There's nothing that will make a better impact when it comes to firm growth than recruiting and developing talent. Subject Matter Coach Sarah L. Evenson, JD, MBA, explained that successful firms approach recruiting from the candidates' experience. 

What We Learned from Our Coach:

1. Customer Service Mindset

Look at every interaction a candidate has with your firm as an opportunity to ask yourself what type of support you provide to your candidates. For example, do you have timely standards? Is your process efficient? Clear? 

2. Network Before You Need Someone

Successful firms are constantly building a network of future teammates. Therefore, they take absolute full advantage of happy hours, LinkedIn requests, etc., to have conversations to build their network of people. Additionally, this provides the opportunity to have a more authentic conversation with that person and tap into their skill set.

3. Word of Mouth

They utilize their existing employees to attract talent through social media postings and word of mouth. As a result, firms have seen exponentially better results through having their employees participate in the recruiting process.

4. Transparency

They treat the recruiting process as a two-way, open conversation. Be honest with the status of the candidate's application and the compensation in which they are willing to pay. Take the mystery out of the process.

5. Demonstrate Your Culture 

Don't just tell candidates you are a great place to work; show them you are a great workplace. Demonstrate your culture to candidates in the daily and micro-interactions they have with your firm. Talk is cheap; actions are priceless. 

6. Training

Successful firms are ensuring their interviewers are prepared, trained, and have enthusiasm for their firm. Start introducing interview training with the people you're putting in front of your candidates. What questions should they be asking? More importantly, what questions should they not be asking. Always keep in mind the 80/20 rule; candidates should be talking 80% of the time.

7. Welcome

They retain and develop their talent. Therefore, continue your energy and focus on your candidates after your onboarding and training. 

8. Have a Plan 

Have an integration plan throughout the first year and partner with the employee in creating that plan. It helps you understand their needs, where they need to grow, and how they need you to show up and direct them. 

9. Listen

Ask key consistent questions to measure your success. Informal conversations allow firms to individualize the talent development needed by each member of their firm.

10. Make it Possible

Successful firms set a mindset of constant self-improvement through a mixture of soft and hard skills. 

11. Finding & Keeping Your Unicorn

Discuss performance more than just your annual review time with the goal in the end to keep your unicorn.  

What our attendees shared:

You need to immerse yourself in the candidates' experience and understand that each career path is unique with different goals in mind. Building a professional development plan with mentors is essential to retention.

One thing our firm can begin with today:

Developing solid relationships takes time and commitment. As administrators, we can start taking an active role in helping our candidates develop and tap into their future potential. 


Sarah Evenson

Director of Law School Programs and Office Administrator, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

As director of law school programs, Sarah leads the overall coordination and day-to day management of the firm’s summer associate and law clerk programs. Most critically, she works at a strategic and operational level with each office’s hiring partner and the Firm Diversity Partner to determine hiring needs and ensure a strong diverse pipeline of future talent to the firm. Sarah also implements tactics for sourcing, attracting and hiring highly talented law students, and develops and implements unique training programs and professional development opportunities for the firm’s summers.

As Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office administrator, Sarah provides daily administration for the office including, human resource functions, facilities, financial management, and marketing functions.

Before finding her calling toward helping law students, attorneys and business professionals step into and move their careers forward, Sarah practiced law with a local Minneapolis-St. Paul law firm for nearly a decade.