If you’re a partner, or own your own firm, it doesn’t take long to realize that hiring good qualified help is a little harder than it seems. Someone may look one way on paper, but present a completely different persona once they get on your team. What are the winning traits of a successful paralegal and more importantly how do you identify them in your prospective employees?
Choose Your Priorities
First, decide what are the most important strengths needed for the specific position you have open. If you need someone who can immediately jump in and take over, you may value experience over a winning personality. If you have the time to work one on one with a new hire, you may favor someone who has a promising future but still has some learning to do. Either way, prioritize based on the needs of your law firm and know exactly the kind of employee you are looking for before you even look at one resume.
Do Your Research
You are busy—that’s probably one of the main reasons you need a paralegal, so we know you may not have the time to interview all the candidates that apply. Which is why you can save valuable time by conducting some research in order to narrow down your hiring pool. Ask for references up front so you can identify any potential connections and get some insight before even scheduling the first interview. Don’t forget to search on the Internet and check social media—while a lot of people in the legal field avoid these site, performing a quick search might uncover pertinent information that could affect your hiring decisions.
Check Their Credentials
To become a paralegal you must complete required coursework, a certification or earn an associate’s or bachelor’s First, decide what you value and what the position requires. Use this standard as a minimum requirement for your position in order to keep the number of unqualified applications down.
Test Their Ability to Follow Directions
A great paralegal knows how to follow instructions, and this is an important skill for any great hire to have. Set up a set of specific tasks needed to apply for the position. This allows you only choose the candidates that are willing to listen and set aside those that do not comply with instructions.
Require a Cover Letter
Requiring a cover letter for the job application allows you to survey their writing skills before the every get offered a position. Writing is an important skill for a paralegal, so ensuring they are competent in this arena will help you find a more qualified employee. The cover letter is also an insight into something beyond their resume and gives them a chance to tell them more about themselves.
Look for a Team Player
Working as a paralegal in a law office requires that you can work well with others. During the interview process and through careful review of the resume, look for hints of a person who excels in a team setting.
Once you’ve narrowed down your applicant pool using these tips, you’ll be left with only the most qualified people to help bring your law office to the next level.