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Hang on to those Kudos!

In working with a General Counsel this last week toward making offers to two potential hires for her company, she and I had a conversation about one of the candidates. This resourceful candidate is currently a senior associate in his second law firm, hoping to become one of the many lawyers who have switched from the focus on many clients in private practice to focus on one client inside a company.

After I had reviewed this candidate’s resume, his representative transactions list, and the answers to a questionnaire I had provided him, I then received from him a hefty package of documents. The package contained copies of all the “atta’ boy” comments he had received from partners at his first law firm and various messages he had received from clients regarding their positive feedback on work he had performed for them. There was one kudo after another.

While a couple of these documents were evaluations, which one would more naturally think to save, many of the documents were the first pages of work product of the lawyer (with names or revealing client information blacked out appropriately). On these were hand-written notes from a partner assessing the candidate’s work:

A large star icon written on the document with the words next to it “gold star”;
the words “Excellent!” on one example and “Great Work!!” on another with the partners’ initials; and another large star icon and “Thank you for covering this so well” and a partner’s initials.

In addition there were copies of short but telling emails addressed to the candidate: “Candidate, thanks very much. Your initial work on structuring the contract has helped us greatly as these issues have arisen. We appreciate your continued assistance.” “Our client XYZ called today, through their Executive Director, with strong and loud compliments for Candidate’s work.” “Excellent work, Candidate. Big chore, lots of pieces, and two tough cats (here naming the Partners) to keep focused. This is an excellent brief and clearly tells ‘our’ story.”

This was such a compelling package of materials, I provided it to my General Counsel client who was equally impressed, not just with the content, but also that she was reading them quite a few years after their creation. She commented: “Isn’t it amazing that he saved the kudos? Very smart of him. It is really helpful to someone like me who is trying to get an inside look at how he will integrate into my company and how he will interact with others. It is important to me to understand how his clients feel about working with him and the value that they perceive that he brings to the business team’s efforts. This type of information is very helpful in the candidate screening/selection process.”

We’re moving to the end of this story and the bottom line is that this additional information helped to move the candidate along to the next level of interview process with my client. This search is about to complete and the final selection has not been made, but, for this candidate, one of the reasons he is in the slate of our finalists under consideration for the offer are the saved kudos.

So save the kudos for full speed ahead!