Millennials' influence on the legal marketplace is rapidly growing. To attract this group's best and brightest, law firms need to understand their mindset and habits:
Millennials devour online content — and it influences their career decisions. Millennials consult user-generated content in making decisions, and they consider others' opinions before making a commitment to anything. Millennials will scour the Internet to find information about your firm before applying, before interviewing and before accepting an offer. They will talk to their friends, visit blogs and forums like AbovetheLaw, view LinkedIn and read sites like GlassDoor.com to learn about the firm's financial status, merger rumors, problematic partners and growing practice groups. Firms must be aware of their online presence and reputation in the marketplace and, during the interview process, be prepared to address candidate's concerns and questions related to this content.
Millennials want to feel connected and involved when it comes to their role in the firm. Despite notions to the contrary, millennials are team players. They want to be involved, contributing members of the firm from the very beginning. They will not be pleased in the long-term just to sit back and do meaningless busy work or to be siloed. During the interview process, your firm's attorneys should be able to articulate to prospective candidates why someone is needed for the open position and what role the candidate will play in future cases and transactions. It is important for millennials to know that their contributions will be valued and that they are joining a collaborative organization.
Millennials appreciate honesty and transparency. If a millennial candidate feels that your firm is "hiding the ball" when it comes to what it will be like to work for your firm, they will not take the job. Hiring managers should give prospective candidates the chance to spend one-on-one time with their future colleagues during the interview process (even better if it is off site). Prospective candidates appreciate the opportunity to speak frankly and ask hard questions to their future colleagues, especially senior associates, about what it's like to work at the firm.
Millennials care about the interview experience. They will notice if someone is on their phone during the interview or if the interview gets interrupted. They will care if they have to come back to the office four different times to meet three different people. If it doesn't "feel" right, they will be unlikely to take the job. They want to know that they, as individuals, are being courted as potentially valuable future members of the firm. Recruiting coordinators and hiring partners should keep this in mind when scheduling interviews, determining who will speak with the candidates and what the interview experience will be like.
Millennials have grown up in a time of interconnectivity, which, for them, translates into the workplace. If a firm begins its relationship with its millennial candidates with openness and honesty, then the newest hires in the firm will thrive and the firm will reap the benefits.
This article was featured in Law Journal Newsletters, Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report, March, 2016.