Check the Location before you apply! Advice for locums
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Check the Location before you apply! Advice for locums

We say this time and time again to candidates and we often include it in our vacancy details. If you do not check the location before applying for a job or progressing an application you can look somewhat silly if the employer expresses an interest in taking you on and you suddenly decide that they are too far away.

Looking Silly

This is commonplace, and it doesn’t seem to matter how much detail our recruitment consultants include in their initial outline, we still get candidates applying for jobs, expressing an interest right up until interview or booking request or beyond, when they decide the location is too far away for them.

One of the best we have come across over the years is a candidate who actually sent the CV in, knowing exactly where the firm were, attended an interview, received a job offer, accepted the job offer, handed in their notice and then decided at that point to do a second test run of the commute to the offices during rush hour, when they discovered that it was going to be an almighty nightmare for them.

This was by far one of the silliest job applications I have come across during my time in recruitment, as that particular candidate lost their job and didn’t go to another role immediately, courtesy of their decision to finally check out the location.

Location Unimportant for Locum Work?

If the work is locum then location does not matter quite so much. You can always put up with a long commute for a few weeks, and sometimes we get fairly fickle candidates who spend a lot of time deliberating on an assignment before deciding to accept, but then pulling out right at the last minute because they were worried about the travel. This sort of locum lawyer does not get much work off us as we immediately remove them from the system.

We simply cannot set up assignments and have them cancelled at short notice because our clients never use us again when this happens, quite understandably so.

Again it is an example of a situation when a locum could quite easily check out the location from the outset and make a decision accordingly, even if they are finding the commute a long way it is much better to stick with the assignment simply to get it done and to move on to other things, rather than to decide that you are not going to progress.

Some locums, whilst they’re on the contract with us, think that they can get away with undertaking an assignment like this and pulling out at short notice without it having adverse consequences because they are moving from one short term contract to another. We know of locums who are unlikely to get work in certain areas of the country because they have such an atrocious reputation.

Consequences of Pulling out of Assignments

Some locum agencies actually go back and check out all previous assignments to get confirmation that they have gone well, and others are a little bit more sensitive to the needs of law firms but don’t quite go to that level of harassment.

Recently we managed to find a locum solicitor a role in East Yorkshire. The locum was coming to us for the first time and gave a couple of references to us from previous assignments.

Unfortunately the locum hadn’t quite thought through one of these references, who got straight in touch with us to advise us not to touch the locum with a barge pole because although they were very nice, they were utterly awful and thoroughly unreliable. Sure enough, this locum then failed to turn up to the assignment and needless to say he/she will not be working through us again.

I very much doubt in fact that that locum will get much work anywhere, because other locum agencies do go back and check every single assignment, and if one of their most recent assignments has a reference coming back like this, it is doubtful that any work will be forthcoming.

Jonathan Fagan is a legal recruitment consultant for Interim Lawyers and Managing Director of Ten-Percent.co.uk Limited. "I have been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 16 years. I am a non-practising solicitor, on the Roll since June 2000, and also a director of the Ten-Percent Group of Legal Recruitment websites. I also regularly comment on legal recruitment via my blog http://www.legalrecruitment.blogspot.co.uk. Interim Lawyers is the specialist locum arm of the Ten-Percent group and we have over 700 locums on the books. We can usually keep our locums busy throughout the year, although it does very much depend on the market. Get in touch with me to register assignments or look for locum work."