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The Pros and Cons of Hiring New Staff by Holding a Contest

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on June 04, 2014 10:55 AM

How do you look for new hires? If you're like most lawyers, you probably spread the word amongst your network, and probably post job listings on various websites. But, there's a new trend in hiring: holding a hiring contest.

A contest? Yes, a contest. One company holds contests for getting successful referrals, according to Inc., and even BarBri got in on the action earlier this year. So how does it work exactly? Simple, you hold a contest, and the prize is a job.

It sounds easy, but whether you should hold a contest at your law firm to fill your next staffing need is another question. Here are the pros and cons of hiring staff by holding a contest.

Pros of Hiring Staff by Holding a Contest

Here are some great things to consider when deciding whether to hold a contest for hiring purposes.

1. Marketing & Publicity

Holding a contest -- and the necessary promotion that would entail -- is an innovative way of marketing your law firm. Without seeming to obvious, just the mere act of spreading the word about your firm's hiring contest is also spreading the word about the firm itself.

2. Wider Pool of Candidates

By spreading the word about the contest in more places than just traditional job listings, you may actually attract a wider pool of candidates. Everyone's talking about the lack of legal jobs, so technically, there should be many great candidates looking for jobs.

3. New, Fun and Different

Holding a contest to hire new staff is by no means traditional, and it will reflect on the law firm's corporate culture. This type of hiring campaign may attract non-traditional types, fostering a law firm culture that gets the job done, albeit in an interactive, fun way.

Cons of Hiring Staff by Holding a Contest

Here are some not-so-great things to consider when deciding whether to hold a contest for hiring purposes.

1. Marketing & Publicity

Holding a contest for hiring will undoubtedly get your firm some publicity, and we don't always agree with the adage that "there no such thing as bad publicity." Do you want your law firm affiliated with "online hiring contest," or maybe with something a bit more serious like "dignified and effective lawyers?"

2. Wider Pool of Candidates

Sure, there will be a wider pool of candidates, but that doesn't mean that they will all be qualified, or that it will attract a more qualified set of candidates. Instead, you may have a wide pool of unqualified candidates who think the laid-back spirit behind the contest means laid-back bosses and less hard work.

3. New, Fun and Different

There is nothing new, fun and different about the law -- just kidding -- um, not really. After banking, the legal field is probably the most conservative and set in its ways. Holding a contest for hiring may not put your firm and practice in the most favorable light.

If the pros and cons look familiar to you, well it's because the same things that can work for you, can also be working against you. It can simply be a matter of you being a "glass half empty" or "glass half full" type of person, or it could do more with your law firm's corporate culture.

Either way, holding a contest for hiring purposes is happening in other fields, and it may be something to consider when you make your next hiring decision.

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