In the age of bots (short for “internet robots”), and a ton of them at that, it’s getting harder to distinguish person from program. These systems are designed to simulate human activity and they work – to a point.
Lately, some enterprising “legal recruiters” have begun using bots to lure candidates into permitting them to submit those candidates to potential employers. While the line between an exchange with a real person and a robot is getting fuzzier, one thing is clear – candidates allowing themselves to be represented by bots are NOT doing themselves any favors.
We’ve been in the industry long enough to know that a good recruiter can’t be lazy and that the most important value-add we bring is often the personal feel for matchmaking. Some things need to be left to the experts. From sage advice and industry insight to finding a firm that’s a good fit, working with a reputable and respected (living, breathing) recruiter is irreplaceable.
Not only that, but working with an agency using bots to replace its recruiters might hinder your chances of being placed as opposed to helping them. While you may be one of a few thousand midlevel corporate associates, you are a unique candidate with unique skills and experiences. Why should you let a bot recruiter treat your search just like everyone else’s?
Here’s how you can protect yourself from recruiters and agencies that use automated systems and ensure that you are working with a legitimate, real-life recruiter:
1. Do your research
Our recruiters are our not-so-secret weapon. That’s why we share their posts, publish their profiles and highlight them on our website. When you reach out to Kinney Recruiting, a person is going to see your email or take your call. We can’t work formally with every person who seeks us out, but we aim to help EVERYONE in any way we can. When looking for a legal recruiting agency, make sure to do your research before signing up, handing over your resume or approving firms. Explore their website and look at their team. If you can’t find your “recruiter” on LinkedIn or they don’t check out online, they’re probably not actually a person. [Aside: In addition to bots, there are also recruiters who are real people, but their reputations are so tarnished that they operate under pseudonyms – you won’t find much about them either.]
2. Speak to your recruiter on the phone
Sure, automated systems can be handy and bots can answer general questions about a job position, but do you know what they can’t do? They can’t share a funny anecdote or build real relationships. We suggest that before you approve of any submissions to firms, you talk to your recruiter over the phone. That will confirm that you are in fact interacting with a person and opens the door to creating a rewarding connection.
3. Trust your gut
Jessica Chin Somers, a Managing Director at Kinney Recruiting, recently received an email from a candidate saying: “This may sound strange, but this is a real email and you are a real person? I signed up for a few other recruiting firms and I get plenty of automated emails. It can be a bit confusing.” Jessica reassured the candidate that yes, she is a real person with a real law degree (two!), a real phone number and a real email address. On top of that, Jessica also eats real food and has real feelings. All of our recruiters do. There is nothing wrong with asking a recruiter that you have only corresponded with via email if they are real, especially if you are uncertain about something or are considering approving firms online. Our advice? Always trust your gut. If you have a feeling that they aren’t authentic or you just want to make sure you’re not entering a system you might struggle to get out of, don’t hesitate to ask. Better yet, give them a call and have a conversation. If that’s impossible or even difficult, run!
Every candidate’s worst nightmare is (or should be) that their resume lands up spamming firms and that they become unhireable. We take steps to ensure that you never land up in that position. Our recruiters personally write submissions, help you prepare for interviews and personally negotiate your offer. Finding the right candidate for a job or the right firm for a candidate can be labor intensive and isn’t always easy.
However, in an industry that’s built on trust, leave it to the real-life recruiters to help you make your next move and advance your career.