Hogan Lovells: Clare Harris, associate director of legal resourcing at Hogan Lovells
Clare Harris is associate director of legal resourcing at Hogan Lovells. She has worked in legal resourcing in the City for many years and was previously graduate recruitment manager at Herbert Smith.
What are the key elements of your role?
It involves articulating and conveying the employer brand for Hogan Lovells, ensuring candidates understand what the firm represents as an employer (particularly in relation to graduate recruitment for the trainee solicitor programme), what the benefits of working here are and, most importantly, helping potential recruits understand the culture of the firm.
The brand is not just a brochure and website, but a representation of how people are treated when they meet us, their experience of the recruitment process and how they feel during their career here.
I also keep under review our assessment and selection processes, and am increasingly involved in initiatives to widen access to the legal profession for candidates from non-traditional or less advantaged backgrounds – a highly rewarding aspect of my role.
How has your role changed during your time at the firm?
It is more strategic and advisory than it was when I joined, although I still have to roll up my sleeves and attend law fairs or run workshops on campus.
I also interview on the trainee solicitor interview panel and love these aspects of my role as well as the more strategic thinking. It is important to stay grounded no matter how senior you become – the grassroots work is what brings you to a role and you should never forget where you came from.
What’s in your in-tray?
Assessment of the 2012 recruitment campaign to look at why candidates accepted or rejected our offers. This work will influence our 2013 recruitment campaign.
We have also recently refreshed our graduate recruitment brand, which was a big project.
What was the most pressing item you faced on the operational side of the firm this year?
Ensuring we met our target number of recruits, but most importantly ensuring every one of those recruits was selected because they have the potential to make a success of their careers and consequently contribute to the success of the business. Some may find this repetitive, but I find it has a new dynamic every year. We resolved it by the work we did on our employer brand, more partner engagement during work experience schemes and on university visits, and greater clarity around what we are looking for.
What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?
Clarifying our recruitment brand to ensure our offer is clear to candidates. We undertook focus groups to understand how our people in London felt about what Hogan Lovells represented so we could communicate this effectively to the graduate market.
Our revised marketing campaign launched this autumn and the early signs are that it is going well.
What problem would you most like technology to solve?
I commute from Cambridge, so a transporter like in Star Trek would be brilliant – no more hanging around at stations or delays due to line problems.
In terms of work-related technology, more bespoke online application systems would be welcome – off-the-shelf ones never seem to do quite what you want them to, or be flexible enough.
What’s the most important lesson your role has taught you?
Always think ahead and do not take anything for granted. You can lose a reputation for excellent recruiting if you do not keep up momentum or if you become complacent.
You need to innovate regularly with regard to graduate recruitment and always put yourself in the shoes or the mind of the candidate you are dealing with, at whatever level of seniority or role. You should ask yourself – how would I feel if I was going through this process?