Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Awkward Candidates at Interview Stage Tend to Waste Recruiters' Time - Recruitment Agent Rule of Thumb No.323

 

Recruitment agent rule of thumb number 323: If a candidate is hard to pin down for an interview time, they are almost certainly going to mess everyone around at some stage in the process.

We have produced numerous rules of thumbs for recruitment agents over the years, and this is one of the almost guaranteed rules that applies nearly every single time!

Picture the scene – we have taken a vacancy from a client, the vacancy seems very promising with a good salary, decent conditions in an easily accessible location, and we send it out to our candidates. We get six enquiries and send off four CVs. Three of the CVs we like the look of and we have found the candidate very easy to deal with. The fourth CV will be good, but we may have struggled a little bit to get hold of the candidate to confirm their interest. You can almost guarantee that the candidate the firm will want to interview will be the fourth one that we have been slightly uncertain about.

The Interview Arranging Dance

You can guarantee that when we try and contact the candidate the following will happen:

They will not reply to our interview request email.
They will not reply to a text message.
They will not answer a telephone call and let their phone ring through to voicemail.
They will not reply to a follow up email asking them if there is a problem with their email, text and phone lines.
The client will chase us lots of times asking what’s going on, and trying to find out if we have done something wrong or not contacted the candidate.
Out of the blue the candidate will contact us and say their grandma has died or their car broke down or they lost their phone, and of course they are available for interview at the client’s convenience.
The client will be very pleased to hear that the candidate has been in touch and give us some dates for interview.
The candidate will promptly repeat the first four steps at least twice, before we finally pin them down and get an interview arranged.

Phew! As a recruiter at this point we’re usually quite pleased because we’ve done our job. We have sourced candidates, we have arranged an interview and now we just need to sit back and wait for the candidate to attend the interview, perform well and get offered the job. Wrong!

The "My Dog Ate My Grandma" Excuse

What happens next is that the candidate contacts us the night before the interview to say that they are unable to attend the interview because (insert your own excuse here) their grandma died, there was a gas explosion, the end of the world occurred, they crashed their car, they’re not very well, they have developed symptoms of the bubonic plague or they are simply too tired to attend and won’t do their best.

We will then have to go back to the client, rearrange the interview (unless the client tells us to clear off and immediately sacks us and goes with another agent as undoubtedly they will think it’s all our fault), go through the whole process again of pinning down the candidate, arranging the interview and dealing with any last minute cancellations which may or may not occur.

Once this has all happened, and assuming the candidate has finally attended an interview and impressed the client enough to be offered the job, we then enter into the next phase of the recruitment dance, which is the 'receive the offer and disappear' stage.

The "Receive the Offer and Disappear" Trick

This is where the candidate gets the offer through from us, either by telephone or email, and then immediately disappears never to be seen again. We will email, text, phone, email, text and phone, and sometimes you can just guarantee that we are never going to hear from that candidate again. Whether they have taken the offer to their current employer to gain some leverage for a salary increase, decided they can’t be bothered or simply have a psychological condition which makes them feel wanted so they attend lots of interviews in order to get lots of people to tell them how great they are, it does not matter.

The candidate will have disappeared never to be seen again, and we will lose our client who will be by now completely fed up of the whole thing and moving on to other agents to source a candidate.

Recruiters Get Nervous When Candidates Hesitate

Of course we can avoid all of this simply by dismissing the candidate at the first opportunity and not bothering putting them forward as soon as they start to show any signs of flakiness. This is why on some occasions recruitment consultants will be very nervous if anybody shows signs of flakiness at any time during the process. A candidate may have a perfectly valid reason for not wanting to attend an interview or taking their time to get a CV across, but bear in mind the recruitment agent rule of thumb. As soon as you show any sign of hesitancy, the recruitment consultant is instantly thinking of the worst case scenario...

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.

Legal Recruitment News November 2020

Legal Recruitment News November 2020 from the Ten Percent Group of Recruitment Websites.

https://chancerylane.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-november-2020/

 

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, October 18, 2020

Charities and High Salaries - Amnesty International

There has recently been a report that Amnesty International are going to have to lay off a large number of staff because they have got a shortfall in their income and have spent too much trying to raise money that never materialised. 

Amnesty International paid four members of staff £100-110k in 2018. It also paid one person £80-90k and seven members of staff £60-70k. This means that twelve members of staff earned more than £60k in 2018. This was a 100% increase on the year before - when six staff in total who earned more than £60k. Data is taken from their most recent submitted accounts to the Charity Commission at the time of writing this article.    

