A lawyer friend of mine started his own law firm couple of years ago, which has grown tremendously. One of the big challenges he faces is hiring lawyers who are tech-savvy. I asked him if he had any tricks for weeding out those who couldn't cut it at his firm.
First of all, he automatically discounts heavily anyone who submits their resume in Word or WordPerfect form. His law firm uses PDF's extensively, and he doesn't want to have to spend a lot of time training lawyers on how to use PDF's. His assumption is that any lawyer who sends a resume in a word processing format probably doesn't know much about PDF's.
I asked him if he had any questions that he typically asked candidates to try to hone in on their tech skills. He said he really didn't because most people are good at pretending they know more about technology than they actually do. So, the trick is to figure out quickly who lacks the necessary skills.
This got me thinking…
While it may be hard to figure out who has extensive tech skills, it should be pretty easy to identify the tech-laggards. For example, I'd ask a potential hire to attach a file to an e-mail using Microsoft Outlook. I'll bet there are more than just a few people who don't know how to attach files to an e-mail. No doubt most of these people are over 40, but I think it would be a good routine thing to check for. Anyone who can't attach a file to an email is not going to fit into the modern law firm.
I would also try asking candidates to find a file by giving them a path description (e.g. documents/2008_Documents/Lebron Case/Attorney Notes). I've seen paralegals who didn't understand filing systems. Again, this isn't likely to find a lot of losers, but if it finds one then it's worth the effort.
I would also ask a candidate to copy a paragraph of text and then paste it somewhere else in a document. Anyone who uses the mouse for the entire operation is not a good hire. In other words, anyone who hasn't taken the time to learn the basic keyboard shortcut for copying and pasting is clearly someone who doesn't care about efficiency. Here again, you'd be surprised how many lawyers don't bother to learn even the most basic keyboard shortcuts.
Anyone else have ideas on to weed out the plodders?