Law Firm Hiring in a Tight Market

What do you do when it’s a tight market, but you need people now? Here’s what it comes down to: you have to be more aggressive about going after talent.  How do you do that? Get Off Your Ass and get into action.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • G.O.Y.A. and what it stands for in the context of this podcast.
  • Breaking the habit of waiting for good people to respond to your boring ads.
  • The importance of creating a careers page on your website.
  • How to get the right people looking at your careers page by using ads.
  • The secret to writing more powerful ads.
  • Making use of database information on key resume sites.


Allison Williams: [00:00:27] Hi, everybody. It’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. And welcome to another episode of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast, where today we’re going to talk about law firm hiring in a tight market. So for those of you that recently attended our webinar on this very same topic, I want to give you just a little bit of head’s up. We are going to have a little bit of refresh and review. But for those of you that haven’t listened to that webinar, you can obtain a copy of it by just sending an email to info at Law Firm Mentor dot net and we’re happy to send you the replay. So today I’m going to talk about three of the strategies that we covered during this webinar. And in particular, it really deals with the large premise that we ended the webinar with, which is GOYA. Now for those of you that have never heard of Goya before, I am sure that this will not be what you’re expecting. Some of you probably heard the term Goya before. In the context of food, you probably have heard of Goya, beans or other food items with the name Goya, the brand name Goya on it. That’s not what we’re talking about. It’s not about the beans. G.O.Y.A. stands for Get Off Your Ass. And that’s really the whole premise of this webinar and some of the strategies that we talked about in that webinar. Really, I want you guys to recognize that when we are in a tight market, you’re going to use some of the same strategies, but you have to be more aggressive about going after talent.


Allison Williams: [00:01:55] Now that does not mean poaching, even though poaching is certainly a way to get talent. That is not necessarily the primary means of what we’re talking about, when we talk about having to go out and get the talent yourself. Getting off your ass really means getting into action, right? The passive approach to hiring is you write up an ad. You say, I have America’s next top law firm. We employ X number of people. We practice in this area. We need a lawyer with X number of years of experience, this amount of skill set, who has this type of attitude, this type of writing skills. Please supply references. The salary ranges A to B and we’ll keep your application in strict confidence. Words to that effect. Right. The gist of the normal law firm ad and you put that on to various different platforms and you wait for people to apply and then you complain that not enough good people applied. And then you screen the couple of people who applied and you knock them out of the park. And then you sit and wait for the next crop of people. And it’s maybe two people and one of them screens okay. So you invite them in for an interview and you’re underwhelmed, but you’re desperate. So you say, well, okay. I’ll take them because it’s a really bad market.


Allison Williams: [00:03:11] That has been the experience for a lot of law firm owners. And I want to break that habit for you. I want you to know that there is talent in the marketplace. They’re just not sitting by idly waiting for your dream boring ad to show up on a on a platform. You have to be more zealous. You have to be a hunter the same way that you hunt for business when you are out marketing and networking and strategizing. I want you to think about hunting for talent in the same way. So how are we going to achieve the goal of hunting for talent? Well, there’s three things that you can do. We covered a lot more strategies than this in the webinar, so I highly recommend that if you want the webinar, just shoot an email out to us at info at Law Firm Mentor dot net and we’ll send it to you in full. But for now, I just want to go over three of the strategies that we covered. The first one is to create a careers page on your website. Now, by the way, this is good practice, whether it’s a tight market or a wonderfully ample market in terms of hiring. You want to have a page on your website that’s dedicated to the types of positions that you’re going to be looking to fill, because you want to live through the mantra of always be hiring.


Allison Williams: [00:04:23] The way that you create that, the way that you create constant opportunity is that you’re in a constant state of seeking. You’re not just seeking when you’re desperate, but you’re always looking for top talent to find you. Now, in the tight market, when you are actually on the hunt for a particular person, you are down an attorney. You need to fill that role or you need a paralegal and you need that person yesterday. In that moment, in that experience, writing up an ad and putting it out there, certainly a way to get people aware of your company, but the best way is to actually send them to your website. And one of the things that you should do in your careers page is not just describe the job, right? You don’t want to just take the ad that you would post on Indeed or on Craigslist and put it on to your website. You want to go really, really deep into your ideal employee avatar, right? Who is that person that is perfect for the role, perfect for your culture? And how does that person fit with the rest of the team, i.e. you want to introduce that person to the rest of the team and the easiest way to do that is on the website so you can do things on your careers page, like embed links to other pages of the website so that you can draw someone’s eye to things that really matter.