An article in The Guardian newspaper last year included quotes from the Unite union talking about the high salaries paid to a bloated management team at the charity, with a large number of senior managers earning six figure salaries.

We first looked at the salaries paid by Amnesty back in 2014 during a study into high salary levels being paid to executives in the charity sector. Amnesty International were, in terms of their size, one of the worst offenders for paying what were clearly much higher than expected salaries to senior management. 

Let’s face it. It’s very likely that most of the managers and higher earners at Amnesty are administrators in the sense of they will be managing day to day running of the charity. 

Amnesty International is not a large charity and its purpose is to campaign for prisoners around the world, safeguarding human rights and protecting free speech. Quite a lot of the work is centred around supporting prisoners of conscience by encouraging members of the public and members of Amnesty to contact foreign and domestic governments in support of prisoners who are incarcerated courtesy of their expression of opinion or belief.

It is highly possible that the salaries being paid have been through one of the various salary committees that charities have set up to determine what constitutes fair pay for their executives. The Charity Commission themselves set up a committee back in 2015 to look at executive pay in the charity sector, and the committee was basically made up of senior members of large charities. The conclusion was pretty much as one would anticipate in that they concluded the salaries they were all getting paid were more than reasonable and competitive with other sectors.

What Amnesty and various other committees and people setting the salaries within the charities fail to appreciate I think, again and again, is that the charity sector is there to collect money from the general public and to undertake charitable work.

The sector is not there to generate an income, make huge profits, generate excessive funds, sell anything and then justify paying a large salary to maintain this level of income, rather than concentrate on their charitable aid. 

Furthermore, quite a few of the larger charities including Amnesty are based in London and one would imagine that a good number of the senior management are linked or friends with senior management level workers in other sectors including the banking industry, the legal profession or the medical profession, and no doubt they are aware that salaries in those sectors are high compared with the rest of the country. 

It is regrettable that perhaps there is not legislation out there to firstly regulate high salaries in the charity sector and secondly to regulate the way charities spend their money. Location of head offices could be a first consideration.. 

If for example Amnesty International were based in a small market town in the north of England with lower cost rent, prices of property and general salaries being lower, it would surely result in the costs to the charity being considerably lower than for a charity based in Central London. Would it be cheaper for anyone who needed to go and meet with potential donors or to undertake political campaigning simply to jump on a train and be paid the train fare rather than the charity be situated in a high wealth area and therefore spend considerable amounts of money both on salaries and on day to day running? Would a commission set up by the Charity Commission perhaps be better placed to tell charities where they should and shouldn’t be spending money, and if they do decide to go with a central location in London (as an example) then perhaps give guidance on the impracticalities and wasteful expense of charitable giving to achieve this?

There is always a danger with the charity sector that it is slowly turning into an industry. This is despite perceptions of the general public which generally is still that charity is good and giving money to good things is a great idea. What we have seen over the years from our work looking at charity accounts - this is not always the case.

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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Legal Recruitment News October 2020

 Our Legal Recruitment Newsletter is available to read online. It includes our monthly legal job market report, tailoring your CVs for jobs, an article on locums not wanting to work on site at the moment and ridiculous law firm valuations. 

https://chancerylane.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-october-2020/

 

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Legal Recruitment News September 2020

 Legal Recruitment News September 2020 - click the link below.

https://www.interimlawyers.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-september-2020/

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.

Buying a Will Bank - Do I Need to Get Permission from the Testators?

 

If you buy a will bank, do you need to write to all the testators to advise them of the change in location and ownership?

This has arisen recently following the purchase of a will bank (not one of our clients but a general query). Both the seller and the buyer had been concerned that the buyer should write to the many thousands of testators in the will bank to advise them that the potential ownership and location of their wills has changed and to get their consent to the transfer of location. This has obviously raised issues as to whether or not it is possible or practical to purchase a will bank if you have to do this when a sale occurs.

Any Ideas?

We would welcome any thoughts on this issue as we have, in the past, heard conflicting advice from the regulators. The following information is not intended as advice, but rather simply anecdotal experiences we have had, and should not be relied upon to take a particular course of action.

