Are you currently looking for a newly qualified (NQ) position but struggling to find a role that matches to your needs and skillset? We spoke to three qualified legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ roles, why they chose their current firm, and get their views on what to look for in a legal recruiter. Securing an NQ position can often be a challenging and lengthy process for legal professionals. It can often be difficult to find the right firm, choose a recruiter that will listen and find the perfect role. I speak with candidates that are going through the process every day, and each has their own story to tell. I recently sat down with three legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ positions and to find out how their experience was dealing with Sellick Partnership throughout the process. What were the first steps you took when beginning your search for an NQ position? Shehnaz Rahman Commercial Property Solicitor at Boyes Turner LLP said: The first and most important aspect of securing an NQ position in my opinion is getting your CV up to scratch, so I attended several CV clinics and spent time getting this ready for applying to roles. I then changed my LinkedIn status to let recruiters know I was open to vacancies and started looking for a recruiter that could help with my search. Rosie Deller, Family Solicitor at Rayden Solicitors said: Firstly, I spoke with a previous trainee from my old firm about the NQ process and how to structure CVs. Getting advice from someone that has been through the process is very helpful. After this I redrafted my CV in-line with a precedent received from an NQ information evening. Once I knew my CV was good enough I started having initial conversations with a couple of recruiters – ones that specialised in the areas I wanted work. Laura Jeal, Chartered Legal Executive at Doyle Clayton Solicitors said: I started by updating my CV, to ensure it reflected the diverse range of skills I had gained as a trainee. I had a vague awareness of other firms in the local area but used the Legal 500 to give myself a general idea of the types of firms I wanted to aim for. I also kept an eye on the legal job sites for NQ vacancies and followed up with any recruiters who contacted me about NQ roles. How did you decide what area of law to qualify into? How soon did you know? Shehnaz said: Before I started my training contract I had an interest in property law but wasn’t sure whether to specialise in commercial or residential. During my training contract I had experience in both and enjoyed commercial property the most. That is why it is important to try and gain as much exposure as possible while training as it will really help make your final decision. Rosie said: During my training contract there were two main practice areas – property and family. Personally, I found property incredibly dry and boring, but family law very interesting. I spoke with a couple of family solicitors that I knew about the profession and what it is like once qualified and it only reconfirmed my decision that family law was the right area for me. Laura said: I’ve wanted to work in employment law ever since I started studying. I worked in a call centre before I began my studies and every email from HR had me questioning whether what they were doing was above board (I now know it was, for the record). Since working in an employment law environment, it has underlined its appeal to me, as it has the perfect mix between contentious and non-contentious work. If you could go back in time, what do you now know that you wish you had known at the start of the process? Shehnaz said: When I first started looking for an NQ role I instructed three recruitment agencies, which was completely unnecessary. I think the best approach is to have initial chats with various recruiters to get an understanding of what they have to offer and whether there is a connection between you and the recruiter, if you like them, then instruct them. I found some recruiters pushy and tried to pressure me to interview with firms which were (a) not in my desired specialism (b) not in my desired location. My advice would be to find a recruiter that has your best interests in mind and stick with them. I also started my search in my final seat, however I would suggest starting your search earlier. Rosie said: Do not panic. The market for NQ solicitors was stagnant when I first started looking, and everyone’s situation is very different, so don’t get down about it. For example, my friend had found a suitable role about six months before he was due to qualify, which was very lucky. I decided early on that I did not want to stay at the firm I was training at and the lack of opportunities when I first started looking did not fill me with much hope that I would be able to move roles. Also, do not accept too many approaches from recruiters on LinkedIn. At the start I accepted any recruiter that wanted to connect with me. Rather than simply just accept, I should have researched into them and the company to determine whether they would be the right fit to assist me. I probably wasted more time having initial conversations with other recruiters who were not right to assist me. Laura said: Be patient with your search! Firms aren’t always hiring, and your dream firm may be just around the corner if you’re willing to wait. What attracted you to the firm you are working at? Shehnaz said: Boyes Turner has an extremely strong reputation in Reading and a lot of people from my training firm had moved there, so it was clearly doing something right! It also has an impressive line-up of developer clients. Having now worked here for almost a year, I can certainly say it was the best move/decision I made. It is extremely friendly, transparent and everyone is very supportive. The Partners here are keen to support and develop your knowledge and train you up. Rosie said: Rayden Solicitors is a highly respected and well-ranked law firm. I spoke with several family solicitors in London and they had all mentioned how great Rayden Solicitors was and that I would be happy and be able to progress with them. I had two offers from two firms on the table and decided to take Rayden’s which was a slightly lower salary due to the reputation and career progression that they could offer. Laura said: There were several factors. Firstly, my