Talent acquisition is a priority for any firm, but recruiting and retaining top tier candidates is one of the greatest challenges facing the legal industry.

Competition from the big four accounting firms and growing demands for a better work/life balance from junior lawyers are just two of the factors forcing law firms to go further to define why they are unique and what they can offer in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Here are five things to add to your recruitment process to improve your chances of securing the best candidates.

Develop a careers platform

For young lawyers, the reputation of a practice is paramount to their interest, so your jobs board should be full of activity and engaging content for a young lawyer. Your blog should include articles from current employees expressing what they like about their role and what they find challenging. This platform should communicate explicitly why your firm is different and what opportunities your firm offers.

List the success factors in your job descriptions

Instead of just listing the educational and experience requirements, include success factors of the role and what other progression options there are besides the obvious ‘partnership’ opportunities. Describe what it would look like to be successful in the role after six months or a year. Define what the ideal candidate would have to do to be considered a ‘leading player’.

Make it clear that your firm values its staff

According to Legal Week’s Best Employers Report 2016, 94% of lawyers say that it’s important for them to feel valued by their firm. Personal satisfaction is critical to a new candidates performance, motivation and loyalty. Fee-earners view feeling valued, prospects for career development and teamwork as the most important aspects of their professional lives.

Survey all applicants

Law firms need to be aware of what fee-earners view as most important and what they are least satisfied with so they can have a more tailored recruitment process.  Ask your newly hired employees what they liked and disliked about their recruiting experience and consider gathering feedback from applicants who were not selected.

Mentorship is key

Mentoring and coaching helps to assist the career development of a new lawyer, so help your new recruits set out their career paths by assigning a mentor or a series of introductory sessions. Firms that are successful at doing this continue to attract top-tier talent. They are able to build leaders from the offset so that by the time they become partner, they already have a strong ability to lead.