Anecdotal Information

We were involved some time ago in the sale of a law firm somewhere in the UK, where the seller discovered a will bank in the cellar and was very concerned as to what they ought to do with it when it came to the transfer of the business. In fact they were so concerned they contacted the SRA and received advice that permission was needed for the wills to be transferred to a buyer. They relayed this information to the buyer, who promptly put the whole thing on hold and eventually pulled out. The same firm managed to sell a year later to a buyer who wasn’t the slightest bit interested in contacting all the testators in the wills and simply took over the practice.

Similarly, many years ago family members had wills drawn up by a law firm in West Yorkshire who subsequently closed down due to fraud by one of the partners. The family members in question were not aware of this until I alerted them to the fact that the firm had closed down some years later. We discovered the practice had been taken over by another firm and their wills had been moved to their premises. At no time had the practice taking over the will bank contacted the family members in the intervening period. Presumably, the practice taking over had decided that it was either not practical or required for them to contact all the testators in the wills.

Prohibitive Costs

Presumably the cost of contacting every testator to get permission to transfer their will (or at least notify them) would be so prohibitive it would make any sale of any law firm or will bank impossible. If there was a will bank of 10,000 you would have to send out 10,000 letters, and then follow these up, because chances are in 80 to 90% of cases you would not get a response, so a 10,000 will bank would suddenly turn into a 1,000 will bank and completely remove any value at all.

If anyone has experience of this issue or can point us in the direction of regulations or practice guidelines that confirm the position one way or the other, we would be most grateful. We can either post a link to your site or relay the information anonymously.

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.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Legal Recruitment News August 2020

Legal Recruitment News from Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and Interim Lawyers for August 2020. Includes a legal job market report for both permanent and locum work, locum hourly rates, CV advice, finding solicitors with following and how to expand your practice in new areas of law.



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.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Legal Recruitment News July 2020

 Legal Recruitment News from Ten Percent Legal. Includes a discussion on Professional Indemnity Insurance for Locums, the state of the Conveyancing job market, senior solicitors being at risk of redundancy, a Legal Job Market Report and July 2020 hourly rates for locums.

Click here to read:

https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/legal-recruitment-news-july-2020/

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, July 05, 2020

Senior Solicitors more at Risk of Redundancy than the Office Cleaner

The Law Society Gazette recently (July 2020) ran an article regarding the concern at Magic Circle and city firms that newly qualified solicitors will be seeing pay cuts and it may be a rocky year ahead for newly qualified and trainee solicitors.  

Struggling NQ City Solicitors?  


Examples are given by the Gazette of Allen and Overy paying £90,000 to newly qualified solicitors rather than £100,000 and Clifford Chance cutting newly qualified pay to £94,500. Hogan Lovells trainees will receive £85,000 as opposed to £90,000 when they qualify.

The Law Society Gazette talks about newly qualified pay bouncing back the following year and it being a worry for newly qualified solicitors that they are going to get these low levels of salary.

 

Vodafone Chief - a Dislike for Law Firms 


On the next page of the Gazette there is actually an article from the Head of Legal at Vodafone who has said she is troubled by rapid moves to lay off junior lawyers and to further support staff in private practice law firms. It looks as if the head of legal at Vodafone, Rosemary Martin, did not enjoy her time when she was in private practice as she says that she felt very uncomfortable that huge attention was paid to the partners and hardly anything was paid to all the other people in the law firms. 

Surely Some Mistake? 


We think both the Gazette and the Head of Legal at Vodafone are mistaken. Although salaries may be slightly dented to levels only high street solicitors can dream of, the likelihood is that, rather than junior lawyers being overly affected by the pandemic, it is much more likely that this is going to be the middle level of lawyers in private practice and in house. 

Anecdotal Evidence


Our anecdotal experience so far is that the solicitors most likely to have been laid off or furloughed at the start of the pandemic are solicitors in their 50's, working full time, but not at equity partner level. 

There are obviously good business reasons for this. It makes sense for a struggling law firm with high overheads to seize the opportunity to get rid of their highest expense. A 50-year-old senior solicitor costs money whereas a 25-year-old newly qualified solicitor on a fairly low level of salary does not cost as much. 

When the work picks up obviously equity partners and senior staff will be undertaking as much of the work as they possibly can to maintain their fee levels and using the assistance of the more junior staff. 

Partners Retain Work

 

It is similarly possible that the equity partners and senior staff will retain as much of the work for themselves as possible in order to justify their existence and by doing so deprive the next level down in terms of staffing from any fee earning opportunities. It is these members of staff who we think are more likely to face layoff and redundancy rather than the junior staff. 

