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Living on Candidate Time

Date October 19, 2018 Comment Comments Off on Living on Candidate Time

Living on Candidate Time

clockIf you are in a job search, time can seem to stand still.  You send out resumes and hear nothing.  Or you get an initial response indicating that the employer would like to invite you in for an interview.  They say they will get back to you to schedule a time to meet; but weeks go by and you don’t hear anything.  And then there is the lag time after you actually have the first meeting.  You have a good first round of interviews, you connect with the interviewers, you send out thank you notes and you wait.

While it is a good idea to do periodic follow up during these lulls, it is also important not to be overly persistent.  You want the employer to know that you remain interested. But you don’t want to project an air of desperation.  If you don’t hear anything after an interview, wait at least a few days before following up again.

If you are working with a search firm, often your recruiter can be the squeaky wheel that helps keep the process moving forward.

The reality is that by the time an employer is looking to hire, they are already busy.   That is why they need to hire.  So their sense of urgency and your desire to have some closure may be in conflict (at least in the short term).

From the candidate’s perspective, you have had the interview and you are ready to move to the next step. Your job search is at the top or near the top of your priority list.  While employers are interviewing because they have a staffing need, the day to day demands of the business make it hard for the employer to move quickly.  In a law firm, for example, there may be several partners and associates involved in the search.  Each one of them may have client demands that make it hard to focus on the new hire.

Sometimes, the hiring process can be hampered by the schedules of other candidates.  You are in the mix, but in an attempt to be thorough, the firm wants to interview a number of candidates.  Each of these candidates may have their own scheduling conflicts.

I call this phenomenon “living on candidate time”.  Be aware that in all likelihood, if you are actively interviewing, your sense of time may be different than the employer’s sense of time.  The employer is likely to move more slowly than you would like.

If you remind yourself of this, then it may be easier to deal with the stress of not knowing.  You may still end up waiting a lot; but at least you’ll know that delay is not necessarily a reflection on your candidacy.  It’s just the reality when you are living on employer time.

Trying to Make a Difficult Change? Tell Everyone!

Date January 7, 2018 Comment Comments Off on Trying to Make a Difficult Change? Tell Everyone!

Trying to Make a Difficult Change?  Tell Everyone!

smallerThe New Year has just passed and if you are like most professionals, you probably made a few New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe you decided to make some personal changes in your life (lose weight, get in shape, visit your parents more often); or maybe you have some new professional goals (do a better job of meeting deadlines; give better feedback to junior associates, paralegals and support staff; start looking for an in-house job; or spend more time marketing your practice.)

Whatever new goals you have established, now the hard work comes:  sticking to your stated goals.

There are a lot of things you can do to increase the likelihood that you will stick to your agenda.  Setting aside planning time each day to make sure that you are actively working towards your goals is one good strategy. Putting notes in your calendar is also a good one (this past year, I increased my trips to the gym by one time a week simply by putting in a recurring appointment at 6:00 a.m. every Wednesday.)

One strategy that is particularly effective is to make “public commitments”.  If you want to make changes in your life, tell a lot of people.  The mere act of telling your goals to others is one way to hold yourself more accountable.

This past year, I decided that after thinking about it for 5 years, that I was finally going to launch a podcast.  So I started telling a lot of people.  As a result, I found myself getting a lot more focused on taking the steps I needed to make the podcast a reality.  Five months after I began putting together a guest list, I now have all the equipment and software I need along with theme music and over art!  I announced that the podcast will launch at the end of January and I am well on my way to finishing the first episode. CounseltoCounsel, the podcast, will be ready for “prime time” by the last week in January.

If for some reason I am unable to follow through, I’m not directly accountable to anyone. But by telling many people in my network about the project, I have created a much deeper commitment to achieving my goal.

So whatever your professional or personal goals may be for 2018, tell your colleagues, friends and family.  They won’t make you lose weight or spend more time marketing, but you will feel a greater obligation to follow through on your commitments.  And that can be just the right catalyst you need to achieve those goals.

Career Happiness Comes through Trial and Error

Date January 20, 2017 Comment Comments Off on Career Happiness Comes through Trial and Error

"The only thing to fear is fear itself"

“The only thing to fear is fear itself”

It is no secret that lawyers as a group are an unhappy lot.  I could give my own explanation for this but today, after we have just sworn in a President who is starting a new career, I thought I would share a few thoughts about career changes and career happiness (I’ll save my political comments for Facebook).

Once upon a time (i.e. back in the 1980’s when I was coming into the workforce), career professionals were quick to tell college students to follow their passions.  The idea was to identify a career that inspired you and that was consistent with your skills and vocational interests.  If you followed this path, career success was sure to follow.

