Dan Baldwin 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Sonja Cotton & Associates, LLC practices the personal touch philosophy in the recruitment and placement of legal professionals, including attorneys, paralegals, receptionists, records specialists, word processors, administrators, legal secretaries, legal support staff, librarians, and docket personnel. Founded in 2003, the firm now matches top legal talent with the needs of the region’s law firms and corporate legal departments throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. “I’m somewhat of a matchmaker. I know my candidates and clients and I know what they want because I’ve been doing it for so long and I ask the right questions,” Cotton says. “If I can find someone a job that can last them their entire career, I’m the happiest person in the world.” Understanding the Process from Both Sides Cotton was a recruiting manager for a prominent law firm in Phoenix in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Eight years later she became a consultant as an executive legal recruiter for a top-tier executive search firm. “I have lots of experience in the law, so I know what it’s like to be in a law firm or a corporate legal department. I’ve been there.” The beginnings of Sonja Cotton & Associates were challenging. “For two years I literally slept only two hours a night working three jobs. I knew I was going to build this business and I was determined to make it the best recruitment agency in town.” When people asked, “How did you do it?” her response was confident. “I’d say, ‘it’s just in my heart.’ You know you’re going to succeed when you absolutely love doing something so much. And I love this business.” The hard work and long hours have paid off in more than just a long list of satisfied clients. Sonja Cotton & Associates was voted the No. 1 ranked permanent placement agency in 2010, 2011 and again voted tops in 2012 by Ranking Arizona. Applies the Personal Touch Cotton believes that too many recruitment agencies canvass people rather than try to find the ideal match between job applicants and employers. She believes in asking probing questions and listening to the answers. “One of my criticisms of many recruiters these days is that they don’t take the time to meet with their candidates or clients in-person. I prefer meeting someone face-to-face because I want to build a personal relationship. I like to know as much as possible about what my candidate or client wants so that I can provide them pretty near close to their wish list.” A recruiter must know more than just the needs of a law firm or legal department. A recruiter represents both the client and the candidate so taking more time to get to know the personalities of the applicant and the company is advantageous to a successful placement. “With attorneys, I find out what they like and why they went to law school or what it would take for a lateral attorney to make a move. I work hard to find out what road to take that would make them truly happy.” That can be a challenge due to unrealistic expectations, she notes. Many students graduate believing that law practice is just like it is shown on television’s legal dramas. “If someone has unrealistic expectations, I try to educate him or her on the realities of the job.” “Schools teach the law well, but it takes years to learn what you are best at and the application of the law.” What Makes a Good Recruiter? “You have to be a little obsessive. You have to dot the ‘i’s’ and cross the ‘t’s’ five times on every job.” Being a good listener is essential. “Firms are personalities to me, so I know exactly what they’re looking for. It takes a lot of years to get to that point. I take into account 95% personality and then, of course, try to match up the candidate’s expertise, but I also run on my gut instinct.” An ability to think on your feet is also essential. “You have to move at the speed of lightning to compete with other recruiters.” Knowledge of the business, the business environment, and changes in that environment are important. “I try to stay up with everything in the latest technology in the recruiting world.” She states that Sonja Cotton & Associates is at the cutting edge. “We are all becoming more worldly because of the Internet. We can conduct interviews online and, because of the Internet, I can do the work of three recruiters.” Being realistic is also a function of a good recruiter. “I try to deliver. If I don’t have a candidate for a position, I won’t send out just anyone for an interview. I don’t waste my clients’ time.” Cotton warns firms and applicants against recruiters who charge an upfront fee for their services. “Never ever go to someone who charges a fee upfront. You shouldn’t pay for something before you get it.” She is also wary of recruiters who will not take time to meet in person with their candidates. Recruiters who have a high turnover often lose candidates in the shuffle. “Be careful of ‘changing hands’ in which you’re dealing with a new person every time you contact the agency.” “Always do your homework.” Personal Interests Cotton enjoys reading about people, especially biographies. She enjoys films and was involved as a screenwriter with a film project in Phoenix. She is also an avid hiker who enjoys the challenges of Camelback and Piestewa Peaks. “I’m a hobby person. I just can’t stop my mind from creating. You try to fight it, but you can’t because you see through the eyes of an artist.” She paints in oils and acrylics and enjoys decorating. “I’m always working on a new project in finding something old and turning it into something new and different.” That creativity and level of commitment is mirrored in her work for Sonja Cotton & Associates. “I’m solid. I’m here to stay. I’ve been here and I’ll continue to be here for the long-term.” For the legal communities of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada that’s quite a match.
Published by Target Market Media . View All Articles.