Allison Williams: [00:05:38] Or if you have a corporate video, you can actually create a video where you go into a lot of detail about who you are as a company, who you serve, why you went into this practice area, all of the things that would attract the ideal employee to say, Ah, I align with these values. This is the kind of person I’d like to work for or work with. And this is a community where I think, I bet when you do that, you give people a much greater sense of whether or not you are right for them and they are right for you. Now I can already hear the lawyer’s brain going, Do I really want to give them the opportunity to sell me on how great they are? Right. Do I want to show my hand that early on? Because if someone reads all this information, they’ll be better able to sell themselves, you know, falsely, fraudulently to me. They’ll be able to put on a fake front that they are the right person. But here’s the thing. People can do that anyway. And if you are in any way active in the process of learning a person, the way that we teach you how to, here at Law Firm Mentor in terms of your interviewing skills, then you’re probably going to encounter that type of fakery pretty, pretty easily, and you’re going to detect it pretty easily. Now, having said that, the other thing to consider is that a person who is truly selling themselves for what you are offering has a couple of benefits, right? If they oversell the case, if they think things that perhaps they perceive from what your website says, that may not necessarily be what you’re looking for.


Allison Williams: [00:07:13] Then they will exclude themselves simply by virtue of overselling the case. The other thing to consider is that when you give a lot of information for a person to consume, even though, yes, people do study websites, they do study the people with whom they’re meeting. Most people are not going to be able to absorb all of the information, all of the nuance, all of the particulars of your role, to be able to regurgitate it back to you in a way that fakes out your your skill set and kind of detecting if they are the right person. So I wouldn’t give too much worry about that. You really do want people to be drawn to your website. You don’t want someone who is just here for the paycheck. And the greatest way of doing that is by introducing them to your firm through your careers page. Now, the second thing that we talked about, one of the second powerful strategies that we covered in that webinar on hiring in a tight law firm market is this idea of making sure that you are running ads to your careers page. Now, you might say that could get really expensive, but here’s the thing the pay per click rate for the keywords that you’re typically going to find in a job search are not typically going to be as competitive as the words that you are going to have when someone is searching for divorce lawyer or personal injury attorney or criminal defense attorney.


Allison Williams: [00:08:37] So you’re not going to have the same type of competition. So your rates are not usually going to be as high. And second, you, of course, can cap what your budget is for your region so you can limit your exposure the same way that you can limit your exposure on boosting ads on platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed or Zip Recruiter. Now, the reason why we recommend that you run ads to your careers page is because you want to actually find the people who are actively seeking and the people who might happen upon your ad when they are searching for related content. Not every person who is available for a job, meaning someone that you could approach and induce to apply for your job, is going to be on the hunt right now. There are a whole lot of people that are mildly satisfied with the job that they are, that they currently have. But if your job came along and they see it as the job of a lifetime, they would be that much more inclined to apply if there was something that kind of that drew their eye in. Right. So the advertising can be on a social media platform. It can be on Google.


Allison Williams: [00:09:43] There’s lots of different places you can place the ad, but you want to be able to capture their attention at the moment that they’re seeking. And the way that you do that is by writing a really powerful ad that starts with questions. Now, the questions, the methodology of writing an ad is really asking what is going to attract your ideal person to your job? That oftentimes is that if you are hiring someone with experience, that there is something that they don’t have where they are that you’re going to offer them in your job. And that could be more income. But that usually is not what we’re talking about. We’re usually talking about things like more independence, more status, more. Job advancement, the ability to move up the ranks, more freedom, more intellectual stimulation, different practice areas, different mentoring, more opportunity to get out in front of the bar. Maybe speaking engagements or publication is something they’re interested in. Whatever you can offer that would be something they don’t currently have. That would be the inducement that you want to draw their eye to. And the way you do that is by simply asking, Are you somebody who’s looking for this attribute or are you looking to advance in your career? Are you looking to publish an article? Are you looking to get on a stage? Are you looking to double your income over the next five years? Write whatever it is that you want to help that person to achieve.


Allison Williams: [00:11:11] Throwing it right on out there and asking them directly is going to spur their mind to look for an answer. And if the answer is yes, they’re going to be that much more inclined toward your ad and applying for your job. All right. Third strategy that we talked about now, of course, many, many, many strategies were covered during this webinar. But this is one of the ones that I know a lot of people were giving us positive feedback about during the webinar, and it was that you have to be proactive in your use of the platforms. So I mentioned three platforms earlier. There’s LinkedIn, there’s Indeed there’s ZipRecruiter. Of course there are others, but these are the three where most lawyers that we have as clients here at Law Firm Mentor and that follow us on our Facebook page, The Law Firm Mentor Movement, have said they are finding success. So I’m talking about these three. But again, this is not limited to these three. A lot of platforms now are using some artificial intelligence to help with actually connecting employers and employees. And it’s not in the way that you think. It’s not just taking an ad, sticking it on the platform and waiting for people to apply. There are databases now where you can actually go seek people who have resumes that have the keywords that are in your ad. So for instance, ZipRecruiter is one that has a resume database. Me personally, I use the resume data database to hire my non attorney salesperson, Judith. 