Read more…

Getting Beyond Industry Barriers

Date November 18, 2016 Comment Comments Off on Getting Beyond Industry Barriers

Getting Beyond Industry Barriers

Industry barriersRight now, many parts of the country are enjoying relatively low unemployment rates.  In my home state Massachusetts, for example, the rate is 3.3 percent, the lowest in 15 years.

For anyone contemplating a career move, this should come as good news.  As workers get harder to find, employers need to be more creative in hiring talent.  We counsel our clients all the time to consider candidates who have transferable skills from another industry and this should be a good time for anyone hoping to make this kind of move.

The reality, however, is that industry barriers persist.  In much professional hiring (certainly in hiring legal talent where I spend most of my time), hiring managers have a strong preference for seeing resumes of candidates who have industry experience.  This is particularly true in the bio/pharma space, an important sector in my region.

For highly technical jobs, the barriers are not simply arbitrary.  Having a good understanding of how a particular business functions can be critical to doing an effective job.  But for many job functions, the particulars of the industry are relatively easy to pick up.

So why do so many employers insist on industry experience?  In my opinion, it has to do with managing risk.  No one wants to be responsible for making a bad hire.  If you hire someone and they prove ineffective in their role, the last thing you want to have to do is justify that you hired someone who had never worked in the industry.

Does this mean we are all forever stuck with whatever industry hires us in our first job?  Of course not.  Many people change industries (including lawyers and other professionals).  But what are some of the things you can do to increase your chances of making the move?

Probably the most important thing you can do in trying to make an industry change is to network effectively.  If you rely only on posted jobs and submit resumes and cover letters without any follow up, you are limiting your chances of breaking through the “noise”.  Instead, if you want to switch from financial services to the life sciences, for example, find people you know who work in life sciences.  Use  your network to get introductions.  Connect with people who already know the quality of your work and your reputation.  Leverage your contacts to get in front of hiring managers who are in a position to hire you.  If you get introductions from people who can vouch for you, the hiring manager will be more likely to overlook the fact that you have not worked in their space.

While it may not be feasible for everyone, filling a role as an independent contractor is another way to gain industry experience.  Employers tend to be much less strict about requiring industry experience when they hire on a contract basis.  Find a good contract role at a good company and suddenly you become someone with industry experience.

Relatively speaking, times are good now.  If you are thinking about shifting gears, take advantage of the economy.  But don’t just fire off resumes.  That may not be enough to get you in the door.

The Middle Office is Live

Date April 16, 2009 Comment Comments Off on The Middle Office is Live


CounseltoCounsel has spawned offspring: The Middle Office . The Middle Office is a blog that explores the relationship between law firms, in-house counsel and the services provided by LPOs (legal process outsourcing companies). The focus of the Middle Office is on IP in particular. I hope my readers will take a look and give me feedback.

I am authoring the blog on behalf of IPEngine. IPEngine is a professional services firm that helps lawyers to leverage their IP work by enabling them to tap into the large pool of technical talent in India.

For those keeping track, I am also doing business development for IPEngine and coaching individual lawyers on business development.


Dear Colleague:

In order to be more responsive to the changing needs of the legal profession, I have returned full time to my consulting business, Seckler Legal Consulting. My new contact info is below.

For the foreseeable future, I will be dividing my time between three activities. First, I will be spending a significant portion of my time doing business development for a startup company called IPEngine . I am also coaching lawyers on how to increase their marketing effectiveness. Finally, I will continue to do a limited amout of recruiting, working exclusively with partners who have portable business of greater than $400,000.

I am particularly excited about the work I will be doing with IPEngine, an IP services company that helps corporate law departments and law firms to achieve better practice leverage. IPEngine has a team in India that can provide a wide range of IP services. I encourage you to take a look at their website to learn more.

IPEngine is part of a relatively young industry that is commonly referred to as Legal Process Outsourcing (or LPO). The current economic climate and a very favorable ethics ruling last summer issued by the ABA means that the industry is poised to take off this year.

I will be writing a lot about this subject matter in the near future and will be launching a blog for IPEngine (I’ll send you a notice when it gets going.) In the meantime, here is a link to an article I published on the subject.

These are challenging times for the legal profession. In an environment where controlling legal expenses is a resounding theme, there will be winners and losers. I look forward to helping you to continue to be one of the winners.

Sincerely,

SES

P.S. If you are thinking of hiring a business coach, click here to learn more about my coaching services.

Stephen Seckler, President

Seckler Legal Consulting

web: www.seckler.com

blog: www.counseltocounsel.com

twitter: http://twitter.com/counsel2counsel

linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/1/72/845

ph: 617-244-3234 (o)

617-851-2319 (c)