previous boss and trainee supervisor both came from Doyle Clayton. I respected both as incredible lawyers and knew that was in part because of the training and support they had received at my firm. In addition, Doyle Clayton are ranked as a tier one firm for employment law for the region, which to me means their advice is valued, and they have a diverse range of clients. When I interviewed there, I felt immediately at home and knew it was where I wanted to work. Why did you decide to choose Sellick Partnership to assist you with the search? Shehnaz said: Faith was the first person to contact me on LinkedIn, before I even started looking for NQ positions. Many recruiters sent generic messages to me, however Faith clearly did her research and her initial message was personal to my experience and location. Faith is extremely diligent and hardworking. In comparison to other recruiters out there, she is one of the best recruiters I have come across. Interview prep and understanding the firm you will interview for, are some of the main concerns NQs have. Faith provided extensive guidance on these, so you feel confident when going into the interview. The NQ recruitment market is highly competitive, so you need a recruiter who is proactive and persevering, and Faith can certainly deliver that. Rosie said: After having an initial chat with you, you completely understood my position and the type of role that I wanted. Other recruiters that I spoke with didn’t really listen to the practice area of law and location that I wanted and continued to press me to consider other roles that weren’t suitable. The market after I first spoke to you was stagnant and there was not a lot of vacancies. Rather than send these to me to try and make me consider them in order to place me as quickly as possible, you waited for the right opportunities. Laura said: Faith and I were already connected, and she posted on LinkedIn to say she was keen to speak to NQs in all areas. I arranged a phone call with Faith and we discussed what I was looking for. I knew from the first call that this would be a useful relationship to have. Faith wasn’t just putting me forward for any old vacancy – she considered the type of firms I was looking at, and was able to talk knowledgeably about each firm, their ethos and way of working. I never received anything less than a personal service. No other recruiter could compare. Next steps If you are about to finish your training contract and are looking for an NQ position they get in touch, Faith would be delighted to work with you to find your perfect role, or for further advice you can check out Faith’s blog here. Alternatively, you can check out our latest live legal jobs here.
Over recent years, we have seen more discussion surrounding the need for leadership to better reflect the workforce as a whole. This push towards greater equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at board level, is already beginning to have a positive impact but there remains more to be done. While diversity and inclusion are closely linked, they are not one and the same. Diversity refers to the characteristics of people that remain unchanged, while inclusion is the practice of making all members of a business feel welcomed and valued. The benefits of striving for a diverse and inclusive workforce are noteworthy, research has shown that organisations with advanced EDI strategies perform better in a range of areas, including staff retention and profitability. Bringing together experienced industry professionals, with different backgrounds and career paths, has been proven to enhance creativity and critical thinking. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that organisations with more diverse management teams reported revenues almost a fifth higher (19%) than those with below average diversity scores, due to greater innovation. Another competitive advantage of promoting EDI initiatives is that a team from diverse backgrounds will be able to approach problems in different ways. Being able to hear from a wider range of perspective will help ensure a more considered outcome. A strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion can help attract better talent at every level. Organisations that prioritise diversity and promote inclusion are seen to be more ethical and socially responsible. A candidate will be more inclined to consider a business where they see themselves reflected in the leadership. The culture of an organisation is set at the top. Without a senior and executive team that adequately represents the organisation as a whole, there can be a lack of credibility and confidence in the longevity of any EDI policies being implemented. Increasing inclusion and diversity at board level has traditionally been challenging. Despite a range of initiatives and government-led reviews being in place, progress remains relatively slow. In 2020, The Parker Review found that 37% of FTSE 100 companies still did not have at least one person of colour as a director. And while 355 women sit on boards at the FTSE 100 – making up over a third of positions – The Hampton-Alexander Review noted there was still a lack of women in some senior and executive roles. It is clear that whilst organisations understand the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion at board level, implementing effective EDI policies when recruiting for the most senior positions can be challenging. Rethinking hiring strategies can be crucial when it comes to increasing diversity at a senior and executive level. As Sir John Parker, chair of The Parker Review, observed: “There are many more qualified and competent people from minority backgrounds out there in the UK and Internationally than we often believe; we just don’t meet them – and all too often our head-hunters aren’t introducing them to us.” Ultimately, finding the right candidates for these roles requires a new way of thinking and a different approach to HR. Working with a third party can help ensure objectivity and help challenge any preconceived notions about the ‘ideal candidate’ that might be impacting the recruitment process. If you a client looking to making a senior or executive level hire, or an experienced candidate and would like some help or advice on searching for a new role, please get in touch with us today to see how we might be able to help.
