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Written by Ana Piferrer, 14th September 2018

I recently went to see “Matilda, the Musical” and whilst it’s never been my favourite Roald Dahl story, I love a good stage musical! One of the lines that stuck with me the most was “You gotta be loud to stand out from the crowd!” sung in the most garish and belittling way possible by Mrs Wormwood to poor mousy Miss Honey. But there’s a nugget of truth in her words, and that’s what made me prick up my ears and got me thinking.

We’ve been led to believe that all that counts when looking for a new position is good exam results and ticking boxes of desirable experience in recognized organisations. I say you are so much more than your grades! You are so much more than that renowned company you’ve worked at! You are going to be interviewed by a human being with interests and hobbies and a rich life just like you. Find a connection with them.

I once heard a story of an IT professional who was applying directly for roles in large financial institutions. Underqualified for most of the roles applied for, yet he still managed to land interviews in all those companies. How did he get through to interview?? The answer is simple, but not immediately obvious.

Simply: You are more than just your CV

Not so obvious: How to show this on a CV

The individual’s recruiter understood that the hiring managers were seeking candidates who would be a good cultural fit, with the right attitude and approach, but it’s difficult to indicate your personality on your CV. It’s all well and good to describe yourself as a ‘hard working IT professional’, but it doesn’t really have any weight without evidence. Stipulating your job responsibilities and achievements is great, but your personality is still an unknown. The hiring managers wanted someone who was willing to take risk, roll their sleeves up and be dedicated.

This candidate has something very particular written in the interests and hobbies section. Turns out he had climbed Mount Everest and that had piqued the curiosity of the recruiter. The recruiter wanted to hear the details, the hows and whys, and…the but how!?? Most importantly, this gave the recruiter an insight into the candidate’s personality, what motivated them as an individual and helped the recruiter personality match the candidate to the roles.

I’m not saying that you need to take a sabbatical and risk your life, all you have to do is connect with the hiring manager on a personal level. Show them that you are more than your job, tell them that you have a love for Scotch (can we be friends?), that you have a penchant for skydiving, or explain how you managed to visit North Korea! This makes it easier for us to find points in common between you and the hiring managers we’re going to introduce you to. We are the gatekeepers, and you might have the most impressive CV, but ultimately we are looking for the right cultural fit and for candidates who are going to enjoy working with our clients and who will become intrinsic parts of their teams, not just as employees, but as people.

So whilst you might not want to give an exhaustive list of all that you do in your spare time, don’t be afraid to hint at the rich life you have outside of work. In the words of Tim Minchin by way of Mrs. Wormwood “You gotta give yourself permission to shine, to stand up and be proud, proud, proud, proud!”

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As a legal recruitment consultant, working as a link between clients and candidates, I am aware of the inner workings of the hiring process that many individuals will not have considered. I take pride and commitment in ensuring that I help build the relationship between a client and a candidate, so that eachparty may get the best outcome of the situation possible.

Many of my friends are curious as to what my job actually entails and how I can really add value to the recruitment process, asking ‘What are your actual day to day tasks?’ Essentially, my role is split into two main areas, The Client and The Candidate, allow me to explain:

The Client

Without the involvement of a consultant, a client can have either a large volume of applicants – many of which will be unsuited to the role and have to be sorted through – or a small volume of applicants, or even an absence of applicants entirely. For a client who does not already have systems for recruiting new team members, this can be a time consuming and frustrating process.

The Candidate

On the other side, a candidate searching for a role must search through a large number of job ads – some of which are written by individuals with an inadequate understanding of the legal profession – and apply with a CV that may not emphasise the relevant qualities that the candidate possesses. Once the application is sent the candidate must wait for a response, sometimes not even having a contact name to follow up with and often hearing nothing back if they have not been successful.

The overall process is improved with the presence of a consultant. For the client, having a dedicated professional who understands the specifics of the role and can tailor applications means they will have a higher quality shortlist to consider. The consultant will almost certainly already have a number of high quality candidates to discuss the role with, but can also post clear and concise job adverts that notify further candidates to the role. Once the shortlist is finalised by the client, the consultant will relay all the relevant information to the candidates, meaning one conversation for the client results in all candidates being aware of the information with very little time invested.

For the candidate, the consultant can offer the role without them having to spend time searching through job listings, and can discuss the role in depth to determine their suitability. The advice that the consultant gives will set the candidate on the right course to be offered the role since they can flag up potential issues or emphasise useful qualities before the candidate even interviews. Once the process is started the consultant will keep the candidate updated throughout, with the benefit of the candidate having a clear answer at each stage. If the candidate is invited to interview, the consultant will give useful information that they may not otherwise have had, including the dynamics of the team they will potentially be joining, the style of interview and questions that will be asked, the character traits the interviewers will be looking for, and elementary interview advice that is easy to forget in the heat of the moment if not prepared.

