Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter? Forum

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What's the better lateral route?

Recruiter
2
6%
Referral
32
94%
 
Total votes: 34

Anonymous User
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Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:18 am

Seems the vast majority of people who lateral use recruiters. Why not circumvent them and just get your classmates/friends at other firms to refer you to their recruiting manager? Seems firms would be more receptive because you wouldn't be attached to a recruiter's fee (which I think is higher than the internal referral fee paid to your friend).

I get that a pro is the recruiter, if they have a good relationship with various firms, will help identify which firms have hiring needs and/or will know about unposted positions. I'm just hesitant because I feel like some of the recruiters I have spoken to pretty much just reach out to their contacts to gather interest and then will submit your resume if there is mutual interest. How is this different then gathering interest yourself? The only reason I am hesitant is because if I go with the recruiter, there are just a handful of firms in the market I am targeting, and if they submit my resume, I'll essentially be locked up under the fee arrangement for this entire market.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:08 am

Bump. Anyone have any insight into referrals vs recruiters? Maybe I'm screwing up by not using recruiters who can be more pushy and follow up on my behalf compared to friends? Also, they can probably help with the interview prep and negotiation process too right? Now with poll.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:58 pm

I'd start with getting coffee/lunch with alums (or even attorneys with a similar background) and let them pass along your resume. I have got several screeners and callbacks doing this.

If that's too time-consuming, especially when you are switching markets and have no time to research the open positions, you can speak with recruiters and only use them for the firms you have no connection with.
Make sure you use a really experienced recruiter (so not someone who's recently out of law school/transitioned from a law firm to a search firm), who has a relatively focused search (either by region, industry or practice group) with some track records. I have also got interviews this way.

For what it's worth, one firm specifically asked me if I used recruiters (when I networked my way into an interview) and mentioned they don't mind paying the fees.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'd start with getting coffee/lunch with alums (or even attorneys with a similar background) and let them pass along your resume. I have got several screeners and callbacks doing this.

If that's too time-consuming, especially when you are switching markets and have no time to research the open positions, you can speak with recruiters and only use them for the firms you have no connection with.
Make sure you use a really experienced recruiter (so not someone who's recently out of law school/transitioned from a law firm to a search firm), who has a relatively focused search (either by region, industry or practice group) with some track records. I have also got interviews this way.

For what it's worth, one firm specifically asked me if I used recruiters (when I networked my way into an interview) and mentioned they don't mind paying the fees.
Thank you, this was the anecdotal data I was really looking for. For what it's worth, and I'm not sure if this changes the calculus, I'm looking to move to an international market. I've been having classmates refer me who work in the US market (usually they'll email their recruiting person who will then connect the appropriate office if hiring needs dictate) but wondering if it would be more beneficial for me to look for alumni in this international market directly and just cold email them. Unfortunately the coffee/lunch rec wouldn't work for this situation obviously.

SFSpartan

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by SFSpartan » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:00 pm

I recently lateraled and felt like my recruiter's real value-add was his ability to describe my resume to recruiting people in a manner that got me a lot of screener interviews. To the extent your alumni contacts know you well enough to advise on how you should package yourself for the firm(s) you want, I'd use them, as you're a much more attractive candidate when you don't have a giant fee attached to you.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:15 pm

Unless you have a unique situation, use a referral. I’m using a recruiter right now because I’m trying to move a few months into a lateral move. Hard to explain on a cover letter why you’re trying to leave.

I applied to a few places by myself and got rejected. The recruiter has been able to get me 4 callbacks so far.

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:06 pm

Want to bump this post. I reached out to a recruiter who helped edit my resume and gave me a job list. One of the jobs is with a good friend’s firm. That friend’s willing to refer me and put in a good word.

Is it sketchy to have the recruiter refer me to other firms, but also use the recruiter’s lead to have my friend refer me to their firm? I’m trying to figure out proper etiquette here.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:45 pm

If you don't know anyone at the firm, is it weird to simply find someone on the firm roster who shares some of your background and cold-email them asking to chat? Seems like it would be obvious to them that they might collect a referral bonus for little work.

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2022 5:09 am

surprising amount of love for recruiters in here. my experience was that they actually tanked my app but were still within the window to collect their fee while doing absolutely nothing when i reapplied on my own a couple months later. referral is almost always better - you can split the fee and the recommendation of someone within the firm means infinitely more than a recruiter who literally has no pull with anyone at the firm (they don't know you so their word doesn't mean much when they vouch for you and in most situations, they don't know anyone of importance who can prioritize your app anyway). using a recruiter makes sense when you have no time or desire to send out apps on your own but you run the risk of your recruiter sending generic typo-ridden cover letters to multiple firms (mine did). depending who you use, "interview prep" from a recruiter can literally just be a collection of online resources and attorney bios..

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Jchance

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Jchance » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:18 am

The comments seem to be written by recruiters themselves.

Referrals >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> recruiters.

Not sure why this is even a question.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:06 pm
Want to bump this post. I reached out to a recruiter who helped edit my resume and gave me a job list. One of the jobs is with a good friend’s firm. That friend’s willing to refer me and put in a good word.

Is it sketchy to have the recruiter refer me to other firms, but also use the recruiter’s lead to have my friend refer me to their firm? I’m trying to figure out proper etiquette here.
To start with, it would be sketchy to find out about an opening through one recruiter and then apply for it with another. The basic principle is that the fee (if there is one) should go to the person who first told you about the role.

In your situation, I’d just level up with the recruiter and say you don’t want them to submit you to X firm because you have a friend there who’s promised to submit you. They may be miffed, but in theory at least you’re the customer - and your key goal is to get an offer, whether through them or not. And recruiters worth their salt will get that. (Also in this market, it’s hardly like there’s a shortage of vacancies to fill.)

hdr

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by hdr » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:54 am

Many recruiters do nothing but identify public job postings and email resumes to the firms' HR contacts. Applying through these recruiters provides no benefit except saving you the trouble of writing a cover letter. The worst ones will submit your resume to every posting available without your authorization in the hopes of collecting a fee, impeding your ability to apply through other channels. In my experience, most recruiters who don't work for an established recruiting firm tend to fall in this bucket.

On the other hand, good recruiters have access to nonpublic and sometimes exclusive openings, and they have relationships with practice group leaders and understand firms' hiring needs. For instance, one recruiter got me an interview with a group that wasn't hiring but she knew was busy and would probably be interested. Another recruiter knew that a firm was probably going to post a position for someone with my experience by the end of the year and got them to interview me (and I eventually got an offer).

Also, if you're interested in a public opening but don't meet the qualifications (e.g. it says 3-5 years but you're a 7th year), going through a recruiter with a strong relationship with the firm can be more effective than applying online, where you might be screened out by HR. But you'd be better off applying through someone you know there or taking the time to network; the goal is to get on the radar of the attorneys.

Regarding fees, I don't think they're much of an issue these days given the demand for associates. In my experience they were more of a consideration a few years ago when firms weren't doing as well.

Dw686

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Re: Lateral using friend referrals vs recruiter?

Post by Dw686 » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:19 pm

Generally agree that you don't need a recruiter right now, especially if you are in a practice area that is in demand. However, if you know that people with similar experience are getting large signing bonuses it might be worth it because they may have more reliable information of which firms are offering what level of signing bonuses. Further, it would be one thing to negotiate your own signing bonus up (which you might be happy to do), and another to do things like negotiating down the associated lock-up period yourself. So that may be a situation where you consider using one. And if you do, make sure to ask around in your network to get good referrals rather than responding to one of your most recent recruiter emails.

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