Dreamworld Salaries

 

The figures given in the Law Society Gazette for the central London city firms are salaries that most of the 120,000 solicitors in England & Wales can only dream of throughout their career even when they are 30 to 40 years qualified.. It is these figures of course that get picked up in the press and grossly distort the earning potential for most legal practitioners in the UK who can only dream of receiving salary of this kind of scale.

Gap in the Market


The senior staff who have been laid off already or face redundancy over the coming months are those most likely to be lost to the profession forever. Our experience back in 2008 was that the same thing happened. Firms actively recruited younger and more junior members of staff and overlooked senior members of staff and those above 45 years old. 

High Locum Numbers


It is partly why there is currently a glut of locum solicitors desperately seeking work in certain areas of law because they turned to locuming when the last recession hit and have not been back into permanent work sense. Moving from locum to permanent is a very difficult thing to do at the best of times and it has been an issue for many years that firms actively discriminate against anyone who has tasted the freedom of locum work when looking to recruit into permanent roles.

To give another anecdotal example of why older solicitors are more likely to lose their jobs and then struggle to get back into the market is a telephone call I had recently with a senior partner of the firm looking to sell his practice and retire. He wanted to take on a partner to join his practice and eventually purchase his equity and I duly sourced him a good candidate with their own following and an active interest in taking equity in the medium term. His immediate response was virtually to rule this person out because they appeared to be of a certain age.

More at Risk than the Office Cleaner


So if you are a fairly senior solicitor and do not have an equity-linked position I suspect you are more at risk of losing your job than the office cleaner.

The high risk category back in 2008 was quite clearly anyone aged over 45, working in a full time role on a salary at the higher end for the firm they work for.

Author


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, June 03, 2020

Large Companies and Invisible 90 Day Payment Policies

 
This has happened to our companies so many times over the years that we almost sigh whenever a large organisation or company wants to do business with us. We know that although there may be plenty of work coming our way, we are not going to get paid for a substantial period of time afterwards.

Example

Take recent work for a university. We undertook their order, spent considerable time making sure that everything we were doing was satisfactory for them, the institution had specific requirements that resulted in us needing to invest in further technology and software updates, and we completed the work as they requested. The invoice we submitted was not substantial and we had costs ourselves that had to be met out of our accounts whilst we waited for payment.

87 Days - a pure coincidence?

Our payment terms are 21 days. We got to the end of the 21 days and issued our usual set of reminders, one after 7 days, another one 7 days later and a final one 7 days after that. This took us to 42 days and there was no correspondence or communication at all from the university. We then entered the credit control process with this institution whereby we sent them a statement indicating the interest and costs that were going to have to be applied if we had to take this further to court level. Still no response.
A further letter was written to the institution advising that unless payment was made within 7 days we were going to have to issue proceedings against them, and we still had nothing back from them. We were just thinking about what to do next, as to take a large client to court can be similar to cutting your nose off to spite your face if all future business from them ends, when after 87 days the client paid up.

Xero Tool

One of the very handy features of Xero accounts software (we thoroughly recommend it, although their customer service seems to range from non-existent to 'sort it out yourself') is that it indicates to you the average time it takes a client to pay, and when we looked at this particular client there was a very clear pattern showing that the client regularly pays at around or just within 90 days. This had happened again here.

Boot on the Other Foot

I have often wondered how these companies work the other way round – if for example with the university one of their students didn’t pay within the time of the invoice, would the university allow them 90 days to pay in the same way they have allowed themselves 90 days to pay our invoice? Or would they come down on them like a ton of bricks and be either throwing them off their course or issuing court proceedings against them if payment was not received in time?

How to Deal with 90 Day Terms? live with it

The key to working with these companies and institutions is just to accept that someone in the purchasing and supply section has come up with the wonderful idea of not paying anybody for that length of time, thus showing a higher level of cash in the bank for those months and gaining extra interest on any sums retained for that period.
There is no option for smaller businesses to do this because larger companies simply would not deal with them again, or go after them for the money very quickly indeed.
Take Reed the jobs board. If they do not receive payment against their invoices within 48 hours they send out a reminder and start bombarding the clients with emails asking for payment. I would hazard a guess that a supplier to Reed would probably not be afforded such generosity when submitting their invoices.

Summary

Clearly the government legislation aimed at ensuring larger business cough up when they should fails completely, because enforcement is dependent solely on the courage of smaller businesses to speak out against the larger companies or organisations, and regrettably, us included, most choose not to do so.


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.