If you are considering a new position, having a recruiter assist you can be the best move you make.  It makes sense to be proactive and meet with a recruiter for many different reasons:  maybe your group is changing at work and you know there will be downsizing, so finding a new position is imperative;  maybe you are generally unhappy with how your firm/company is growing or changing;  perhaps you just want to see what else is out there and find out if your rate of pay is competitive;  many people want to find a new position to be challenged, and learn a new area of law.  We encourage any candidate who falls into these categories as someone who should consult with a recruiter, and that includes candidates who are bombarded with cold calls from recruiters.  In that case, it is more important than ever for you, the candidate, to be in control and choose who you work with.  Getting cold calls from recruiters doesn’t mean the recruiter is interested in your welfare – they are trying to fill a specific opening – and aren’t going to be interested in what YOU want.  You should take the time to find a recruiter who will look for what you want, and have your best interest in the forefront.  That means the job search can certainly take longer, but ultimately, it will be significantly to your advantage.  Recruiters will know what the market is like, can offer suggestions about alternative firms that may fit with what you want in a new position;  they can discuss your compensation and let you know whether or not it is competitive in today’s market, and also share thoughts about where the industry is headed, and what type(s) of positions are going to be changing in the future, and what staff roles will continue to thrive.  Don’t be reactive – this is your future at stake and you should take the time to find someone that you fit well with who can work collaboratively with you to find the best fit. 


People change jobs for a lot of different reasons – some are excellent, and include looking for more structure or support, perhaps looking to change or lessen a difficult commute, or often to avoid a work personality situation that has become untenable and affects your productivity. However, another reason for changing jobs should be something all candidates consider: you need to change to grow. When you have been at a firm for a number of years whether you know or not you start to stagnate – you learn less, opportunities are fewer and it is very likely you are extremely comfortable. Those aren’t necessarily bad things, because wow – who wouldn’t want to be comfortable, and know what to expect every day? It sounds great, but it isn’t. In the legal market, you should consider changing jobs at the 5 – 8 mark. You need new challenges, new possibilities, and new people to work with. A new job means shaking up your routine, learning how to interact with people you aren’t comfortable with, and learning new skills. Also, prospective employers often look at longevity negatively and think that the candidate may not be able to adapt, change, or learn new things. I’m not suggesting people should change jobs recklessly, and if you are one of the few people who work for a firm that is consistently providing new challenges and growth opportunities, you should consider staying; however, most people will find new positions will provide better pay, new ways to challenge yourself and an entirely new outlook on your job.