Finding a good team is essential to growth in a law firm. While larger firms may have a hiring manager to help sort the good from the bad in your potential team members, small firms have to rely on the instincts of the owners. Without much experience hiring people, how will you know who might be a good fit?  Here are some tips to finding law firm staff that can help you select the best option from those top 5 candidates.

First: Are they computer savvy?

This means more than just knowing how to take a selfie and put it on Facebook. Somebody who is really good with computers will be a faster, smarter worker. Here’s some skills you may ask your potential hires to demonstrate:

  • Use keyboard shortcuts to select all, copy, and paste.
  • Dock windows to either side of the screen, giving you a “split-screen” effect.
  • Create a pdf from a word doc in under a minute.
  • Ask them to find something online and see how they go about searching for it. (for example, do they use google to search for yahoo, or do they use the integrated search bar?)

Don’t be afraid to ask your top potential hire to do some computer work in front of you. It may show some unexpected weaknesses or strengths.

Second: Are they strong writers?

If there’s one skill that is absolutely essential for working in a law firm, it’s strong writing skills.  Ask for writing samples. You may even ask them to demonstrate their writing skills by making a simple writing assignment part of the hiring process.

Technical skills can often be taught, but teaching writing skills would deplete your time and energy so much that it’s just not worth it.

Third: Will they fit with your team?

Is this potential hire coming via word of mouth from your existing staff? Is this somebody whose personality will mesh well with the team and create the office environment you imagine?

You may not think about it, but finding employees who “click” with the team can be an essential. Many firms report that even if somebody is skilled and valuable, they may not last just because they don’t “fit” at the firm. Getting referrals from your existing employees or social network can be a valuable way to find people who are more likely to fit in.

It’s important to check with previous employers for this. Find out how they got along, if there were any personality issues, and what to expect from this potential hire.