• Alice Darwin

A Candidate Short Market

The current climate in the world of recruitment is one that is unique, competitive and rarely seen. The external market can be labelled as a ‘candidate short’ market, meaning that despite many roles being available, there is a lack of skilled people to fill them. This presents candidates with a world of opportunities, while leaving clients at a real loss for quality talent.


A pre-COVID world saw almost the complete opposite. Firms were spoilt for choice in their search to fill positions and had an ideal set of criteria they strived to match. However, the post-COVID lockdown era sees firms creating new roles, and rehiring for those made redundant, where candidates have heightened reserves about re-entering the job market given the instability and ever-changing culture.


What this now means though, is that firms need to adjust their criteria to find the ‘perfect fit’ in order to fill a role. Now, this is not to say clients need to necessarily lower their expectations and hire someone who is not qualified for the job, but rather expand their horizons to the experience and qualities candidates do have and see how these might transfer to the role.


We have been privy to this here at Boutique Legal Recruitment, helping some of our candidates with non-legal experience, time out of the industry and different legal backgrounds to secure amazing roles. The firms we work with allowed us to do this by being flexible and open. To give you an idea, we recently placed someone who worked in a corporate environment at a professional organisation overseas with no legal experience, into a role in a large law firm supporting two Partners, all because the firm was open to the knowledge held and recognised the adaptability to transfer aspects such as their corporate experience and finance skills into complex billings.


Another placement we have made recently was for a candidate who had over 20 years’ legal experience, however most recently had over 10 years’ out of the industry, where they took maternity leave and worked in the family business. Our client agreed to see them and could acknowledge that despite being unable to hit the ground running, they could sit in the chair and pick it all back up, allowing them to successfully fill the role.


As such, in this current climate, firms will really struggle if they are too set in their ways and closed minded to looking a little outside the box. To be successful, they need to adapt alongside the market in which they are operating in and assess the calibre of candidates despite not having exact experience.


If a candidate has a strong willingness to learn, determination and the right attitude, the door swings wide open and presents an opportunity for a firm to invest and train them up to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

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