Perfecting ‘Brand You’ for your recruitment process

Quantity does not always equate to quality and it’s still vitally important to reach the best people and ensure your company is the one they will want to join.


Before starting your recruitment drive, consider your own brand. Your website and social media presence need to be positive and proactive. All online profiles should be informative and clear, with logos well presented and company messages communicated throughout. Images on any sites should be reflective of the company ethos – and do consider visual sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to help build your online presence. If you have a blog, update it regularly. Jobseekers worth their salt are very proactive in their search so ensure they can find you – promote vacancies on your site, through jobstreams and on social media. Use Twitter and Linked In to engage with higher education establishments, thought leaders in your industry, key media titles and potential candidates: build your network. Good PR, online and off, leads to your brand being trusted by candidates, as well as customers.

The candidate

The importance of online networking is something being embraced by employers and employees alike – a recent survey by Jobvite found that 92% of employers use, or plan to use, social media as part of the recruitment process. Linked In is used by 93% of employers using social media. Twitter is used by 54%. These two forums are perceived by most as a fair representation of a person whilst Facebook (66%) tends to err on the side of personal. Like you, the candidate should have considered their brand, and the content of a social profile can be telling. Bad grammar and spelling is something to look out for and avoid, and worthwhile pursuits outside work noted (Jobvite’s survey revealed that two thirds of employers valued references to charity work, for example).

The interview – using technology

A relatively recent trend is the increase in video interviewing. In the US, more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview applicants, for reasons of cost saving, speed and objectivity. While an interview over Skype can’t replace a face to face meeting, you might want to consider video questionnaires for the first round of interviews, if you have a large number of candidates. If you do Skype, then be aware of how you come across. Don’t look at your own image on screen. Maintain eye contact. Ensure the office behind you is tidy! If you aren’t comfortable with this, perhaps an informal phone chat could be the first stage, but to be fair to the candidate, do give them advance warning.

The face to face interview

You need to be clear on your objectives from the interview – and follow the same interview format for every candidate, otherwise it’s not a fair paying field. We’ve seen an increasing trend towards competency-based interviews over the last few years and these will enable you to get a good assessment of the professionalism of a potential hire; relying on gut instinct and ‘seeing if the face fits’ is simply not enough. Competency-based interviews ask candidates to give examples of how they have overcome a problem by giving you specific examples. Maintain structure and consistency in the interviews and point and score as you meet each interviewee. If you are making multiple hires, you may want to consider an assessment centre, during which more than one candidate is involved at a time, through role-play and presentations. This depends entirely on the level of the role and your budget, but can give you an invaluable insight into how different people work as part of a team and under pressure.

Prior to the interview, ensure you have all information at your disposal about career progression, training and future opportunities. If you value an interviewee, you do need to sell the position to them. They need to be reassured about a clear career path and how you will help them follow it. Although first interviews are not the usual time for financial conversations, you may not have a next round, so be honest about what package and benefits you are offering. Our annual salary benchmarker found that flexi-time is the single most important benefit for UK candidates in the legal sector, so do consider whether this is something you can accommodate (you have to at least consider it, by law).

Be clear on what you need from a candidate and don’t settle for second best. If you haven’t met the right person in the interview process, then start again. Use a recruitment consultant to find candidates for you. They can have all the conversations about money and benefits, leaving you to assess each person on their merits without distraction. While you should be open to people who you think will fit most of the criteria (after all, your training programme can bring them up to speed!), don’t be coerced into hiring someone who doesn’t fit the bill.

As an SME grows, hiring the right staff is key. A good team will help your company thrive so take the time to find them and keep them. There will be competition in getting the best people, but proper planning will make the recruitment process efficient, cost effective and successful.

Kathryn Riley, Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment