Hiring Best Practice: Invest Attention

by Alay Yajnik, Executive Career Coach at The Barrett Group and Law Firm Growth Expert & Founder, Lawyer Business Advantage

In my work with law firms, the most common Hiring Trap that I see is attorney entrepreneurs who hire too quickly. This is what happens: often, they have waited too long to hire someone. They are under enormous pressure to make a fast hire. So, quite logically, they rush to hire the first person who is qualified.

The Downside of Hiring Fast

As your practice grows and you work longer hours to keep up, the quality of your life and your work likely pays the price.

As your practice grows, the quality of your life and your work likely pays the price.

And they may continue to suffer until you hire someone. You expect that having a qualified employee in the role will ease your workload and allow you to refocus your attention and efforts. You expect that you will regain balance in your life.

So, maybe you hire the first qualified person you interview and cross your fingers, hoping that it all works out. But unless you are lucky, it won’t. And worse, after the poor performer has been fired, they may leave a mess behind that will take more of your time and effort to clean up.

In addition to fixing the issues the employee may have created, you have now wasted your valuable time and resources training the poor performer. You have to re-start the process, redo the training, and hope for a better outcome.

The Caliber of Your Employees Matters

Simply put: You can’t build a great law firm with mediocre employees.

Each of your employees is a reflection on the practice and on you as an attorney entrepreneur. With every action your employees take, they either build up the reputation and brand of your firm or they diminish it. The quality of employees and their ability to perform their jobs impacts you, other employees, clients and the firm.

A great new employee must be a good cultural fit for your law practice as well. If a new employee is not compatible with the culture of the practice, you can expect problems and challenges. Even if they are great at their job, a “culture clash” can create a host of issues that can impact the firm’s brand, the employees, and the clients…not to mention your stress levels!

Good Employees Are Hard to Find

So be patient. Good employees are busy people. They often have demanding jobs and they are routinely pulled in several directions at once. When the time comes for a good employee to find a new job, they won’t be in the job market for long. This means you will have a small window to find, interview and hire them.

The Importance of Prioritizing Hiring

When you are actively trying to fill a role, you should plan to invest about five hours each week. It may seem like a lot of time, but this keeps the job opening “top of mind” so you can take advantage of everyday opportunities that could lead you to a great employee.

For example, when you are speaking with colleagues (e.g. after court, bar association events, etc.), you will be more likely to mention your job opening and ask them if they know qualified people who might be interested.

At the end of the day, you need great employees to uphold the quality of services you provide. Hiring good people may not be quick, but hiring the right people is the best way to transform your practice into your Perfect Practice™.

Suggested Action Items:

  • Mention your job opening when you speak with colleagues
  • Plan to invest 5 hours/week when actively filling a position in your practice

(This is an excerpt from my upcoming book. I hope you find it helpful. I would love to hear your comments via email at [email protected])

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