Receiving an Offer

Receiving an offer can be as exhilarating as it can be daunting. All the weeks of planning a move, exploring the market, and then attending interviews have finally come to fruition! 

The first thing to do is to ensure that the verbal offer is 100% definite - this should be confirmed by your Recruitment Consultant. Then ask all appropriate questions, such as, where you sit within their salary band, when your next review is likely to be… perhaps also obtaining an overview of potential benefits and bonus schemes on offer. 

The next step is to pass on your email and postal address to your Consultant who will then, in turn, pass this onto the firm so written paperwork can be sent out accordingly. 

Nothing should be said to your current firm yet! Even though the offer is a definite verbal offer, it is safer to wait until the contractual paperwork arrives before doing anything official. 

If you are sure that you wish to accept, then you can verbally accept the offer, subject to written paperwork, but you should still hold off contacting anyone at your firm. 

If things are less clear cut and you have other interviews on the go/other offers which you would like to consider, the main thing to remember is that you have approximately 7-10 working days, from receipt of the written paperwork, to make a decision. This decision needs to be the ‘right’ one and so shouldn’t be entered into hastily, unless you are 100% sure. 

The most important advice is to remain honest with your Recruitment Consultant and ensure that any concerns at this stage are aired with the Consultant who you are working with. This way, they can work with you and come up with creative solutions to try and assist you in your decision making - this might include a further chat with one of the Partners you interviewed with, or drinks with some Associates for you to get a better feel for the firm. Additional meetings and discussions are standard at this point in the process and you shouldn’t feel anxieties about requesting this. After all, firms want to get people on board who are doubt-free and super keen and so are usually more than happy to fly the PR flag! 


Resigning from your current position

So… you have now received the paperwork, confirmed receipt of these docs with your Recruitment Consultant, had a read through etc. All is in order and you are now ready to accept! Next steps are to sign on the dotted line, send back a copy, keeping one for yourself and then……tell your current firm. 

The best approach in terms of psyching yourself up (!) is to firstly remember why you wanted to move in the first place and this should put into perspective any anxieties that you are currently feeling, giving you some added Dutch courage to do the deed! 

Secondly, it is always a good idea to have a resignation letter in your hands when about to hand in your notice. This only needs to be a two line statement, merely saying that ‘whilst you have enjoyed the time at your current firm, you are hereby handing in your notice with any contractually specified and required notice period to take immediate effect.’ This helps to makes things more official in your own mind. In fact, the very typing of the letter should help to psychologically ‘make that break’, reiterating and refreshing in your own mind why you initially decided to explore the market in the first place. Should the news of you resigning be met with a particularly negative response and an attempt to put you on the spot, having a typed letter in your hands will make you feel more self assured. 

For the most part, Partners are not best pleased when assistants decide to move on. The important thing to remember is to stand your ground! 

Should your current firm attempt to ‘buy you back’, it is paramount to question why you had to resign in the first place for them to realise your true worth. Moreover, where is the money for this new and improved salary coming from? All firms have strict guidelines and budgets which must be followed so this sudden rise could seem a little mysterious when this is considered…. Will this increase be taken into account when the next salary reviews take place or will you be in the forefront should a cutback ever occur due to financial constraints? Most importantly, do you really wish to continue working at a place that needs to be ‘pushed’ and ‘threatened’ into satisfactorily remunerating you? (In our experience, more than 70% of candidates who are 'bought back' subsequently leave within 6-9 months. The additional money is a 'short term fix', but the underlying reasons for looking at new roles eg advancement, quality of work, not feeling valued etc remain). 

In addition to this, the Legal world is a collegiate one and once you have expressed your feelings of unhappiness, your loyalty to the firm will be forever questioned and is bound to have a negative impact on your relationship with peers and Partners alike. Hence, having that resignation letter in your hand will ensure that you are resolute and stop you doing anything that you might regret further down the line! 

Once you have successfully handed in your notice then this information should be immediately relayed back to your Recruitment Consultant who will then contact your future firm with the good news! 

Upon receiving the contract signed by yourself, your future firm will confirm receipt with your Recruitment Consultant who will then, in turn, contact you to let you know that all paperwork is in good order. 

At this stage, the firm you are joining might wish to contact you directly to congratulate you and to say that they are delighted and excited to have you on board. The question of your notice period will possibly also be mentioned at this stage, which is now something you can also broach with your current firm. (It is always best to leave it a couple of days after resigning before mentioning notice periods to your current employer - this way, things will have hopefully cooled down a bit and they might be slightly more lenient in negotiating a speedier exit for you!) 

The key to successfully handling being made an offer - both in terms of dealing with the logistical process and ensuring an ultimately correct decision is made - lies in maintaining an honest and open relationship with your Recruitment Consultant who should be kept in the loop at all times. A good Recruitment Consultant will be a solid intermediary between yourself and the client, fighting your battles where necessary and giving you all the assistance required. If dealt with calmly and efficiently with good advisors around you, coming under offer should be a relatively painless (!) and incredibly exciting experience. 


Next step….crack open the champagne! Congratulations- you did it! 


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