All too often, staffing agencies can be misunderstood as “slinging bodies.” After all, by the time someone reaches out to a staffing agency, they have an urgent need for help. But we approach this process a little differently. As much as possible, placing someone in the role quickly remains important, but not at the expense of putting the right person in the role.

Mistakes in hiring only cause more problems and allow the work to pile up. Every law firm should care about the strategy and intention behind hiring the right person for the right role.

Read on to learn a little more about some things to keep in mind when you’re hiring someone for a new position. Increase your chances of success and keep employees for longer by doing the upfront work.

Ask About the Person’s Best Work Environments First

Being able to do the job is only one small piece of a much bigger puzzle. When we interview candidates, we seek to learn more about the environments in which they have found success or struggled in the past. Often, these are important windows into the kinds of bosses they work well with, how they best receive feedback, and when they feel happy with their work overall.

All of this information is asked not just to learn more about the candidate, but to make sure there’s a match on both sides. Someone who thrives in an environment in which they are always learning and being challenged with new things might do well in the first couple of weeks or months in a new role, but will ultimately feel stifled or bored with repetitive tasks. Digging into some of these details can really help a law firm determine when there’s a perfect fit with a hire.

Seek Culture and Values Fit

Sometimes it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the person who is available with the right skills is the automatic hire. But without meshing the company culture and value for this new hire, there’s a much higher chance of that person not working out over time. This means the company ends up in a hire-train-replace model that costs them money and time while also negatively impacting work morale for other employees.

If you haven’t already defined your firm’s culture and core values, it’s worth investing the effort. It ensures you have everyone on the same page with what’s most important and the factors you use to make decisions. It also helps you screen out people who aren’t the right fit.

For example, perhaps one of the core values for your firm is delivering an excellent experience for clients. To you, there’s an automatic connection between how a client is treated on the phone and your core values. But someone hired who prefers to focus on getting work done quickly might miss the mark when delivering that great experience to your clients because they don’t understand or identify with that core value.

Culture and values fit, when made as a priority in your hiring process, help you to build a team of people who are committed towards common goals and work well together. This boosts overall productivity and employee happiness, too!

Evaluate Willingness to Learn

No matter the role, it’s important to find someone who is willing and able to learn on the job. Many professionals in the legal field come with their own experience and familiarity with processes, but each law firm is also different. It takes a special staff member to leverage their past experience by matching it with what’s needed to drive the current law firm forward. Someone who is set in their ways and pushes back against preferred processes often can be difficult for everyone to work with.

Define Success in Advance

It’s true that you need someone to do tasks, whether it’s answering the phone or moving client files along. But starting with the wording of the job posting and all the way through performance evaluations, the expectations should match.

Being clear about what success looks like helps new hires see where their skills are an obvious fit. It also sets the bar from day one about how the person will be evaluated in their role and what it looks like to grow in the role.

All too often, staff and employer relationships break down because of communication issues. If an employee is told on day one “just get the work done, and make sure it’s correct,” it’s easy to see how that can get internalized as a core value and measure of their success, even if you didn’t intend it that way.

Defining success is important for another reason, too. As you onboard a new person, it’s your job to outline that training schedule and do what’s in your power to make them feel welcome. Even if you’re currently overwhelmed and need to fill the role quickly, it’s very important to create a comprehensive training plan to get them up to speed and to make them feel comfortable. Throwing someone into the weeds and then getting frustrated when they don’t perform as expected is a recipe for disaster. Take those learnings from the interview process, such as what you know about the new hire’s preference for getting directions (video vs. written, etc), and use that to train them effectively.

Every employer knows that it’s not a one-size-fits-all when bringing on a new hire. Being intentional and strategic with hiring can make for a better team overall and helps to reduce turnover in workers.

The next time you’re ready to add someone to your team, go beyond the skills and availability. Think about the role you play in finding the right fit. Be careful in how you can screen out candidates and support someone once they’re a part of the team, too.

Ready to talk through your hiring process? Contact us today for more information.