April 26, 2021

All firms do it: external partner hiring for future firm success is the rule rather than the exception today.


But a poorly managed partner hiring process drags your firm down.


Everyone gets tired of it. I’ve seen it first hand.


Worse case, your hire turns out to be bad. The expected rain doesn’t fall. A severe case of ‘tissue’ rejection causes upheaval among the team. It is a disaster.


But! It doesn’t have to be this way


Here are 5 simple ways to improve your partner-hire process.


1. Be clear in your partner hiring!

Define what you look for! What are the clear must-haves? Be clear on the areas you can’t compromise on. Once you know these it’s so much easier to find the right candidate. Or, weed out the wrong ones.


2. Get granular!

Absolutely critical. You need to understand a candidate’s business development ability! Don’t settle for an overview – ask for the detail. Get the candidate to walk you through wins, step by step, over hours if need be, so you know exactly their role in these claimed wins.


3. Be blunt!

Share the behaviors you want / don’t want to see. Stay away from the fluffy mission or vision statements here. The candidate needs to understand the dos and don’ts of your firm – the working processes, the expectations, the day to day interaction with the wider team. Getting the right attitude and approach is crucial.


4. Shorten the partner hiring process!

It shouldn’t take months. Be clear on who is needed and when key decisions will be made. Pencil in meetings or block off days before the interview process starts so you can easily schedule in candidates without chasing around internally.


5. Stay hands-on!

You are a sponsor. You need to stay involved and up to date with candidates. Know where they are mentally throughout the process. How do they feel? Are they still motivated or just looking for a way out of their current role? Be willing to become directive in your firm. Very!


Bonus tip: remember you’re also being interviewed. You need to sell the firm and your team. Why could this be a dream-come-true for both parties? Have a story for a candidate to buy into. Make it exciting and you’ll find the partner hires that will bring success to your firm.


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