The Secret Hack to Hiring for Your Law Firm

Hiring can be an extensive and expensive proposition. First you have to know that you are ready to hire, then you have to be able to effectively onboard the new hire, then you actually have to post the job listing, spend hours weeding through applications, a few more hours interviewing prospective candidates, going through as many rounds as needed, making a hire, training them, helping them to generate ROI for your firm, and potentially firing them if necessary.

For me, the big concern is “How can I make sure that I don’t have to fire someone?” Training someone, paying their salary throughout, just to have to fire them later, is a lost substantial investment.

How can you know that a new hire is going to work out?

In looking to expand the team at JurisPage, I did a lot of research on hiring best practices to see what the top recruiters do to ensure they’re working with the best talent.

But, I know that recruiters, whose jobs focus exclusively on hiring the right people, can have a very drawn out process that a small business or law firm simply can’t.

So, the hacker in me took over. I made an explicit goal: let technology help me weed out candidates who weren’t the right fit.

I came upon a really ingenious solution that I’ve been using with success in the past few months. I’ve shared this with a lot of close friends and lawyers we work with to get their feedback. After significant vetting, it’s now time to share it with the JurisPage community.

Hack Your Hiring Process

To do this, you will need a few things:

  1. A Gmail account
  2. A Google Drive account (or access to any survey software like Survey Monkey)
  3. A free account at IFTTT (aka If This Then That – an awesome automation app)

So, here’s what we’re going to do.

Create a label in Gmail for “Hiring New Associate”

Create a filter so that any emails with the subject line “Associate Position 1234” automatically skip the inbox and are labeled “Hiring New Associate”

To do this, you will need to go to your account settings, create a filter, and make sure the subject lines and labels are precisely what you want them to be. A mis-spelling can throw this whole thing off.

Create a “form” in Google Drive or your survey platform of choice

I recommend Google Forms because it’s easy to work with and you can get all responses in a nice spreadsheet view. You may prefer Survey Monkey or something else. Which platform you use is not critically important as long as you can easily view all submissions in a spreadsheet format.

In the form, have a few preliminary questions for your job candidates

I would recommend only 3-4 questions. Too much and quality candidates might just give up. They’re not filling out a college application.

Things you might want to include would be:

  • A question demonstrating relevant legal knowledge (e.g. “We’re a corporate firm – when would you advise a client to form an LLC over a C-corporation?”)
  • A question that demonstrates critical thinking ability (e.g. “Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem” or “How many golf balls do you think can fit into a school bus?” or “Tell me about a time where you had to analyze a situation and make a recommendation.”)
  • A question that demonstrates client communication abilities (e.g. “Explain vesting to me like I’m a 22-year-old founder of an app company”)
  • What is your email address?

Always, my last question helps demonstrate basic technology understanding:

“Please upload your resume to Dropbox or Google Drive and share a link to it in the space below”

This also helps me as the hiring manager because when I review all the form submissions as a spreadsheet, I can choose the applicants whose answers I liked and click a link to see their resume.

Set the form so that you can share the form with people via a link

Now that we have the form, we need to get the form to the candidates.

Create a “recipe” in IFTTT, connecting Gmail and Gmail

Here, you will create a recipe so that IF you get an email with the label “Hiring New Associate” then they will get an email in response. The email will thank them for the interest in their position, and, importantly, provide a link to your form so they can provide answers to your initial questions and share their resume.

The images below should help you navigate IFTTT to accomplish this if you’ve never created a “recipe” in IFTTT before.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is an attorney and co-founder of JurisPage, an online marketing agency for law firms, now part of Uptime Legal. Andrew has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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