'll send you a £10 Waterstones voucher by way of thanks.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Facebook Advertising - is it any good?


Facebook Advertising - any good?

I could cut this article very short by saying no, but here is a bit extra. You can advertise your law firm on Facebook to a very wide audience simply by clicking a few links, adding a credit card and bingo! You have pay per click or view advertising on Facebook. We have been on Facebook for many years and my advertising budget is currently set at something like £5 per day.
However - some fairly startling facts for you! Between 2008 and 2017 we spent the grand total of £10.66 on advertising on Facebook. That's £10.66 in total, not per day. This is based on how many people have clicked our adverts. To put this into perspective - in the same time frame on Google Adwords we spent just short of £39,000.
I should add that the very low advertising spend is not through the want of trying - its just that people do not use Facebook for business. We are planning an experiment to test this theory. If I post a vacancy on the internet, across a range of locations including Twitter, Reed, Law Gazette etc.. etc.. we will also post a copy of the job onto Facebook. I can virtually guarantee that not one person will a) read the vacancy and b) respond. So in future we are contemplating not posting the vacancy onto Facebook and seeing what the effect is. Not very scientific but we will see! LinkedIn, on the other hand, has had some very good advertising returns for us over the last 12 months, but thats another article..


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

CV Bloopers of the Month


CV Bloopers of the Month

Full CV received from a 10 year PQE Solicitor applying for a commercial solicitor role in London.
[Name
Address
Email, Phone]
Personal statement
I like to provide service to the highest standard. I used to have very high marks for essays. I worked in Legal departments of local authority and many large law firms.
Work Experience
Solicitor
Responsibilities & Achievements - sole practitioner
CV sent for a training contract application
"Work Experience
I work from 12 years old. Any salesmanship and last 4 years as store manager."
(no other details provided)



Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Using LinkedIn to Headhunt and Recruit new staff – does it work?


How long will LinkedIn last? Who knows? I imagine something else will come along sooner or later that does the same thing bigger and better. LinkedIn restricts certain access (eg contacting other people requires using up a limited number of contact credits) and I suspect another network will come along and do the same thing with free access and consign LinkedIn to the dustbin.
You would probably expect me to write something similar to the information below as it is in my company’s interest for you not to go directly to candidates and instead ask us to help you recruit and get paid a wodge of cash. However LinkedIn has been promoted as the next best thing in so many articles and advice documents recently (including whole courses on how to use it to recruit) that I thought an article injected with a bit of reality and anecdotal evidence may be of interest.
Here is a conversation I have on the phone from time to time.
Caller: “Hello can I speak to Jonathan Fagan please?”
Me: “Speaking – how can I help?”
Caller: “My name is Joshua and I’m calling you from Ant & Dec Rec to Rec Agency. Have you a got a few minutes for me to tell you about a fantastic opportunity you have been recommended for as a perfect fit?”
(
For the uninitiated “Rec to Rec” stands for Recruitment to Recruitment – ie a recruitment agency specialising in recruitment of recruitment consultants. Its big business…).
Me: “Yes sure. Tell me about it.”
Caller: “My client has a strong and consistent stream of returning clients and seeks a well established and experienced recruitment consultant to handle it. Your name has been put forward by one of your peers in the industry as someone who really knows their stuff. Would this be of interest?”
Me: “You do know I am Managing Director and part owner of a legal recruitment consultancy located in North Wales?”
Caller: “Erm no. Err – do you know anyone else who is looking at the moment for a job?”
Me: “You don’t actually know who I am do you?”
Caller: (ends call).
This is the reality of headhunting - companies surfing LinkedIn pretending to know who you are. I know of a few people who have been approached and so flattered by the fact that someone has expressed an interest in them they have joined a firm they would not otherwise have touched with a barge pole. Usually this is something they regret within a few months!
We sent a recruitment consultant on a headhunting course a few years ago and it was fascinating. You spend about half the day learning how to get past the “gatekeepers” (these are receptionists, secretaries and anyone who answers the phone) and the other half of the time learning how to pitch a vacancy to the “target”. It is cold calling and sales at the best of times, and a thankless task.
