Amrish's Perspective on Recruiting Legal Talent

This is Amrish. He's one of two recruiters at FLEX tasked with finding, vetting, and onboarding attorneys to work on interim in-house counsel positions with FLEX’s technology and life sciences clients. Amrish has spent approximately 5,000 hours reviewing resumes over his legal recruiting career. Let's learn what Amrish looks for when recruiting at FLEX.

Q: What do you look for first when reviewing a resume?

At FLEX, we are always proactively recruiting, as opposed to “reactively” recruiting based on a specific client need, because we know what our clients come to us for and our vetting process is more rigorous and time-consuming than at a traditional staffing agency. As such, the first thing I look for is experience at companies similar to our client base handling responsibilities we typically see the most demand for. I am not big on buzzwords or flowery verbs – it is far more helpful to just have a concise bullet-point list of the actual issues you advised on, deals you negotiated, and products you supported on a day-to-day basis.

And, as someone who looks at a lot of resumes, I am always grateful for organized formatting that is easy follow. If the information is there, I’ll find it, but I appreciate it when an applicant makes it easy.

Q: What methods do you use to avoid unconscious bias when evaluating attorneys?

The FLEX management team interviews every potential FLEX attorney as a panel in order to get a variety of perspectives. We give every attorney candidate the same skills exercise and use specific criteria to evaluate their performance. We are careful to craft the job descriptions we use for recruiting to not include stereotypically gendered language. FLEX also has a 100% diverse internal team.

Personally, I am always checking myself to ensure that I remain aware of my own potential biases and that I do not favor candidates with similar backgrounds or career paths to my own (though I might show some slight favoritism toward University of Maryland alumni – Go Terps!).

Q: What are some of the more common red flags that you see on a resume?

Major spelling or grammatical errors are the biggest red flags, followed by sloppy formatting errors. Those mistakes evince a lack of attention to detail that, rightfully or not, many clients believe will extend to the attorney’s substantive work product. Any dates or titles that don’t line up with what’s on an attorney’s LinkedIn profile also give me pause. One thing that does not give me pause is a gap between positions. There are any number of valid reasons why one may take a pause in working, even if just to recharge and relax. One of the reasons I’m such a believer in the FLEX model is because it allows for a balance between rewarding, interesting work and outside pursuits.

For attorneys working on interim positions through services like FLEX, another red flag is representing that you were a permanent employee of the client. Potential future employers can find this to be misleading, and we strongly recommend that our attorneys make it clear on their resume/LinkedIn profile that they were engaged with the client on an interim basis for any FLEX engagement.

Q: How many candidates do you typically call for a single role?

At FLEX, we never send out mass emails or InMails, nor do we ever post openings on an internal job board and have our attorneys “bid” for them. Rather, the internal FLEX management team meets about every new opening that comes through the door and discusses attorneys we think could be a good fit for the need based on their experience, skills exercise performance, and prior client feedback. We take into account the types of companies our attorneys have previously supported, the size and relative leverages of their deals, and how independently they have worked. After the team brainstorm and running some keyword searches in our attorney database, I usually reach out to 5-10 attorneys for any single role. Given our small size and how much time we spend getting to know each attorney on our roster, it’s exceedingly rare for an attorney who’d be a strong fit for a new opening to not be contacted about it.

What's your challenge?