You often hear people debating whether AI will take our jobs but what about something closer, something many of us in the recruitment field use every day and rely on for work, namely LinkedIn? On an exceptionally wet London morning, we sat down with Samantha Baker, the Director and co-founder of Baker Creed, to discuss the changing face of legal recruitment.
As a valued subscriber to Atlas, we wanted to find out more about how recruitment data providers like Atlas and LinkedIn are impacting the day-to-day job of the recruiter, and whether LinkedIn will replace the job of the recruiter.
As Samantha prepares the meeting room by turning on the heaters and grabbing a warm coffee, which I foolishly denied, we begin by discussing Baker Creed and Samantha’s move from a law firm to set up an in-house legal recruitment company with her business partner Nick Creed.
You specialise in placing in-house lawyers, what made you chose this niche?
Samantha: I originally began working as a lawyer in a law firm. When I decided to move into recruitment, in-house always appealed to me because I liked the idea of learning about different businesses. I was quite interested in business and when placing lawyers in-house you end up learning about lots of different sectors. Understanding a business, its needs and culture is crucial to identifying a lawyer that would be the right fit.
How difficult is it to get people to move from private practice to in-house?
Samantha: Generally, we have a good supply of candidates looking for roles in-house – it is a popular route for lawyers after they have spent a few years in a law firm. Having worked in a business recruiting for both law firms and corporates, I noticed that the private practice team was always especially fond of our in-house database! They certainly found it trickier to find lawyers looking to move between firms. Atlas has been great for us as it allows us to map the junior private practice market very quickly.
Why do you map the private practice market?
Samantha: When we are working on junior to mid-level briefs, whilst we might identify some lawyers moving in-house to in-house, the private practice market tends to yield more results. Essentially we are looking to identify those lawyers who are ready for their first move in-house. Whilst LinkedIn can be a useful source of junior candidates, it is not possible to search it very scientifically. Atlas allows us to properly map the market by practice area, level and even by firm. Within seconds we can tap into the exact pool we want to.
How do you feel large data providers like Atlas and LinkedIn have changed the day-to-day of recruitment?
Samantha: I think Atlas and LinkedIn work in tandem. Atlas has changed our starting point and allows us to be a lot more targeted. For example, if we are looking for 2-4 year qualified commercial lawyers, the pool will be very large, but what is good about Atlas is that we can look at that pool and then say, well, I am particularly interested in the candidates from these 5 firms and limit things to start with. Once we have a target list, we can then use Atlas’ links to the candidate’s law firm profile or their LinkedIn page to get extra information to help enhance our sourcing. Also, with a tool like Atlas, we are able to match people based on geographical proximity to the role – this has proved particularly helpful for roles that are in unusual areas.
Applying for jobs via LinkedIn has become especially easy lately with the addition of ‘Easy Apply’ buttons. Do you think LinkedIn is going to take away the job of the recruiter?
Samantha: I often get asked this question. I think it depends on the skills and experience of the recruiter. For someone with limited experience, maybe LinkedIn can replace your job. However, if you have worked in the industry and operated in the market for many years, there is so much extra value that you can add to a recruitment process. For candidates, for example, you can help them plan their careers and give them tips about how to achieve their career goals, for example what experience they will need to gain along the way and what moves might serve them well. If you can offer a truly consultative approach for candidates and clients, there will definitely be space for you in the market.
You mentioned geographical proximity, do you feel that Atlas has improved your ability to tackle regional mandates?
Samantha: Yes. Where Atlas is really working for us is when the location of the role means that talent pool is quite limited. The lawyers that live in less obvious places are also not getting so many recruitment approaches and so you find that they are actually delighted to hear from you, especially if you have something that is on their doorstep. By using Atlas, we are able to tap straight into the right market which saves us a huge amount of time. As a business, we do not need to branch out into different regions but if there is demand from a client for a specific brief that requires regional mapping, we are now able to do it with Atlas.