Tips and Trends Industry Advice and Developments

Top Talent Wants a Lifestyle, Not a Workplace

In 2020, businesses faced demands for radical transparency. Across the professional service industries, including law, the calls were often coming from inside the house.

Amy M. Litt

Employees and prospective candidates alike are looking closely at employers’ behavior and demanding action when leadership comes up short. These employees may have joined a firm for compensation and career advancement, but now that parity is the norm, will they stay? In 2021, your firm’s values, messaging and reputation — your brand — will be more important than ever. Firms that look to the best practices of successful lifestyle brands will stand the best chance of attracting and retaining top talent this year.


Whether you attract industry vets or new graduates, you probably already know they have a similar vision of your brand as your clients. Many hires, especially those in management, largely define themselves by their employer and its outward-facing reputation. It’s critical that your recruitment process aligns with the identity you want to build as a firm, that you are speaking to your target audiences’ decision-making drivers.

Make sure your brand guidelines include a mission statement, values or tone of voice. Given the difference between who you are hiring and who is hiring you, you may consider creating a sub-brand just for recruiting. Next, take a look at your firm’s website, social media and any other recruiting tactics. Are you consistently articulating who you are as an organization? And are you doing so in a way that is relevant to your ideal candidate? The best lifestyle brands know exactly who their customers are and what they want. You can use the same approach to be attractive and memorable to top talent.

Finally, take a look at your careers page and the job listings posted. In particular, potential employees want to know that you’ve given a lot of thought to their health and safety. What is your work-from-home policy? How are you addressing diversity and inclusion at all levels? How are you supporting those caring for family? What support resources are available? Answering these essential questions up front will show your understanding of the candidate's concerns.


Your clients get proactive, individualized treatment so why not take the same approach to top-notch hires? Right now, job hunters know that digital networking is more important than ever, which is why they’re looking beyond job boards and signing up for a multitude of newsletters so that they can stay on top of fresh positions and related industry news. Your firm can easily provide this content — your career openings, your unique perspective on how you and your industry have adapted to the uncertainty of the last year, as well as the new challenges and opportunities that exist. Bragging a bit about recent new clients or completed projects can also build confidence in your business’s stability. Your careers page is a great place to add a sign-up button for this newsletter. A competitive hire might not be ready to submit an application, but they’ll almost certainly appreciate the effort you put into being a thought leader in your field and will sign up for your newsletter in return.


Hiring is a multistep process, from the initial application to the final interview. When was the last time you did a quick review of your process?

It’s a common complaint: Qualified and interested candidates are often turned off by a clunky online application. If your company requires applicants to re-enter their résumé in a time-consuming form, ask yourself if this process has any measurable benefit to you. Many applicants, especially high-value ones, will chafe at this task when they could simply attach their résumé or a link to their portfolio. At the same time, it’s OK to create different applications for different positions, according to your needs. The goal is to ensure that you get the information you need from your prospective hires, and they feel like they’re able to present their best selves, so that you can start choosing who to interview. 

People have become used to an intuitive user experience and constant status updates. Show respect for candidates’ time and investment. Be transparent about any tests you’ll be giving, whether the work performed will be paid, and how that work may be used in the future. These are pain points for many job seekers and the sooner you get out in front of them, the more trust your applicants will have in you and your brand. Overall, addressing your ability to offer a streamlined, intuitive and customized hiring experience at every turn will certainly make your company appear more attractive in the eyes of a potential hire.


It’s safe to assume that the person you’re recruiting is interviewing at other places as well. Throughout the interview process, it’s important to stay in communication. Staying on top of the process and keeping the applicant informed not only provides clarity, but makes your brand look organized and efficient. Remember when you were looking for work and how frustrating it was to be led on or to be the one to always initiate the follow-up? Take that into account and let applicants know where they stand in the process. 


Now that you have put in the effort to bring in top talent, you need to keep them. After all, brand loyalty counts just as much in employee retention as customer retention. Working a fast-paced job in the current environment is, to be frank, brutal. Make sure you and your team are engaging in robust internal communications, creating a safe work environment for all types of people and ensuring that your employees’ work is the ticket to career advancement.

And don’t forget to find opportunities to surprise, delight and say thank you. With so many teams working remotely or on hybrid schedules, employees are looking to their employers for leadership, now more than ever.