Over the past week, we have had a couple of law firms tell us about their frustrations of having someone accept a position at their firm, only to rescind their acceptance a week prior to starting. 

I can understand the firm’s frustration.  There is a lot of preparation that happens before a new hire joins a firm. Computers are set up, training is coordinated, internal conversations take place, schedules are re-arranged, etc.  Not to mention, after you have accepted your offer, your new firm has stopped considering other applicants.  That means that if you then rescind your offer, the firm has lost out on not only time and money, but also all the other candidates they were considering as those ones have most likely moved on and are off the market. 

But, at the same time, I can understand things from the Candidate’s perspective.  Life happens, people change their minds, and new opportunities arise and ultimately you the candidate, needs to make the best long-term decision for yourself. 

However, the legal community is small, people change firms and you do not want to burn a bridge and have it follow you.  So, how you rescind your offer is important!  If the situation arises, you should:

  1. Let the firm know as soon as you have made up your mind. Don’t wait until the last minute. 
  2. Give the firm the courtesy of knowing why you are rescinding the offer.  Now, you don’t need to get into the specifics of your “Why”, but you should give a reason.  They have just invested time and money preparing for your start.  The firm’s initial reaction will be to see if there is anything they can do to change your mind.  Further, the firm will wonder if it was something about them that caused the change of mind.  Is there anything they need to change moving forward, so this doesn’t happen again? They just need some closure. 

While we are on this topic, we also have candidates sometimes ask us why their new employer wants to know if they have handed in their resignation yet.  They tell us, that they have signed the offer letter, indicating they are coming on board, why does it matter when they resign. 

The firm wants to know you are fully committed to making the move.  Yes, you have signed the offer, but you still need to successfully resign. When you are leaving one job for another, a two-step process is involved.  The firm will want to know this for a) peace of mind, but b) they will also want to know that you are fully committed before investing the time and money in preparing for your start.   

So, if you do need to rescind your acceptance, make sure that at the very least you take these 2 steps. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about this or any other job or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you been there before?  Or maybe you are experiencing the situation now.  You have one person in the office who is a challenge to work with.  Maybe they are controlling, maybe they are a bully, or maybe they are always negative.  What do you do?  How do you handle it?

First, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What kind of interactions do you have with this person?  Is there a way that you can limit your interaction with them?  If you can’t, and you unfortunately must deal with them daily (for example if they work in your group), you need to address the issue.  If not addressed, the situation and the effect it has on you, may spiral out of control.  Therefore, the key is addressing the situation early. 

The next step is to objectively assess the situation.  Are you sure that the other person is really the problem and that you're not overreacting? Have you always experienced difficulty with the same type of person or actions?  Are there others in the office who feel like this about that person as well? 

Once you know that the other person is the problem, you need to speak with the individual directly.  When you confront them, do so in private.  Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with them and let them know of how their actions are affecting you. They may not be aware of the impact that their words or actions have on you. They may be learning about their impact on you for the first time.

During the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward.

If the issue persists, you will need to escalate the situation.

When you speak with your boss, take notes and address the issue itself – let your boss know how this other person and their behaviour is affecting your productivity and work. Tell your boss exactly what the difficult person does. You need to prepare to talk to your boss. Make a plan to address the issues.  A good boss and supervisor should be able to mediate the situation. 

If all else fails, don’t fret. There is always a chance you may be able to switch groups or departments, to find a more suitable working relationship with others.   

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helped!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or career topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Phone interviews can be tricky. You are selling yourself over the phone without the ability to gauge how the interview is going based off the interviewer’s body language or cues.

Phone interviews are a relatively common first stage of an interview process. But you may be thinking to yourself, what is the purpose of a phone interview? 

Typically, phone interviews are used to screen candidates to narrow the pool of candidates who will be invited for the in-person interviews.  These calls are done to either quickly assess the person’s experience and skillset.  Or, to see if what they are looking for, matches with what the firm can offer.  Or, to see if your personality matches with the personalities of the other members in the group or department.

When it comes to preparing for a phone interview, we suggest that you should prepare as you would for an in-person interview.  Know as much as you can about the role, the firm, who you will be speaking with.  Have your examples prepared, match your strengths to what the role requires and match your motivations for moving to what the company can offer. 

Before the call, confirm all the details, including the date, time, and who you will be talking to. Be sure you know whether the interviewer is calling you or if you need to make the call.

Have your resume out, so that you can follow along while on the call. Be ready 10 minutes early, so you don't sound rushed. Give yourself a quiet space, away from all distractions. 

When it comes to the call, make sure that you listen first - don't start speaking until the interviewer finishes the question. Do not interrupt them!   Ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond. It's fine to take a few seconds to compose your thoughts before you answer.

Keep a glass of water on hand just in case your mouth gets dry.  Be sure to smile as you speak so as to project a positive tone in your voice.  Standing while on the call can also help you have more confidence and enthusiasm. 