Allison Williams: [00:12:40] We were looking for a sales person. We had written up the ad that we thought would get the right person in, but as soon as we decided that we were going to start to post some ads and actually run ads to our platforms where we had posted the job, we spoke with a representative on the various different platforms and at ZipRecruiter we spoke with someone who said to us, Before you run ads, have you considered looking at our resume database? So we said, Well, what’s that? They told us, apparently any time that someone applies and they put their resume onto a database, if they don’t remove the resume from that particular website, once they secure a job, it remains there. It remains there with the person just being moved from the status of seeking a job to being someone who has in the past sought a job. But her resume was there and it had the exact level of knowledge and skill that we required for someone looking for this job. So instead of the usual way of employee or potential employee reaching out to employer, we had it in the converse here. We reached out to her and said, hi, you’re at your your resume was posted on ZipRecruiter some time ago and we just happened upon it. And it looks like you have the criteria for what we’re looking for. Might you be interested in a job like this? And then we sent her our ad and she was intrigued and said, Hey, I might be interested, let’s set up a time to talk and the rest is history.


Allison Williams: [00:14:08] She’s been with us now for many years. So the thing of it is, is that when you use a database, the great thing about it is that sometimes you’re getting people that are actively on the hunt, but oftentimes you’re getting people who have already secured jobs. So I want you to think about this now. You might be saying it’s harder for me to convince someone to leave a job than it is for me to wait passively for someone to apply for a job. But if you’ve ever heard me talk about marketing, you know that I always say no one wants the captain of the Parcheesi club. Everyone wants the captain of the football team. Now, what does that mean? Well. In real time what that means is nobody wants what nobody wants. Everybody wants what everybody wants, right? So if there’s an employee who’s killing it, they’re knocking it out of the park. They’re. They come to work on time. They have a great attitude. They do their job very well. They get along with everyone in the culture and they’re a pleasure to have around. Everyone would love to have that employee, including the person who currently employs that person. But if you dangle something in front of them that says, Hey, I know you’re happy where you are, but here are some other things that you might not have considered that are available here.


Allison Williams: [00:15:19] Might you consider coming over? That person isn’t looking for a job, but the opportunity found them. And there are many, many people who seize upon opportunity when it presents itself. So this is a perfect opportunity for you to be reaching out to people who have the criteria that you need on paper. And they might ultimately be the perfect hire. They just didn’t know that the opportunity is great as yours was available until you reached out to them. Now, another example of the way that you can use these platforms where you can post jobs very proactively is on Indeed. Indeed has a criteria now where as soon as you post an ad and you identify the criteria of what you need, how many years of experience, how many languages that the person needs to speak, is it going to be remote or is it going to be in person? All of these different criteria tell you about the candidate who has experience in whatever area that your position requires, right? Could be a marketing assistant. They need to have marketing experience, could be an attorney. They need to have trial experience, could be a secretary. They need to have phone and reception experience. Whatever that experience is that you put down as your absolute. If your job description meets the criteria of what other current active job seekers have identified that they’re looking for, the artificial intelligence built into the indeed platform will scrub your ad and scrub the criteria of those potential candidates and then basically tell you this is somebody who you might want to invite to apply.


Allison Williams: [00:16:58] So in other words, instead of you having to go to the resume database and say, I am looking for this type of person, the algorithm on indeed will actually do that for you. And say it appears you’re looking for this type of person. Here are some candidates and then all you have to do is click the button to invite that person to apply. Now, a little caveat here. The invitation to have someone apply comes in a pre formatted email. You might want to tailor that language a little bit just so that it’s suitable to you and what you’re looking for. Now, as I said before, these are just three of the sampling of the significant number of strategies that we talked about in our recent webinar. Hiring in a Tight Market. Next month, we are actually going to do another in our series of law firm webinars. And the next one is going to be on interviewing. So I want to have you tune in for that. You can get information on that. The link to register for that webinar is going to be in the show notes for today’s episode. And you’ve been listening to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. I’ll see you on our next show.



Allison Bio:
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is the Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law.

Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest-growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm by 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest-growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.


In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining, and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications, and money management in law firms.


Contact Info:


To request a link to the Law Firm Hiring in a Tight Market Webinar, email


My favorite excerpt from the episode:

TIME: 00:04:58 (40 Seconds) 

And one of the things that you should do in your careers page is not just describe the job, right? You don’t want to just take the ad that you would post on Indeed or on Craigslist and put it on to your website. You want to go really, really deep into your ideal employee avatar, right? Who is that person that is perfect for the role, perfect for your culture? And how does that person fit with the rest of the team, i.e. you want to introduce that person to the rest of the team and the easiest way to do that is on the website so you can do things on your careers page, like embed links to other pages of the website so that you can draw someone’s eye to things that really matter.