Your Law Firm Needs You: Making the grade with graduates

Posted in Latest News on 14 Jan 2019

The Ministry of Defence has just faced criticism for its army recruitment campaign targeting millennials. Its ‘Your Army Needs You’ adverts aim to challenge negative millennial stereotypes like ‘snowflake’, ‘selfie addicts’ and ‘phone zombies’.

In theory, the campaign has the hallmarks of success. The adverts are disruptive, which tends to resonate with the target audience of 16 – 25 year olds. However, in practice, the negative backlash suggests they’re wide-of-the-mark.

Like the MoD, engaging talented young people is becoming just as important to the future of law firms. A recent Lexis Nexis blog outlined how millennials will make-up 50% of the workforce by 2020, rising to 75% by 2030.

So, how do law firms successfully connect with this audience as competition for the best graduates increases? Here’s our top five tips.

1) Be inclusive – millennials have a desire for inclusion. This is sometimes wrongly confused with a ‘right’ to be included and a perception that younger professionals are impatient and not focused enough. This isn’t the case. They simply value context about how they’re contributing to the bigger picture. Mentoring schemes can help achieve this, as mentors provide younger professionals with that go-to person who can help them understand and develop their role in the firm. Similarly, during recruitment, law firms should be prepared to share long-term firm strategies and visions with younger professionals and invite their views on how they think they could add value to these. This makes them feel involved from the outset.  

2) Be entrepreneurial – the workforce of the future has grown-up in a world defined by innovation and where entrepreneurs have become role models. Millennials are excited by new ideas and attracted by leaders and companies daring to do things differently. Law firms showing entrepreneurialism and promoting opportunities for younger professionals to embrace their creative flair will stand-out from the crowd.

3) Be open – workplace culture and the office environment are extremely important to millennials. We’re not talking about bean bags, pool tables and quirky décor. It’s more about healthy working environments and cultures that promote teamwork, encourage practice-wide contribution and lateral thinking. Law firms can’t rely on job adverts, University milk rounds and reputation alone to share their workplace culture and corporate values. They need to open their doors and allow students and graduates to visit and spend time in their offices. Creating workspaces that support final year students with their studies is an effective means of welcoming them into law firms as they decide on their post-graduate choices.    

4) Be clear – much is written about how younger generations prioritise remote and flexible working. There’s no doubting such benefits are extremely important – for the past two years, legal professionals have highlighted ‘flexi-time’ as their most desired benefit in our annual Salary & Benefits Benchmarker (we’re releasing the 2019 report this month, so take a look to see if this changes). Law firms are right to champion these benefits during recruitment and will effectively engage millennials if they clearly define how these benefits work. Flexible working is open to interpretation and younger professionals will look beyond the headline benefit for detail about how their working day and week could realistically look and just how flexible it could be.

5) Be interested – recruitment can’t simply be all about the great opportunities the law firm has to offer and what’s required of the candidate role. This is too firm-centric and must evolve more towards understanding what the young professional has to offer and what they want to achieve. Rather than prescriptively listing graduate opportunities, recruitment should challenge millennials to share their motivations and ambitions. This will strike more of a balance between the career opportunity and the candidate’s aspirations, proving more appealing to millennials.

For further insight about effectively engaging candidates, contact our team or read about what scares off the best calibre professionals.

We placed a record number of newly qualified Solicitors in 2018 and are best placed to provide you with an informed choice regarding your 2019 qualification move. Simply email attaching a profile or to request a call back.

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