Most of the people you will speak to will definitely dislike you intensely and your chances of success are very slim. However if you are successful the rewards are good for recruiters – the usual fee for a headhunting placement is a payment up front of about £5,000 and then a percentage success fee on top. This can be up to 50%. After all the recruitment consultant (or salesman) is going to have to be very good to ensnare someone you may be interested in.
It works if the following happens:
1. You have a good vacancy.
2. It is one that has a very limited pool of eligible candidates.
3. You are paying at or above market rates for the vacancy.
4. Your business has a good reputation and is one that people would want to work for and not run away screaming from.
In these fairly limited scenarios it is possible to use headhunters effectively. I am sure that sometimes they are totally unnecessary; one of our local independent schools recently used one to recruit a new headmistress which to me seemed a complete waste of cash – surely a prestigious role like that advertised in the right places would attract a good range of candidates without needing to spend £000s of cash on a consultant?
I started this article talking about LinkedIn and this is the link – if you use LinkedIn to approach potential candidates you are doing exactly the same thing as the headhunters do – approaching candidates as a cold lead after searching for them on LinkedIn and then contacting them to try and sell a job to them.
Companies have started getting their HR departments to do this and I doubt very much if it has had much effect other than use up precious time that could have been spent more productively. After all most people who go into HR are not sales people. Most headhunters are sales people and spend years perfecting their skills.
We recently had a law firm based in South London get in touch to ask for a locum conveyancing solicitor to cover maternity leave for 12 months. We sent a mix of CVs across and they requested interviews with a couple of property solicitors. However the introduction went quiet. Later we discovered that the firm had gone on a tour of LinkedIn, using up a considerable number of 'InMails' to contact locums advertising on the site and checking availability. I know this because a number of our locums checked back with me to see if it was the same company. None were available in any event to assist.
I would imagine that you would need to be making about 30-40 similar connections before you found anyone who was vaguely interested and suitable in your role, whether locum or permanent. On LinkedIn this is an expensive exercise.
Recruitment consultants are slightly different. On the permanent side we maintain a database of candidates who have been registered with us for some time, some of them up to 17 years. This is because we run a database of active and passive candidates. Passive candidates are the type that we generate most success from. These are candidates who may not have realised they are actually looking for work until you dangle a particularly interesting vacancy in front of them.
Whenever law firms send us vacancies we mail them out to any suitable candidates from our database and post the jobs onto a range of job boards and across our network. We get the vast majority of our placements from passive candidates getting in touch to say that they are interested in a specific role in a particular location. We spend considerable time and money advertising vacancies, but these lead more to new candidates than to placements the majority of the time. This is important because it is our stream of candidates onto our database that generates future business. As an individual employer you do not really want to be making the same investment of time and effort as unless you are recruiting 100s of staff this will be a pretty pointless exercise!
LinkedIn is but one cog in our very large machine. You cannot use LinkedIn to get the same effect as we do. If you make contact with a candidate via LinkedIn then we think that they are often worried that their employer will find out you have been in touch and this will affect their career prospects. Chances are they will ignore your message. Advertising for jobs is very often only effective at introducing your brand to candidates rather than getting a vacancy filled. This means that they come to you when they are ready to make a move, particularly so for recruitment agencies.
So yes you can use LinkedIn to try and source candidates, and we wish you the best of luck, but make sure it is just one small part of your overall strategy. Whilst you may get some results, you will probably stand more chance of success advertising in the Law Society Gazette and also on your own website (something a lot of law firms seem to forget to do or fail to keep up to date).