Are you feeling the Monday Blues? Does January seem to be going on forever? You might be feeling the effects of Blue Monday. Here are our top tips to banish those blues, and keep you motivated today and everyday throughout the year. Penned as the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January and is widely recognised as a day where people feel demotivated and in need of cheering up. A combination of bad weather, new year diets, failed resolutions, financial struggles and the distant memory of Christmas, makes January a hard month to get through for many people, especially in these tough times we are now facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there is no evidence to suggest that the effects of Blue Monday are real, we know how hard it can be to get back into the swing of things after the Christmas and New Year break. As a result, we have put together some tips for surviving Blue Monday and staying motivated throughout 2021. Make sure you have something to look forward to Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is difficult to plan any holidays at the moment, something that many of us look forward to throughout the year. However, it is still as important as ever to have something to work towards in the future. This could be anything such a new work venture, a health goal, a personal milestone or even conquering 'Dry January'. Having a goal or something to get excited about is hugely important for staying motivated in Janaury and during these difficult times. Take some time away from social media We have become a society that is totally reliant on technology, which has its benefits, but it also has a big impact on the way we interact with each other and feel overall. The average person spends three hours per day on social media which is a huge chunk of your day. Try and take some time away from a computer or phone if you feel down or de-motivated. We need to do more to stimulate our brains – especially around Blue Monday – to stay motivated all year round. Think about reducing the time you spend on your phone and spend time doing other things like reading a book, going for a walk, learning a new skill or speaking with friends and family. Get out in the fresh air The lack of light and bad weather during winter can often put people off going outside in January, but this can be part of the reason people get so de-motivated. Try and get at least a few minutes outside per day, as long as you follow the current guidelines. At Sellick Partnership, we encourage people to go for walks on their lunch to get out of the house and away from computers to make the most of the limited sunlight. We need exercise and fresh air to stay feeling happy, refreshed and energised. Without it, people can become agitated and restless. Even if it is just for a short walk at lunch or after work, get out for some air and to stretch your legs; it’s the combination of light, fresh air and movement that can make all the difference. Get yourself organised A messy desk, or an unorganised diary can add to feelings of stress and anxiety, so this January think about spending a few hours getting everything ready for the weeks and months ahead. Try looking through your diary from the previous year to see if you can find any opportunities and tasks you may need to revisit. It can be a hugely cathartic process and help give you the motivation you need to be successful in the coming year. Also think about throwing away anything you do not need, set yourself a key list of priorities and block out some time in your diary where you can relax, recharge and de-stress. That way you will not burn out, and you will be able to stay on top of your game all year. If you have any additional motivational tips you would like us to share, get in touch with us via email, or let us know on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn today.
