Are you pushing their buttons?
Law graduates of today are at home on the
internet. They have been using the web for more than a decade,
downloading the music, buying on Ebay, socialising via online
communities like YouTube, My Space and Facebook and more recently Twitter; the internet is their first choice for research and
communication. Are you interacting with them or just talking to them?
recruitment has undergone major changes over recent years, as online
technologies have seen increasing numbers of employers direct their
recruitment initiatives primarily online. Traditional print based
recruitment leaflets, brochures and advertising obviously still has its
place and the big law firms will still continue to make presentations
on university campuses and at job fairs. However most firms are now
using their web sites to, at least, handle initial job application
Today's graduates are at home on
the internet. They have been using the web for a decade or more,
downloading music, buying clothes online and then selling them
again on Ebay, socialising via online communities like YouTube, and My
Space and chatting through Messenger and Twitter; the internet is without a
doubt the medium they turn to first.
is not surprising then that applying for a job online is like falling
out of bed. According to a recent survey in the FT last summer, 235
leading UK employers for the Association of Graduate Recruiters found
that 70 per cent of companies accepted only online applications. Just 2
per cent accepted only paper applications.
The advantages of shifting as much as possible of the graduate
recruitment process online are easy to identify. For a mid size or
large UK law firm, for example, which receives hundreds of graduate
applications each year the time saved could be the difference between
winning and losing a top candidate, and competition between city law
firms is intense.
advantage of the the internet is the access to a potentially much wider
graduate pool from both home and abroad. Most students will have access
to the internet and in most cases use the internet to do their initial
employer background research. They will therefore form their initial
judgments based on the strength of a particular firm's website, it's
look and feel and it's content and online submission processes.
Speed and efficiency
According to a recent FT article, for accountancy group KPMG, the
online application process is compulsory for its own graduate
recruitment, and they say the impact on efficiency has been huge.
Previously a large amount of time would be taken sending rejection
letters, they say, but the new system helps filter candidates more thoroughly
and ensures the company's ability to get back to both successful and
unsuccessful candidates as quickly as possible. The speed factor is
helpful to candidates, too, as they spend less time in limbo waiting
for an answer. Long before an application form is completed, however,
the internet can help students decide whether a company is really for
them or not. These “self deselection” tools are now quite common on
many law firm websites and are becoming ever more sophisticated and
In terms of the application process itself, the balance between online
and traditional elements may not change too much in the future, apart
from the possibility of more interviewing via web-based
videoconferencing. There is likely, however, to be a lot more use of the internet by
employers for making much earlier contact with
potential employees, long before an application form is considered.
Social community sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook open up a
new forum for employers to make contact with potential new recruits.
These social search networks owe their growth to the power of viral
marketing and have huge potential to firms trying to tap into and
communicate with students and graduates. Success in targeting these
communities as with traditional online forums is most importantly based
on how you do it.
bottom line is that most UK law firms still treat online recruitment
with a distinct lack of imagination and insight. Some have attempted to
address the issue with no more than a couple of favourable quotes from
last years trainees plus an online form. While others, including
several magic circle firms, have concentrated on standalone microsites
with a dry static mix of FAQ style content.
interactive, structured graduate content or microsites that are
cleverly presented to engage today's students and graduates on their
own level and in their own environment are sadly in short supply.
Go on expose yourself - talk to us on 01462 790470