4 Red Flags to Watch For During Your Next Legal Assistant Search

The hiring process isn’t easy. Choosing the best candidate out of a large pool of applicants can feel like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Yet there are a few consistent patterns that can help hiring managers decide whether an applicant should advance to the next round or receive a “thank you, but no” response from the law firm or legal department. Here are four signs that a legal assistant candidate isn’t right for your organization:

1. They’re Rude, Confused or Uninterested

A legal assistant candidate may look ideal on paper, but in person, they seem rude, distant, or confused about the position they’ve applied for and what it entails. This candidate may not be a good choice for your organization.

Legal assistants need to be fully engaged with their work, and this begins by being fully engaged in the interview process. A candidate who doesn’t show signs of interest and understanding during the interview process may struggle to connect with co-workers, clients or their daily work on the job.

2. You See Any Indication They Can’t Maintain Discretion

Confidentiality is one of the essential duty of legal professionals, including legal assistants. As a result, candidates must demonstrate their ability to speak discreetly and protect the identities of clients and other key individuals.

Questions like, “When did something go wrong at work and how did you respond?” not only tell you how a candidate responds to conflict but can also reveal how the candidate handles potentially sensitive information about others. A candidate who names names and assigns blame may be a poor fit.

3. Their Communication Skills Are Lacking

Law firms rely heavily on legal assistants’ skills at speaking, research and writing. A candidate who struggles through the interview, whose application contains typos, or who can’t clearly articulate their own skills or successes may lack the communication skills the rest of your team needs from a legal assistant.

4. They Struggle Under Pressure

Interviews can be high-stress situations for candidates. Legal assistants, however, frequently have to work under the pressure of tight deadlines or multiple simultaneous demands.

Watch closely how each candidate handles the pressure of an interview. Candidates who appear to “crack” under the stress are more likely to struggle under the pressures of day-to-day work as a legal assistant as well.

Looking to Staff Up?

At Kent Legal, our recruiters help our clients connect to some of the best legal support talent in the greater Toronto area – and avoid red flags that could result in a poor hire and quick turnover. Contact us today to learn more.

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