January is often a time for self-reflection and over the next few weeks, many of us will be thinking about what we have achieved in 2020 and our ambitions for the year ahead. January is always a busy month for recruitment and job searches, however after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be even more people searching for a new job. If you are currently looking for a new role, first things first: try not to panic! In this blog Consultant Leah Edgar gives her advice on searching for a new role and how you can stand out from the crowd in 2021. 1. Refresh your CV Even if a new job is not at the top of your list, it is important to keep your CV and LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Look at your current skills and update your accomplishments. I would advise you to do this when achievements are fresh in your mind rather than attempting to add in a couple of years of experience all at once in preparation for making a career move further down the line. It is particularly important to make sure that your LinkedIn credentials are up-to-date. As many as 94 percent of recruiters use the platform for recruiting and more and more employers are recruiting passive candidates, so you never know who will be looking at your profile! 2. Diversify your skillset Building upon your current attributes is a valuable way to improve your career. This will help you to feel more personally fulfilled, but it will also boost your professional value. It is also important to note that many employers will recognise employees who are motivated to learn new things and progress within their company. A few examples could be: Taking an external course Working towards a qualification Volunteering Remember – once you enter the jobs market, this would also give you more to talk about at interview. 3.Positivity is key! No matter how bad a day you are having, it is important to keep your energy and positivity up at work. Having a positive mind-set, offering solutions and showing enthusiasm in your work can go a long way in your role and ultimately lead to producing a better standard of work. It is also important to look after yourself to stay positive. Exercise, get plenty of sleep and do what you love outside of working hours. This will help improve your mood, feel refreshed and mentally prepared for your job. 4.Expand your network Most legal vacancies are filled through networking and people you know so if you are in the legal sector, expanding your network is essential. Even if you are not planning on changing roles, it is important to build and maintain a solid professional network for your career. How can you do this? There are several ways including: Maintaining relationships and reaching out to former colleagues Attending external virtual events and connecting with other legal professionals is the perfect chance to make yourself known Always follow up with those you have met at virtual meetings and events. You never know who you might find yourself forming friendships with 5.Read – keeping your knowledge up-to-date More than likely, you will already be aware of the developments taking place in the legal industry. However, if this isn’t the case I would strongly advise you make it one of your aims to keep on top of the latest trends and developments in the sector. This will help boost your industry knowledge and employers will always recognise this, as you are demonstrating commitment in your career. I would advise looking on news sites such as The Law Society Gazette, or even subscribing to legal newsletters to stay on top of the latest news and updates. Can we help you? Taking time out to focus on your professional development is essential to maintain success. The steps above are worth considering for those at any stage within their career – it will certainly pay off in the long run! If you are looking for a change or would like some advice, we are ready to help you. Please look at our latest live jobs or contact me for a confidential chat.
Accepting a job offer should be the easiest and most satisfying thing in the world, particularly if you have been looking for alternative employment for a while, or the role fits in perfectly with your ambitions and dreams. However, even when you want to accept a job offer, there are some things to consider to ensure the process continues smoothly and you are fully protected from any unexpected shocks or surprises further down the line. In this article, we will talk you through how to accept a job offer, including the do’s and don’ts and general etiquette surrounding this crucial part of the recruitment process. Be appreciative Most job offers will initially be presented over the phone or in person by the hiring manager, before sending a written offer. The first thing you should do, regardless of your intentions, is thank the person calling for the offer and make it clear how grateful you are to be given the opportunity. You should then make clear your intentions — if you would like some time to think about the offer, make that clear. You can then find out about what will happen next and the steps that follow you accepting the offer, so everybody is on the same page. Try to avoid accepting on the spot We know the temptation, when you are presented with a job offer you want to accept, is to jump in and say ‘yes’ on the spot. However, it is always best to take a little bit of time to make 100% sure that it is the role that you want before officially accepting. Now that the prospect of joining the organisation is very real, is it definitely the right position for you? Even if the answer is still yes, which hopefully it is, you should try to avoid confirming there and then. You are entitled to ask for a little bit of time and the hiring manager should understand if that is what you want. If you are concerned about sounding less enthusiastic than you actually are about the position, you can reassure the hiring manager that you are delighted with the offer and excited by the opportunity, but would just like to make sure everything you need is in place before moving ahead. Equally, if you have so far only received a verbal offer and not a written offer, then you should ask for the written offer — which will contain details of salary, annual leave and additional benefits — before accepting. If you are happy with the written offer and you are sure you want to progress, then you can go ahead and accept. Clear up any queries However, there may be situations where you are happy with a written offer and are keen to accept, but have other queries about the specifics of the role that you would like to have answered first. This could be anything from practical working arrangements, probation periods and equipment that you will be using, through to details of your pension. It is always best to make sure you have all the information you feel is important about your day-to-day work and role before accepting an offer, to avoid any misunderstandings once you begin your employment. Write an acceptance letter If everything is as it should be and you want to accept the offer, it is always best to do this in writing, even if you have already verbally agreed. Your letter only needs to be short and to the point. You should: Thank the hiring manager for their offer and state that you accept immediately Re-state and confirm the key terms of employment that you have agreed, such as: - Start date - Salary - Benefits Send a final note of gratitude and eagerness to begin the role, as well as any personal contact information they might need that they do not already have on file Once you have accepted the offer, all that remains is to prepare yourself for your new career, and get excited about what the future has in store for you.