Job role, salary, and location matter, but being comfortable in your workplace culture is important too.
At McKenna & Associates we know a key component of quality legal recruitment is finding the perfect fit. For those considering a contract, the following points might help clarify your response to a potential employer.
How tech savvy Is the firm?
Legal technology is an ever-expanding field. From workplace apps to inhouse file sharing systems, tech preferences impact performance. Ascertaining a potential employer’s stance on legal tech is important.
Some legal practitioners are more comfortable with adopting advancements. If you consider certain tools and devices essential, be sure your new workplace approves their usage.
Does the company support any particular charities?
Every workplace has different parameters when it comes to social responsibility. Pinpoint a potential employer’s stance on social conscience, and how proactive they are in regards to charitable endeavours.
This includes a firm’s position on:
- Policies relating to pro bono work.
- Company donations to charitable organisations.
- In-person volunteer hours.
Is the office eco-conscious?
If eco-friendly living is a cause close to your heart, be sure to gain insight into a potential employer’s initiatives. Many firms are reducing their carbon footprint, and subsequent impact on the environment.
A person who enthusiastically supports intra-office sustainability practices should discuss the possibility of introducing their conscious consumer habits to the firm.
Are the staff diverse and multi-generational?
Some areas representation differs across workplace cultures are gender, age, religion, sexuality, physical abilities and cultural diversity. The most important point is that you feel comfortable in your place of employment.
If a job offer feels tokenistic for a firm with limited diversity, and you sense resentment, take note. Alternately, the take away could be an authentic interest and genuine support for affirmative action. Trust your intuition.
Is there general flexibility?
Workplace flexibility is often viewed as a sign of respect and trust between employer and employee. But standard practice at one workplace may not be the norm at another. For example, even online consultation is an area where legal firms differ on policy.
Consider discussing ideal conditions—i.e. partially working from home, flexi-hours—at the interview stage. Negotiating your schedule upfront is better than dealing with resistance after the contract is signed.
What is the attitude to parental and family commitments?
Those with children know life doesn’t always follow a strict schedule. Check in advance that you won’t face a passive-aggressive response to the demands of a sick child, or requests holidays align with school breaks.
If you have familial commitments involving a dependent with health issues, try to ascertain the firm’s response to emergencies. Adding tension at work to a possible high-pressure scenario at home, is not ideal.
Any initial signs of a toxic workplace environment i.e. blame culture?
A firm wary of transitioning to new ways of thinking may not be the best fit for an employee who embraces initiative. And a workplace entrenched in its habits may prove unhealthy. Even at interview stages, dysfunctional office cultures often exhibit signs of a toxic environment.
These could span:
- Staff that are tense and wary of open responses.
- The feeling you’re being berated for asking questions.
- A general lack of transparency.
- The impression of a tokenistic approach to company values.