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Get Away from it all and start again - Unique Opportunity for Partnership Offshore


Unique Opportunity for a Clean Break - Offshore Law Firm for sale/partnership

Ref VAC 17235
Very rare chance to take partnership in an offshore law firm. The practice undertakes a range of work that includes (properly funded) legal aid crime work - which is fairly lucrative without much competition, family and commercial. The crime work is a mix of mainstream general crime, some specialist complex matters and some military. The firm would be interested in speaking to anyone looking to run their own practice on a full time or part time basis. Not necessarily seeking an immediate buyout or purchase of equity. Opportunity to benefit from profitable levels of legal aid rather than punitive. Owner looking to move on to non-law related pastures new and move back on shore. Well established law firm in a stunning location offshore. Very similar law to England and Wales.
Current partner happy to stay in situ to assist or sell outright. All options available for purchase - including working for the equity (very little upfront cash needed) and splitting the commercial matters away from the private work.
This law firm purchase would particularly suit a crime solicitor looking to make a clean break and start again with an existing business already operating. The practice would also make a good branch office. Thriving local market for legal services with further expansion very possible. Location identified once a confidentiality undertaking signed. Contact us quoting the reference above.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

How to Review your own CV


How to review your own CV

We recently received a CV from a candidate with the following advice placed at the bottom (would this fit into our CV Blooper series? Quite possibly..). I have edited it for a bit of content - eg the writer recommended 2 pages max but we think a CV can be as long as it needs to be for someone with experience. The remainder is a very effective and useful guide to reviewing your own CV.
CV Guide
1. Check and recheck for spelling and grammar. Attention to detail is absolutely key so ensure dates, names of companies etc are all correct and never use abbreviations or colloquialisms. Ask someone you trust to proof read your CV as a new pair of eyes can often be useful in identifying mistakes.
2. In order to demonstrate a professional image it is best not to use fancy fonts or include graphics, photos or colour of any kind. Ensure spacing, alignment and font style is consistent throughout the document.
3. Do not include personal details such as date of birth, nationality, religion, gender, marital status etc.
4. Write your CV in the first person but remove the ‘I’ e.g. ‘Responsible for…’ as opposed to, ‘I was responsible for’.
5. Employers want to see what practical skills you have to offer and what you can actually do. Therefore keep all information factual and use professional, concise and clear language.
6. All strengths must be evidenced.
7. Avoid gaps in the chronological order of your CV. Employers/recruiters will always ask if there appears to be a gap in your employment or education.
8. Once you have established a standard CV with all relevant details included, you can tailor it to suit whatever opportunity you are applying for.
What employers are looking for…
Academic Ability
A lot of employers, especially large organisations, will be expecting at least a 2.1. Many will also expect good A-level grades. You can be successful with a 2.2 but you’ll have to be able to offer additional skills and experience.
Commercial Awareness
Any form of work experience shows that you have commercial awareness i.e. you understand the world of business, company structure and politics. You can develop that awareness by reading good quality newspapers; especially the financial pages.
Communication Skills - Written and Oral
Ability to understand complex language and information, with the ability to present such information in clear, concise English. Presentation skills demonstrates eloquence, confidence and an ability to adapt your style
to different audiences.
Interpersonal Skills
A team player. A good listener who gets on well with people from different backgrounds and can win respect and confidence from others. This may also be evidenced by good negotiating or persuasion skills.
Personal Effectiveness
Time management, organising skills, people management, able to get things done on time and to a high standard. Able to prioritise. Able to see the wider picture. Flexible and able to take on new ideas.
IT Skills
Use of word processing packages, spreadsheets, financial accounting packages, e-mail, internet.
Numeracy Skills
Able to understand financial statements and interpret financial information. Familiar with business and accounts terminology.
Professional responsibility and integrity
Ethical approach.


Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

CV Blooper of the Month - June 2017

CV Blooper(s) of the Month

This is taken from a law student's CV:

"I went to watch a court case in the old bailey where a young man was being cross examined (a term I learned there ) for a drug charge. He represented himself without a lawyer and I was surprised by the strength of his rebuttals (another term I learned there) and also by how eloquently and respectfully everybody talked in the court. When leaving I decided that I was a bit more sure that I wanted to ingeniously use a thorough knowledge of the law as a career. I decided to enter a Cambridge Law essay competition where the question was “Should we repeal the human rights act 1998 “. The effort and private study I put into this essay was proof enough for me that I was compatible with a law career. I naturally feel I gravitate towards law, I love writing, studying and thinking about it. I haven’t been able to get an opportunity to explore any fields of law which I hope to do in summer."

You couldn't make it up.. 

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Minimum Wage and the Legal Profession


Minimum Wage and the Legal Profession

Over the last few months we have posted fairly junior job vacancies for a couple of our member law firms (ie firms who have signed up to TenPercentUnlimited - google for further info). One was for a receptionist at a salary of £13,000 and the other a paralegal for £14,000. We received a couple of responses, one of which is below (and quite fair I thought!):
"I [have] reported you for offering a low salary of £13000 which is under [the] minimum wage. A person who needs to pay rent, transport, food and try to save, will never be able to live a decent human life with that salary. Shame on you for offering slavery! You are disgusting."
I sympathise entirely with this thinking (who on earth can live on £13,000 in London?) and had a look into the regulations in a bit more detail. We often get confused by the hourly rate translating into annual salary levels and as a result thought it might assist to publish our understanding of the figures. Please let us know if we are wrong.
As we understand it the hourly rates are as follows (as at 9th May 2017):
25 years+ = £7.50 per hour
21-24 years = £7.05 per hour
18-20 years = £5.60 per hour
This means that in terms of salary (assuming a 8 hours x 5 day x 52 week year) the minimum wage levels are:
25 years+ = £15,600
21-24 years = £14,664
18-20 years = £11,648
As such the advert for a receptionist at £13,000 was clearly below the level for anyone over the age of 20 years, and in fact by advertising at that level I presume the vacancy demonstrated discrimination on the grounds of age (as the firm would only be able to employ and pay staff under 20 years old at a rate of £13,000 per annum).
From this point onwards we, as a recruitment agency, will be more vigilant for vacancies like this one, but it is quite clear that the thinking amongst some law firms needs to change. £13,000 for a full time receptionist in London (or indeed anywhere else) is way too low for anyone to survive unless they are getting considerable support from state benefits on top.
I had noticed some time ago that there was a charity called The Living Wage Foundation encouraging companies to pay a Living Wage and that this level was higher then the government's definition. For example the charity considers the rate should be £8.45 outside of London. Being that we have a campaign to look at excessive charity pay (see our website and click the charity links) I thought I would have a look at the structure of the Living Wage Foundation. As a charity that campaigns for fair pay for all I would have imagined that the level of remuneration across the charity would be similarly fair and reasonable. Other charities, including Medicins San Frontieres, have policies such as not paying any member of staff more than 3 x the lowest person paid.
Other charities don't pay any staff over £60k even when they have considerable budgets and staffing levels to manage.
However according to the Charity Commission website, the charity running the The Living Wage Foundation, Citizens UK, paid their chief executive between £70 and 80k in 2016 with pension contributions to add to this of £7,473. Assuming a £70k salary, 52 week year and a 40 hour week, this equates to £37.24 per hour including the pension contributions. Is this fair pay, particularly from a charity promoting fair pay?

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database.