Finally, remember that your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. At the end of your conversation, thank the interviewer and ask if it would be possible to meet in person and learn more about the firm and role.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other job-related topics, be sure to call or email us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

We speak about counteroffers regularly! In this job market, they tend to happen frequently when people go to resign. This week, I am not here to talk about how to prepare for them or the reasons why you should not accept one. Rather, this week, I want to talk to you about what happens when you do accept one, and then embark on your job search within that same year.

And unfortunately, we see this way too frequently. People accept a counteroffer, and then within a short period of time, they are back on the job market, searching for a new role. However, there is one big difference this go around- the salary they are seeking is highly inflated!

Here’s why – the first time you begin your job search and are given an offer, you are typically offered a salary, which is higher than the salary you are currently on. Let’s say for example, you have 2 years of experience and are earning 45k, and you get a job offer for 50k.

Now, you go to resign, and your current firm matches that salary. You accept the counteroffer of $50,000.

In that moment, with your specific years of experience, 2 in this example, your salary is typically at the top range for someone of your years of experience.

Now, 6 months later, when you realize that you are still not satisfied in your job, you begin job searching AGAIN. You now have 2 and a half years of experience under your belt and your seeking a salary of 55k. Not only do you want something which addresses all your TRUE job motivators, but now you also want more money. This will put you well above the market rate for someone of your years of experience, ultimately pricing yourself out of the market.

What this also does is drastically limit which firms you can go to. Firms which could have offered you ALL the things which would have satisfied your career motivators, now can no longer afford to bring you on board. Your other option in some cases, is accepting the job at a new firm, although making a lateral move, with no change in your current salary.

Therefore, if you have accepted a counteroffer and are back job searching within the year, it is important to be aware of appropriate salary ranges for someone with your years of experience. Assuming you are serious about changing jobs this time around, you may need to be prepared to flex on your salary requirements.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

It is very common to go into an interview and have the first question you are asked to be, “Tell me about yourself.”  On the surface this appears to be an easy question to answer.  A nice icebreaker to begin the interview.  The reality is that often, this question leads you down a winding path, often resulting in you rambling for several minutes without you ever really being able to highlight any of your skills or suitability for the job. 

You need to know that often, interviewers ask this question in part, to determine if you're a good fit for the job and firm culture.

Often, in response to this question, candidates will divulge their entire life story.  Where they grew up, what clubs and extra-curriculars they partake in, sometimes even their views on controversial topics.  While having a social life outside of work is important and firms do like hearing full-bodied responses, the best way to answer this question is by giving a response which centers around your career – this does make sense, given that you are interviewing for a job. 

Your answer should address several points.  First, you want to speak about your present job situation – this will be a brief overview of where you are now in your career.  Then, you want to highlight a few points about your past – how you got to this point in your career.  Finally, you want to address your future goals for your career.  Ideally, you will want to tie these future goals into the opportunity that the firm you are interviewing with can offer. 

After you have addressed your professional path, you can intertwine some personal aspects about yourself – i.e. any volunteer work, athletic associations, hobbies, etc. 

Be sure not to overwhelm the interviewer and keep your response as clean and concise as possible.  Finally, avoid oversharing, especially when it comes to personal information.  

Ultimately, your answer to this question should be tied to the job and allow you to demonstrate your skills, qualities and overall expertise that will be valuable in the role.

Thanks for reading!  If you have an interview coming up and would like some additional tips, be sure to call or email us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

From time to time we speak with legal support professionals who are thinking of changing the area of law they work in.  They may be working in a solicitor practice and thinking of moving to a barrister practice - going from Commercial Litigation to Commercial Real Estate for example. 

While changing the area of law you work in can definitely assist in developing your career, especially if you move to an area that is in demand, today I wanted to highlight some of the benefits of specializing and developing your niche within one area of law.   

When you are thinking about changing areas of law, it is best to think about what your motivators are for doing so.  Knowing which areas of law are in demand and best to specialize in is also important to know. 

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to discuss further or weigh your career options, be sure to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Job searching while you are currently employed may seem to be challenging.  The reality is that in the eyes of prospective employers, it is best to job search while currently employed.  Having a job while looking for a job makes you that much more attractive to a potential employer.

However, what is the best way to job search, without tipping off your current employer?  Here are some of our stealthy job search tips:

  1. Don't discuss your job search with your coworkers.  You never know what information may get out or how quickly it will spread.  Therefore, it is best to keep your job search private. 

When you work with us, we will help to ensure that your job search remains confidential and stealthy. 

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to discuss further or have any questions, be sure to reach out.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

When it comes to asking for a raise, there are a few factors you need to consider.

Before I get into them though, there is one thing I need to address.  Some people will go out, get another job offer and then use that job offer as leverage to get more money from their current employer.  This is a terrible idea!

