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The Retention Game – Q&A with Chelsey Newsom, Senior Consultant

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13 Jan 2017
Chelsey Joined Sellick Partnership in 2012 working initially as a Resourcing Consultant. Since then she has progressed to the role of Senior Consultant, specialising in locum recruitment placing lawyers and paralegals into Local Authorities and public sector organisations in London and Hertfordshire. We sat down with Chelsey to discuss her thoughts on employee retention and what she thinks is important when trying to attract and retain candidates.

Did you go to university? What qualifications do you have if any?

I achieved a 2:1 BSc in Criminology from the University of Southampton.

Why did you decide to choose a career in recruitment?
I had a couple of friends that worked in recruitment who always told me that it would suit me. I loved meeting new people and building relationships and I already had experience of working within a sales environment so I felt that my skills were easily transferable to this type of role. Initially I didn’t feel confident enough to go straight into a 360 consultant role so I was advised by my friends to start as a Resourcing Consultant which would give me the feel for recruitment on the candidate side. I have since progressed with the business and now work as a Senior Consultant within the legal team at Sellick Partnership.

What is a typical working day like at Sellick Partnership?
I would say that no two days are the same and I have a very varied role within the business. A lot of it is telephone based, speaking with existing and new candidates and also speaking with clients and building client relationships.

What is your favourite thing about working in the recruitment sector?
My favourite aspect is definitely the diversity of the role. No two days are the same. I feel like I am constantly being challenged which is ultimately helping me to develop and learn new things each day. Not only am I learning something new about myself but I feel immersed in my market and love being able to assist and constantly add value to my candidates and clients.

What changes, if any, have you seen within the recruitment sector during the time you have worked in it?
A lot of Local Authorities have significant budgetary pressures and are having to reduce budgets considerably, which impacts on their staffing needs. Local Authorities now share their legal services to save on money and resource, many have also created alternative business structures to try and act more commercially, often operating similarly to private practice firms which again can affect me and the work I do.

What does the future hold for the recruitment sector?

I think the recruitment sector is stronger than ever. I believe that uncertainty within markets actually creates opportunities within recruitment. I specifically recruit to the public sector where changes can occur so quickly. These changes can be anything from a restructure of an internal team, to external factors such as changes in the law and the implications of Brexit.

Is there a difference in how senior and junior candidates search for a role?

More experienced candidates tend to hear about opportunities from other locums or agencies like Sellick Partnership that they keep in constant contact with. In my opinion senior candidates are generally more phone based and use traditional methods when looking for roles such as print adverts, industry press and networking through contacts. The younger generation on the other hand tend to be more active on social media, and will use platforms such as LinkedIn on a more regular basis.

What advice would you give to employers that want to appeal to a diverse range of candidates?

I would say that organisations need to be creative and innovative and think of different ways to approach candidates from a variety of age groups by using things like LinkedIn and other social media platforms, especially when you are targeting the younger generation. I would also advise that companies stick with traditional methods such as networking events, printed adverts and industry publications so that you attract a solid pool of talented candidates.

What kind of candidates do you deal with on a day-to-day basis and is there such a thing as an 'ideal candidate'?
Recruiting for locum lawyers and paralegals I tend to deal with a range of candidates. Sometimes I feel clients can focus too much on PQE (post-qualified experience) which I feel is limiting the candidate pool that is available to them. They also will not always consider junior candidates due to the nature of the role they are recruiting for, but these candidates I feel are often more of an investment in the longer term and should be considered.

Have you noticed any trends in the legal recruitment sector within the last 18 months?
For my specific sector within Local Authorities we have noticed a real change and a need for regeneration lawyers. Clients are also now looking for candidates that don't just specialise in one specific area but specialise in a variety of different areas which can be difficult to come by.

How can the legal sector work to improve employee retention?
When recruiting for locum lawyers the market can often be very candidate led, so organisations need to become more flexible with working hours, giving candidates the ability to work from home or reduce their working hours. They should also offer competitive hourly rates to ensure they retain the highest quality locums.

Find out more about what employers can do to retain staff in our "Retention Game" blog series:

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