For me, possibly the most important part of my role is once past the first stage of interviews. The relationship that is building between the client and the candidate is nurtured by the consultant, I can relay positives and negatives across to each side if they did not come up during the interview. The consultant will also be able to negotiate around the position without damaging the relationship, and can ask the more difficult questions that will move the negotiation forward without either side feeling they have to be unreasonable. Above all, while the logistics and troubleshooting of the process will be improved, it is the optimised relationships between clients and candidates that benefit all parties the most.

If you have not previously worked with a recruitment consultant, I hope you now have reasons to consider building a relationship with us. It is our job to make the best of the circumstances you are in and deliver the most beneficial outcome for you. If you would like to know more, please get in touch.Rob Blog Photo

For any questions or if you would like to hear more about my role and the way in which TAP Search operates, please do not hesitate to me on 02071275274 or email

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In March, the UK inflation rate dropped to 0% and economic trends showed that growth in consumer demand has increased, but as always the long-term effects can go one of two ways. Overall, it has been stated that the UK economy is still set for continued growth in 2015, but may be at a slightly slower pace. With such a variety of economic and political factors continuing to influence the economy, it can be difficult to predict what the long term future holds. So, how will this affect your legal team and how might you manage the affects in your business when it comes to making commercial decisions within a timely fashion? Well, innovation and can flexibility certainly help, it’s a question of maintaining the balance between innovation and risk.

2015 is said to be the year that the desire to take new risks is being supported by positive growth within the UK and I for one believe that agility within any business department will be crucial and is certainly something to keep an eye on.

At TAP Search we believe that recruiting high calibre legal professionals into interim and contract roles, results in greater flexibility and strength to the in-house team. We work in partnership with General Counsel and Heads of Legal nationwide to recruit staff that will add value to their teams and achieve positive results.

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As the Senior Researcher at TAP Search, I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about some of the work I’ve been involved in recently. My team and I have been busy putting together the framework for our annual Salary Survey, the results of which we will be publishing in a few weeks’ time. I am most grateful to everyone who is kindly taking the time to complete our questionnaire – I’m looking forward to reading your responses and having a look at the results. If you haven’t had a chance to fill it in (which takes less than a minute), you’ll find a link to the questionnaire at the bottom of the page. Your responses are key to helping us produce some really useful information about the state of the legal market and to inform you about current market trends at national, regional and city level. We will also be able to provide information about what’s happening within specific sectors at this exciting time. Read more »

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Did you watch the Oscars a few weeks ago? Well, it kept me relatively entertained over that weekend, with Lady Gaga’s outstanding performance of the Sound of Music – the fact that Lady Gaga was dressed relatively normally – shocking; an incredibly moving speech by The Imitation Game’s Graham Moore…I could go on. Did I know much about the individual nominated films? No.

Admittedly, I am not an avid cinema goer (being kicked in the back, sharing arm rests and shoes in my hair are just not my thing) and therefore I tend to be about 6-12 months behind the film buffs, but like the rest of us, I do enjoy a good story. For me, one film in particular really did stand out from the rest: Citizenfour – more than just a story – a documentary about one of the most controversial and ongoing reports of 2013 – I had to watch it. Why did it stand out? Well for one thing, it won for good reason.

As a legal recruiter, everyday, the team and I analyse the legal market and note trends by following the news and networking with HR Managers, job seekers and Heads of Departments. As such it will come as no surprise to you that we can see just how much growth the technology industry has experienced over the past 5 years alone. About 50% of our roles are in the technology space and about 75% of our roles require lawyers who have some experience with IT law and most recently (over the past 12 months), an increase in demand for data protection and IP. The world in which we live is becoming more and more reliant on technology, and why not? It helps improve communication and makes day to day tasks easier by a click of a button *hang on a moment while I just remotely record the Great British Bakeoff online via my Android…great, job done!* As I was saying, your ability to get more done and multi-task is a fantastic advantage in both work and play.

But then the bombshell hits (were the Americans really surprised? Come on…) everything an American citizen does via a mobile, laptop etc. is being recorded by American Bodies and Edward Snowden has proof. Now for us British citizens, we have pretty much been made aware of this going on in the UK for some time, we just haven’t necessary made a big hoo-hah about it (not like the Americans at any rate), trusting in the Freedom of Information and the Data Protection Acts. Saying that, Edward Snowden has, over the past week, shed new light into what is being called the ‘great SIM Heist’ involving intelligence agencies from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and Gemalto, the world’s biggest producer of SIM cards. Only time will tell what new information is to follow, and I for one recommend that if any of this interests you, watching the film/documentary is a good starting point.

What has really stuck in my mind is the fact that we do need to be more careful and aware of our rights. Data protection is under the spotlight more and more, especially in relation to technology, due to our advancements. Only today, was I reading on that EU legislators are looking to, wait for it, ‘future-proof’ new data protection laws against major technological advances – I’d like to have a greater understanding as to what that will look like. In-House Counsel should be being consulted by the powers that be within their company in relation to these issues and if not, why not? This issue only stands to grow. Data protection lawyers, in fact any in-house counsel – watch this space – 2015 is going to be an interesting ride.