When you do force your employer’s hand like this and ultimately do accept the counter offer, all you have done is put a target on your back at work.  Your employer will also be questioning your loyalty and commitment to the firm. 

Don’t do that!  Instead take this approach when asking for a raise.

First – you need to do your research.  You need to know what the typical salary ranges are for someone of your experience and skill set.  You can research this online, connect with others in the industry, see if any industry associations have salary guides or speak to recruiters, like me.

After you have done your homework, then timing becomes important.  Don’t ask 3 weeks into your new job or a month before your performance review – as you can save the conversation for then. Definitely don’t ask during a very stressful time either (for example during a big trial or on the day of a big closing). 

Instead, you want to ask after a big accomplishment or after a length of time where you have taken on greater responsibility.

How you do it is also vital.  Don’t do it over email! Ask for a meeting with your supervisor or lawyer. 

In the meeting, be sure to communicate the successes you have accomplished, the added responsibility you have taken on and overall, why you feel you deserve a raise.  It is important to demonstrate what added value you have brought to the firm. Also, talking about your future career plans within the firm and highlighting how you see yourself growing there will also help you.  You can also explain what added responsibilities you would like to take on.       

Be sure to practice this speech in advance.  Be prepared for questions or to support your ask with further examples.  Finally, after doing all this, you still need to be prepared to hear “No”.   When this happens, you can ask for an interim performance review with clearly defined goals and salary. This puts you in line for a possible increase sooner and also lets your supervisor know that you are serious about your career.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any further questions on this topic or any others which are on your mind, feel free to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

When it comes to interviewing, having to meet with more than one person, can be extremely nerve-wracking. 

So many questions - Who do you look at?  What happens if they start firing multiple questions at you?  What if you forget their names?

Today, we will dive in and discuss some of the best ways to handle a panel interview. 

Before we begin, let’s look at why we are meeting with multiple people at one time?  There are a few reasons for this.  First, each person’s opinion of who you will be meeting with will be important in the decision to hire you or not.  Therefore, the impression you make to each person matters.  Second, if you get the job, you may be working with some, if not all of these people and it will be good to see how your personalities match up. Third, the firm may want to see how you handle stressful situations.   

The tips!

When it comes to panel interviews, preparation is key. First, you need to find out who will be present in the interview. You will need to do your best to find out what you can on each person and their professional background.  See if you can review their profile on the firm’s website or, take a look at their profiles on LinkedIn.  You want to become familiar with their role, responsibilities and type of work at the firm. 

Try to remember each of their names so that you can address them by name in the interview.  If they give you their business card, you should keep it on the table in front of you so that you can refer to it from time to time, should you forget their name.  You can place their card at the edge of your resume or folder. 

Regarding resumes, be sure to bring enough resumes for each of the interviewers as well as one for yourself.

When it comes to answering questions, you want to direct your answer initially to the person who asked the question. If your reply is longer than 20 seconds, you’ll need to engage the other interviewers as well. In a controlled, calm manner, you will want to shift your gaze and scan the other members.  When you do this, try not to jerk your eyes, face or body, as this will be distracting.

Another tip that will help you succeed during a panel interview is to control the pace of the conversation. It is important not to rush your answers. When asked a question, pause for a second to really consider what you want to say before responding. But make sure you answer briefly and concisely.  Don’t ramble. 

Also, prepare for follow up questions. It is best to prepare several examples to explain your background and experience, just in case you are asked a follow up question by one of the other interviewers. The more examples, the better, to help strengthen the claims you make about yourself. 

Hope this helped!  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or have an interview coming up and would like to discuss further, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck.

Are you using examples to highlight your strengths and achievements?  

Whether you are a junior LAA or a seasoned Paralegal, the best way to highlight your skills and accomplishments in an interview is by supporting what you say about yourself with an example. 

In interviews, most people just say things about themselves – “I’m a hard worker” or “I go above and beyond for our clients”.  While it may be true, these phrases are so over used, they have now become empty statements, fluff words.  In order to have what you claim about yourself really sink in to the person you are speaking with, you need to use examples.  The example makes your claim concrete and also provides evidence on how you will act in that situation. Also, your example will be unique to you! Therefore, while the claim “hard-worker” may be overused, your example is yours!

When framing examples, we go with the commonly used Star Technique.  Frame your example in the following way.  What is the situation you were in?  What tasks were you given?  What actions did you take?  Finally, what was the result? Always highlight the result and when using these examples, talk about what you did specifically – don’t be afraid to use the word “I”.  This is your time to really shine the spotlight on yourself.

Next time you are going in to an interview, prepare 3 or 4 examples that really show-off your skills and expertise.  Use them to anchor any claim you make about yourself. 

Thanks for reading! If you have questions about this or would like to bounce your examples off us, feel free to give us a call or send us an email.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!


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