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Monday, March 29, 2010

Law Recruitment -- 'Apprentice' - Style


With companies keen to attract the best and the brightest, the recruitment process is going through significant changes.

Law firm Werksmans, for example, has launched The Candidate Challenge 2012, a concept based on the TV show The Apprentice.

The Candidate Challenge gives law students a chance to secure their articles and become full-fledged attorneys.

The candidate who has what it takes will be guaranteed an interview with the firm's CEO, Jeremy Botha, for the firm's 2012 intake of candidate attorneys.

"We are throwing down the gauntlet on a special website and using other popular social media, including Facebook, to spread the word," said Werksmans chief marketing officer, Nicky Holmes.

"In this way, the firm aims to attract the best and brightest young lawyers with the characteristics essential for a successful legal career - drive, direction, intellect and commitment."

Werksmans' approach is a departure from the usual practice where graduate recruitment campaigns are used to attract graduates.

"Our campaign aims to uncover the unique potential of law students and give them an opportunity to shine, but on their own terms," said Holmes.

The campaign, run as a competition, requires potential candidates to register online and give a motivation of why they should be chosen.

"In the process, we are positioning the firm as approachable, direct and dynamic, as opposed to the remote, rather impersonal image that other more conventional campaigns tend to project," said Holmes.

And, as recruitment strategies have changed, so has the manner in which human resource departments are run.

The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), having recently carried out research into how global businesses manage staff to remain competitive in international markets, says that human resources can have a huge effect on a company's success.

MBA student Gary Pienaar and Professor Laetitia van Dyk found that to win the battle, companies must keep learning and innovate faster than their competitors.

"As a result, contemporary businesses have to tap more into the creativity and knowledge of their workforce, which has a major impact on the people element of business and organisational life," say the researchers.

But "innovative behaviour requires committed people and an environment that encourages and rewards creativity and risk-taking".

The researchers found that there was agreement among analysts that future business success depended on the ability to attract and retain skilled people.

A strong employer brand is crucial in attracting talent.

Ideally the human resources and marketing departments should work together to create a powerful and attractive employer brand, the USB researchers concluded.