How do you feel when you get a cold call from a recruiter? I am wrestling with that because I sense I will have to call lawyers I have never met and who have never heard of me.
I’m reluctant to make those cold calls, meaning I may never place a lawyer with a law firm.
Why am I reluctant?
It’s not because I’m afraid of being turned down. It’s because I’m afraid of being perceived in the same way I perceived the recruiters who called me again and again when I was at the top of my law practice, and everyone knew Jenkens & Gilchrist was in trouble.
They did not know me. Many didn’t understand my practice. None understood what motivated me, or what kind of law firm would be a good fit for me. I don’t want to be perceived like that. I want to know the lawyers I place and know the law firms they might be joining.
It’s the approach I have used throughout my career(s).
When I was building my book of business as a lawyer, I was focused on identifying problems, opportunities and changes my clients might face. Then, I wrote articles and made presentations on those issues with the goal of convincing clients to call me when a problem, opportunity or change created a legal issue.
I wrote a monthly column for Roads and Bridges magazine. I created guides for contractors on a variety of issues that impacted them and I made presentations regularly to national and state construction highway and transportation construction associations. I even created a video as shown below.
My strategy worked. I became well known and was sought after by some of the top contractors in the United States.
When I gave up my legal career to help lawyers, I pursued the same strategy. I started blogging in 2006. I wrote a column in The Practical Lawyer. I made presentations at ABA meetings, state and local bar meetings and for professional development directors, marketing directors and others.
Way back in 2006, I even made a presentation for the National Association of Legal Search Consultants, (NALSC), never dreaming that I would eventually become one.
At first, creating content with the hope that law firms would watch, read or listen and then call me worked very well. In 2010 I coached 128 lawyers throughout the United States and Canada. But, by the end of 2017, no firms had contacted me to coach their lawyers in 2018.
When I started recruiting, my friend sent me a link to a podcast created by a recruiting guru. I listened to the first one and the guru said, while blogging and social media may be fine, you have to pick up the phone and call strangers who aren’t specifically looking to make a change and let them know about a great opportunity.
I know people who are great at making those calls and know no strangers. So far, I’m not one of them. I could only coach lawyers that I got to know first. When I got to know them, I understood what motivated them and what was their definition of success.
I believe I can only be an effective recruiter if I get to know the candidate in the same way. Will it take a cold call for me to start that process? I’ll have to see. All I can say is so far, no one has reached out seeking my help.