Recruiters also have some questions to answer here. Yes, firms make the final decisions on hires and it is their responsibility to do the calculations, but what are recruiters doing to make sure hires stick around?

One could argue that it is in fact against the recruiter’s interests that a hire lasts. If someone only lasts two years in post, not only is it not the recruiter’s responsibility but when the partner does leave, they may well get the candidate back and the post to recruit for once again – a nice win-win-win. With churn like this it is little wonder the legal recruitment market in London is saturated with players eager to join the free-for-all.

Firms need to ask themselves whether their suppliers have a genuine conflict of interest or whether this is just a quirk of the system they have to live with. Firms might also quiz recruiters more carefully about what they are doing to overcome this and what they can do to ensure that not only are they finding suitably qualified hires, but hires that will endure, before parting with the eye-­watering sums often associated with a search assignment.

A few months ago, I moderated a panel of hiring partners here in New York in front of an audience of recruiters, and one particularly experienced, emphatic, and blunt panelist decried the lack of professionalism and seriousness about engaging in prior due diligence that he found with far too many recruiters. Memorably, he exclaimed, “Sometimes I get the distinct impression this person is calling me from their dining table, in a robe and fuzzy socks.”

Take note: This is not something anyone, most assuredly including you, should pursue with a “fuzzy socks” mindset. There’s data out there, it tells a story, and you can do better than average if you apply yourself.

Fuzzy Socks

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