LinkedIn is great – but can it really help you to recruit the right people?

Posted on Friday, October 13, 2023 by Andrea Prendergast

There’s no doubting LinkedIn’s power and popularity. It turned 20 earlier this year, having been launched in May 2003, nine months before Facebook.

The stats are amazing. Available in 26 languages, LinkedIn now has more than 930m members in 200 countries, and its phenomenal growth is unlikely to slow down any time soon. In fact, LinkedIn was growing at a rate of two new members every second, but that’s gone up to three.    

In more recent years, certainly since Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, there’s been a marked increase in law firms advertising positions on and recruiting from LinkedIn. Maybe, that’s hardly surprising. Some 63m businesses are listed on LinkedIn and worldwide, each week, 61m people are reported to use LinkedIn to search for a new job, with “117 job applications submitted every second” and “eight people hired every minute on LinkedIn”. These are impressive numbers.

Recruiting the right people

However, quality is more important than quantity. So, while LinkedIn potentially offers your law firm a way to get its brand out there and advertise vacancies quickly and cheaply to a huge audience – what if it didn’t enable your law firm to attract the best talent or people ideally suited to your firm’s culture?

LinkedIn can be a great tool for attracting candidates who are actively looking for a new job. However, they may not be the right people or the most talented that your law firm needs if it is to succeed, grow and prosper.

Job adverts on LinkedIn often don’t reach “passive” professionals who may be even more talented and better suited. These are high-calibre people who are relatively happy in their jobs. They don’t spend time on LinkedIn looking for new jobs.

  • Research suggests that 85% of potential candidates are passive (ie they are not actively looking for a new role).
  • That means job adverts on LinkedIn may only reach about 15% of the talent out there.

Team dynamics and culture fit are crucial, too, of course, it’s seldom a question of whether someone has the required skills and experience. Your LinkedIn job advert may not be seen by the most talented, committed professionals, people who will fit seamlessly into your team and contribute far greater value over a longer period.

How to reach passive talent

Gaining the attention of passive candidates can seem impossible, but this is where the skill and knowledge of our research team and highly experienced recruitment consultants really can make a big difference.

Statistics show that, on average, a passive candidate only engages in conversation after the second or third “touch point”. Knowing this, we work hard to ensure that this happens, which is something that most law firms simply don’t have the time to do.

Then, before they are shortlisted, candidates go through a rigorous interview process with our recruitment specialists. This is what we do, day in, day out. It's our job not only to know where the best talent is, but also whether they are the best fit in terms of culture. We work hard to understand a candidate’s skills, experience and – importantly – their motivations. What are they really hoping to gain from a new opportunity and what value do they offer a new employer? This is key to assessing their suitability.

As the “war on talent” continues to heat up, how employers engage with talent through recruitment and pre/onboarding is equally as important as how they attract talent in the first place. This is where a recruitment consultant adds real value, by representing and enhancing the law firm’s employee value proposition, while keeping close to the candidate to understand how their motivations might change after entering numerous interview processes. Engagement is key; it takes time and expertise to secure the best talent first time, which ultimately impacts the recruitment experience for all involved.

Cutting costs and adding value

In terms of time and money, the true investment required to find the right people goes beyond interviewing costs. To get to the point where we can present a shortlist of four or five suitable candidates to a client requires many hours of meticulous research, prescreening and interviewing.

If law firms had to do this work themselves it would add to their workload and costs significantly. And that’s just for one position. Imagine having to fill numerous positions over a year, which is common for larger law firms, of course. If you don’t put in that work, the risk of recruiting the wrong person increases considerably, which can later have serious cost implications.       

Our researchers spend a lot of time identifying and feeding our talent pools. We save law firm clients a lot of time and money through our networking, while speaking to and presenting opportunities to various talent pools. We also maintain our data and business intelligence platforms, which is part of our added value. 

We have allocated researchers and AI technology, which we use to map talent, day in day out, enabling us to fill our talent pools with the right people, so that our consultants can carry out in-depth interviews. We then use our judgement and experience to short-list candidates for interview, making sure that our clients get to interview the right candidates, saving precious time for all involved. When you match the right people to the right opportunities, it’s really satisfying. It’s when great things can happen. It’s a key guiding principle for us.

  • Written by Andrea Prendergast, Ryder Reid Legal co-owner and Executive Search Director. Andrea started her recruitment career in 1998 in her hometown of Liverpool. She moved to London and joined Ryder Reid in 2008, becoming a director and shareholder three years later, before buying the business in 2018 with Callum Smith, Ryder Reid Legal Business Director.
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