Q: I’ve been assigned to a team within my legal department that has been tasked with boosting our department’s recruitment efforts. I’ve read that in today’s competitive hiring environment, an organization’s workplace culture can be a top factor for job seekers that are weighing an offer. Any tips on how we can showcase our firm’s culture to attract top candidates?
A: While showcasing your corporate culture is a sound recruitment strategy, it can backfire if you’re not honest and transparent. With research showing that 35% of workers would decline the “perfect” role if the company’s culture wasn’t right, it can be tempting to portray your firm’s work environment as one that suits everyone. Don’t. Candidates who are smart enough to work for you are also smart enough to see through any spin or hyperbole.
Take a look in the mirror
Begin by describing in words what your firm’s culture is really like. Remember that the way senior partners think of the culture and the way the rest of the staff does may not dovetail.
Robert Half asked both workers and executives in the United States and Canada to select one of the following terms as the best adjective to describe their company’s organizational culture.
Team-oriented (cooperative, fosters collaboration)
- Supportive (cares about people’s attitudes and feelings)
- Innovative (takes risks, willing to try new ideas)
- Traditional (acts conservatively and is methodical)
- Competitive (aggressive, quick to take advantage of new opportunities)
Though the target of the survey wasn’t law firms exclusively, what workers and executives said can be helpful in your situation. In both countries, most workers said their organizational culture was a traditional one. Executives had a completely different read, most often saying they have a team-oriented culture. Accurately pinpointing your departmental and company culture requires looking at it from both perspectives.
Here are some other considerations:
- Competitiveness Some legal firms foster competitive relationships between colleagues; others emphasize teamwork. Which are you?
- Stress The legal field can be stressful. Ask yourself whether your corporate culture prioritizes success over personal well-being.
- Career development What does the partnership track look like for attorneys?
- Community outreach Does the firm prioritize serving the community through volunteering? Don’t underestimate how important this is to many job seekers.
Show, don’t just tell
Once you have a workable description of your organizational culture, you have to get the word out. Avoid cliches and offer concrete examples when publicizing your culture. Don’t just say you want to reduce stress at work – be able to demonstrate programs that help to alleviate work-related stress, such as subsidized fitness programs or complimentary counseling services. On the other hand, don’t disguise the demands of the job. If employees are expected to work nights and weekends during a legal matter, that’s something they need to know before joining the firm.
These days it’s much easier for a job seeker to vet an organization than vice versa. They can trawl through your social media feeds, check out reviews on Glassdoor and Yelp, and chat to your representatives at job fairs, for starters. So, if you’re going to showcase your corporate culture, you need to do it consistently, in good faith and across all media.
Finally, don’t forget to let potential hires meet current team members. Who better to showcase your corporate culture to a candidate than one of their future colleagues?
Robert Half Legal is a premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With locations in North America and major cities around the world, Robert Half Legal offers a full suite of services, in-demand expertise across practice areas and highly skilled professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis, to help organizations manage constantly changing workloads. For more information about the company, visit roberthalflegal.com.