Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to find a new job?

There are lots of ways of looking for work, and as the job market contracts, it becomes harder to find jobs.

In some professions it can turn into a hunt for a needle in a haystack. Not so long ago, the property market was booming and estate agents, solicitors and mortgage brokers were in great demand. Recruitment agencies reported that there was a large surplus of jobs and no candidates to fill them.

In early 2008, the property market collapsed and suddenly there were lots of conveyancing lawyers and estate agents looking for work and no jobs for them to go into.

This got worse in the months to follow as there were less and less jobs and more and more people looking for work. Redundancies were rife across the market and instead of having vacancies free, companies found themselves with lots of candidates applying for work.

This mirrors previous slumps in the market in other fields and is often the case when a large portion of the market suddenly stops being economically viable and lots of candidates are suddenly competing for very few jobs.

So where do you look for work in such a market?

1. Register with a recruitment agency

Registering with a recruitment agency can be one of the easiest ways of finding work as recruitment agents often have jobs coming into them that are not necessarily found elsewhere. A particular example of this is where the recruitment agent has a good relationship with the firm and the firm instruct them that they are just interested in seeing CVs coming through. When this happens there are plenty of possibilities for you, but of course, recruitment agents are operating in the same market as you are, and it does not follow that there will be lots of jobs immediately available for you to consider. However, when jobs do come up, it is important to be on the mailing lists because recruitments agents faced with lots of candidates will simply email or contact them all to let them know of a new opportunity and with plenty of choice, the vacancy will have gone within no time at all.

It is also beneficial to register with a recruitment agent because a recruitment agent can do some of the hard work for you, in that when a firm are advertising a vacancy, they will often advertise them with agents as well as on job boards.

2. Local and National Press

Again, a very common source of work. Most companies will first of all thing of advertising in their local newspaper which means of course that the job board will also have plenty of opportunities on as well as this is usually linked to local and national media job advertising.

These can be a good source and traditionally the strongest way of finding work.

Of course, it depends on your profession and area, but local and national press are usually a good indication of the job market and it is important to keep an eye on posts being advertised there.

3. Trade Magazines or Publications

This is really dependent on your profession and area, but for example, in the legal profession, the Law Society Gazette and The Lawyer are the two main publications and the Law Society Gazette accounts for a very high percentage of all job vacancies in the legal profession. It should be noted that this is job vacancies being advertised, and a lot of vacancies at senior and middle level are not advertised as firms simply contact recruitment agents or receive details off recruitment agents and recruit directly from them.

4. Networking

Networking is slightly awkward in the sense of finding work, and often people find work through their circles of friends as opposed to more external networks. External networks tend to be slightly more awkward to just go and find work in as you will be approaching strangers and effectively asking for a job.

5. Speculative Applications

If you can identify a niche or specific area or a certain type of company, it may be worth going and making direct applications directly to those companies and see what the result is. It is possible that you will find that for every application you make, particularly in a poor job climate, you may get a response every 30 letters or even every 100 letters but if you are in need of work, it is certainly worth trying.

In summary, there are plenty of ways to look for work, but it all depends on what you are looking for and where, as it is important to have a strategy formulated before you start. In a poor job market it certainly takes a bit of effort to be able to source work.

Jonathan Fagan is a legal recruitment consultant with Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. You can contact him at

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How to make someone redundant or let them go

The climate at present in the UK is one of impending redundancy across all sectors. Whilst this may be a good or bad thing, here is our tip sheet on how to make a redundancy or let a member of staff go.

For most people it is a very stressful time, and it can results in sleepless nights worrying about the effect of the redundancy on the individual and also the way to couch it effectively.

Often it can involve making someone redundant who you really like and value as a colleague and employee, and do not want to see them leave the business. However, the economic climate is such that harsh decisions have to be made in order to ensure the survival of the company and to trim costs.

1. Be transparent. You have to be clear with your reasons for the redundancy and stick with them. The reasons have to be genuine ones as opposed to made up ones or reasons to make it sound better.

2. Plan what you are going to say – it is important to have an idea in your head of what to say to ensure that what comes out is what you really mean and want to convey to the employee. It can also help to have someone else present with you when you are undertaking this task. This can help both from a legal perspective and also to chip in if you forget to say anything.

3. Choose the correct time for doing this. If you choose an inappropriate time, the response from the employee could be very different and for all the wrong reasons.

4. Explain the reasons in full. Do not beat about the bush, and explain in concise terms why the redundancy is essential for the company. Smaller businesses may even find it helpful to tell the employee what the balance sheet is and what the effect of their redundancy will be or the effect if they do not make the redundancy.

5. Discuss with the employee how to make the announcement to other workers. In a smaller company, this probably is not necessary as most of the staff in the business will be fully aware why the redundancy is being made, but in a larger business with teams, it may be essential to explain to the other members of the team, why the action is taking place.

6. Sacking – if this is a sacking or dismissal rather than a redundancy, be aware of the legal procedures that you have to take, and check any employee manuals to ensure that you are complying with the procedures that are set out in there.

7. Above all else, retain your dignity and also be aware of the employee’s feelings. That person may have been with your company for quite some time, or similarly may place a lot of value on their position with your company that you do not necessarily reciprocate. Be sure that you treat the other person with respect and the way that you would expect to be treated in a similar circumstance. Do not use wishy-washy terms such as “I wish I could keep you on, I really like you,” etcetera, because in the employee’s mind, if you really liked them, you would not be making them redundant.

Good luck!

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment. He regularly writes and provides articles for employers, lawyers and is also a business consultant. You can contact Jonathan at or you can telephone 0207 127 4343.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Interview question - tell me something about yourself

Job interview question – “Tell me something about yourself”

This question was recently asked by a company in London and the candidate was slightly flummoxed by it as she did not know what to say or what exactly the interviewer was looking for.

Our advice would be to condense your CV into 45 seconds and give the interviewer a potted history of yourself. This will be particularly relevant if the question was asked at the beginning of the interview as this is often when an interviewer has not yet formulated their questions and answers.

So for example, if I was answering this question, I would say:

“My name is Jonathan Fagan and I am 35 years old. I live in village in North Wales near to Chester and I am married to a GP and have three children aged one year to four years.

I have a full driving licence and my educational background is GCSE, A-level then off to university at Salford, Leicester, De Montfort and Newcastle. I have a Masters degree in Law and LLB and the LPC together with various recruitment qualifications and financial advisor qualifications.

I came to Leicester before qualifying as a solicitor and subsequently working in Nottingham, specialising in crime, mental health and family. I then went in house with Ten Percent before becoming managing director and running the company full time. My featured skills are various, and I speak a bit of German and Welsh.

My activities and interests include cricket and lots of it, golf, walking the dog and spending a lot of time with my daughters.”

You can see that I have condensed my CV into 45 seconds and perhaps given the interviewer a couple of topics to discuss further with me if he or she so wishes. It may also give the interviewer time to formulate questions or alternatively think about what they are going to have for tea before they ask you their next set of questions which they have already got prepared.

This sort of approach to the question is quite useful because it also gives you the chance to talk at the start of an interview and get the initial uncomfortable time over and done with.

Jonathan Fagan is Lead Consultant with J. B. Fagan and Associates (, specialist professional career consultants. He is also Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment ( You can contact Jonathan at or by visiting one of the websites.