Successful Hiring Strategy: Let Them Come to You
In my eighteen years as an independent practitioner, I’ve had dozens of people work for me on a part-time or contract basis. Some I’ve used regularly for several years, others for several matters while others never lasted more than one project. But of the lawyers and interns who’ve worked for me, without a doubt, I’ve had the best luck with those who’ve come to me.
That’s been the case with my trade association, which has had interns working on policy, regulatory and lobbying matters in the renewables industry for three straight years. We always have a need, but never intend to hire. Yet each summer, I’ll get calls and emails from at least one student pestering me about a job. Because the positions are unpaid internships, there’s little to lose and so to reward their initiative, I’ve given them the job. And each time, I’ve gotten the benefit of hard working, proactive and social-media savvy students eager to learn.
Likewise, many times I’ll initiate a contact with a contract lawyer or paralegal, but then a project falls through and I don’t follow up for a while. The candidates who call or email me with a “just checking in” inquiry will generally wind up with work from me, and also do the best work because they keep me up to date on what they’re doing (you have no idea how many people are inclined to take an assignment and then not do it).
The last group of applicants are those who have an entrepreneurial rather than employee mentality. Though they don’t fall into the “come to me” category per se, they’re more inclined to hustle and have access to the tools necessary to do the job, whether it’s a computer research package or a particular word processing program.
To those applicants who are concerned about coming across as being too pushy, don’t worry. Lawyers like me always have some work for someone good – but there are lots of good people out there. You want to be the good person who’s also lucky enough to reach me when I’ve got extra work on my plate. And for that, you need to be persistent.