June 7, 2021

How many partners does it take to hire a partner?


Too many!


You heard me. Too many are hanging about and don’t add value during the process. But they do confuse the candidate. And a confused candidate won’t ever buy into your firm.


To this day I still remember the interview process at that well-known firm where I was a lateral-hire partner candidate. The one thing I remember? Meeting an endless number of partners and having no real clue why.


It was confusing.


Let’s face it. Many partner-recruitment processes definitely don’t fall short in one capacity: the sheer number of partners involved!


Everybody wants in


I have experience from both sides, and remember being a hiring partner trying to manage the recruitment process.


Inevitably in a multi-matrixed professional firm, there are many partners at the intersections who want to make sure that their patch is not going to be underserved once the partner has arrived. So, they want in on the interview process. Plus those partners where my managing partner felt involving them would be good.


Suddenly, you find yourself with a list of 10 potential interviewers. Or more! You need to cut it down to way below 10 – by hook or by crook.


Don’t lose the story


It’s obvious – with more interviewers, the story you are selling to the candidate gets lost. Things get confused.


Sure, you will have some partners totally excited about bringing on new skills. But others will be hesitant, downright negative. They feel threatened by the candidate – a new person successfully selling into their account or intersection. What would you make out of it?


You must orchestrate your partner interviews. Each partner involved needs to have a clear role, bought into the need for the hire and its strategic rationale.


Make it a consistent and concise story for the candidate to follow.


You don’t need anymore partners than absolutely necessary so cut out the loose ends in your recruiting process.


Don’t confuse your candidate!


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