with John Jameson, the Jameson Group
When looking to grow your firm through lateral hires, you need to set up a process to recruit effectively. You need to have a thorough understanding of who’s going to do what and when. Here are some of the roles you need to assign:
- First, you need a partner in charge of the lateral hiring process. This person should be somebody with management responsibility and an outgoing personality. In many firms, the chairman takes on this role and can be very, very effective.
- You should also appoint a hiring committee who is going to coordinate with the partner in charge but also coordinate with the executive committee. This creates a consistency in the evaluation of candidates and application of the standards and business plan on which you’ve already decided.
- You now need a staff person who’s going to make sure that the hiring partner and the committee are doing what they’re supposed to do. Not that anyone would intentionally shirk his or her duties, but these are folks who are practicing, rainmaking, trying to keep their clients happy, and dealing with emergencies, and very often the lateral hiring process can decline in priority because it’s not necessarily critical at that moment. But when that happens, suddenly another firm may get the person you want. So having someone whose responsibility it is to make sure that everybody stays on top of things is important.
Tip: Assigning somebody to take charge of a particular candidate—he or she could be the head of an office or the head of a practice group—impresses candidates to no end. It shows the importance that they play to the firm. For larger firms in particular with multiple offices where you may have somebody interviewing different people in different offices, having that point person actually accompany the candidate to these interviews makes a huge impression. And it gives the candidate and the point person an opportunity to bond and identify issues in a comfortable setting—they may be on a plane for five hours together. Candidates always come back commenting on how impressed they were that somebody from the firm took the time to be with them.
- Also make sure that you have a due diligence questionnaire—what we call an LPQ, or Lateral Partner Questionnaire—that identifies all the main issues you want to address with the candidate. (Stay tuned to this space for more on LPQs in a subsequent post.)
- Finally, determine who at your firm are going to interview the lateral hire candidates.
For more tips, check out our marketing seminar “Growth Through Lateral Partners.”