What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Pooja S. Krumenacker, Esq., is the founder and CEO of Balanced Legal Solutions Inc., a legal placement company in Washington D.C. She places well-qualified and credentialed candidates who specialize in all areas of the law, including but not limited to trusts and estates, energy, environmental, construction, securities enforcement and regulation, healthcare, antitrust, corporate, white collar investigations, litigation, real estate, ERISA, and intellectual property. Balanced Legal Solutions specializes in contract placements as well as the placement of attorneys in permanent positions. The company's clients include mid-size and large law firms, boutiques, companies, and legal services companies. Ms. Krumenacker places attorneys in the Washington D.C. metro area, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Prior to establishing Balanced Legal Solutions in 2010, Ms. Krumenacker worked for a recruiting company in Washington D.C. for 3 ½ years. She also practiced law in D.C., where she specialized in civil and patent litigation before entering the legal search field in 2005. Due to Ms. Krumenacker's extensive experience in the legal search field, and in-depth knowledge of the current status of the legal market, she is in the best possible position to provide professional and competent representation to her candidates and establish long lasting relationships with her clients.
Ms. Krumenacker received her Bachelors of Science in Molecular Biology from James Madison University in 2000 and earned her Juris Doctor from American University in 2003. She resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and two children. "I have a little boy who is 5 and a little girl who is 3. We are extremely lucky to have both sets of grandparents living locally. The kids see them once or twice a week at least and we are so blessed to have that support from family. I could not achieve my goals professionally if not for the village it takes to keep our house going!"
When asked about her hobbies and special interests, Ms. Krumenacker said, "We just bought a new house a few months ago, so right now its home improvement projects and decorating! Otherwise, Shaun T workouts, gardening, biking, improving my swing at a driving range-anything that lets us be outside."
Ms. Krumenacker's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters
Does Ms. Krumenacker have a top memory from school? She explained:
"Working on and finishing, not one, but two senior theses my senior year of college. One would think it would have been stressful, but it was the most fun and satisfying thing I have done academically to date. It taught me a lot. Most of the time, I used to cram for exams and write papers not more than a week or two before they were due. However, this forced me to work on something for over a year and it was so gratifying to be able to present the finished product at the seminars!"
What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? Ms. Krumenacker asserted:
"In order to be a successful legal recruiter, I believe that one has to possess a high knowledge about the legal job market, effective marketing skills, empathy and good listening skills.
First and foremost, it is important to have an excellent handle on what is happening in the legal market in general but also specifically in your geographic area. I want to be able to advise my candidates on all their options, and I cannot do that unless I keep up to date on which firms are merging, which practice areas are more lucrative, etc.
Second, you need to really know how to market candidates in the right way to the right employer. A significant portion of my time is devoted to figuring out which employers to approach on behalf of the candidate. Besides making sure that the candidates' skill set matches up with the job, I try to make sure that many of the intangible requirements (work place atmosphere, personalities etc.) are a good match as well even before submitting the application. I also make sure that when the candidate is submitted, that his or her application materials are as specific and detailed as possible. As such, I also spend a substantial percentage on revising and editing business plans and resumes so the employer can clearly envision what the candidate does in his or her current position.
Empathy and compassion also play a big role, not only in my profession, but in life in general! You want to always put yourself in other people's shoes and advise them in a way that makes sense in their life. People are motivated by different things and you want to be sensitive to that when giving them direction.
Lastly, listening skills are huge! Life is busy, and there are so many things going on at once. As such, some people tend to multitask while listening-instead of really hearing what the other person is saying when they are talking, they are already thinking of what their response is going to be or a follow-up question to the person's response. It makes you a much better recruiter (friend, wife, mother, etc.) if you don't do that!"
What motivated Ms. Krumenacker to work as a recruiter? "I became a recruiter because I love people. I am one of those people who just thrives on interaction with people. To say I am an extrovert would be an understatement. Ask my husband, I drive him crazy at times. It seemed like a really good blend of intellectual stimulation and being able to satisfy my side of needing to be around and talk to people."
What is her advice to new recruiters? "Hang in there. It takes a while to build up your base of clients and candidates. Always meet your candidates and clients face to face at least once if you can."
What are Ms. Krumenacker's strengths and one weakness as a recruiter? "Strengths: knowledge, compassion, and professionalism. Weakness: sometimes I take things too personally!"
What is she known for professionally? Ms. Krumenacker noted:
"I am known by the clients (employers) for my professionalism. I make sure I provide them with the best candidates possible, and if something goes wrong, I make sure I remedy the situation as quickly as possible. In regards to candidates, I am also really dedicated to the candidates I represent. I might not be able to find them a position right away, but I will stick with them for the long term and do everything in my power to make sure they have the best possible chance of success even if that means telling them to apply to places on their own."
What does Ms. Krumenacker look for to find the right fit? What makes a great candidate? She stated:
"First, their qualifications and skill set have to match up with the positions for which they are applying. If that does not match up, then the rest does not matter. Assuming that is copasetic, then I try to recommend employers that I think would be a good fit based on personalities and other intangibles. Really though, there is only so much I can do with that. They are either a match or they are not, and they won't know that until they go on an interview. It's kind of like dating. I do advise them to be themselves at all times. Trying to mold your personality or way of thinking for an interview is going to do both you and the employer a disservice in the long run."
In regards to what makes a great candidate, she said, "Someone who is sincere and honest about what they are looking for. Someone who is enthusiastic but realistic about the process and diligent (willing to put in the hard work for interview prep, etc.)."
Where does Ms. Krumenacker see the field in the next five years? "I want to try to expand my offerings. Personally, I would like to get a masters in career counseling and try to do some career coaching as well as recruiting. I also want to try to hire more recruiters and possibly expand into other geographical markets."
Does she learn something of value from all mistakes? "Depends on how big the mistake is! Sometimes it takes a few times of making the same mistake to learn. Just depends how 'strong willed' I am that day!"
What motivates Ms. Krumenacker? "The desire to help people find something they love to do. The desire to grow the company and show my kids that building something takes time and effort and hard work and that nothing comes easy."
Where does she derive her confidence? "Internally-I really enjoy what I do, and I really do believe that I am helping people in finding something that makes them happy, so I feel fulfilled and confident in my business."
Mentoring Attorneys, Non-profit Organizations, Ms. Krumenacker's Passions and Her Influential Husband
Does Ms. Krumenacker have a mentor? Is she a mentor? She replied:
"I did have a mentor. I think you have to have a mentor. I learned the right way and wrong way to do legal recruiting. Legal recruiters can be seen as vultures and unprofessional. However, if you do it the right way, it can be a rewarding profession that really offers a benefit to the job seeker. That is what my mentor showed me. I am acting as a mentor to some attorneys who are seeking positions. I am not necessarily be able to represent them, but I do chat with them once every two months to discuss strategy in their job search, etc."
Does Ms. Krumenacker work with any non-profit organizations? She acknowledged:
"I volunteer with Training Futures of Northern Virginia. I do informative career panels and mock interview sessions with their trainees. They are an amazing non-profit organization. They offer a 6 month training course for underprivileged, underemployed or unemployed people and then help them transition into jobs in an office environment so that they can have opportunities in life that they otherwise would not have. They train them in computer skills, communication skills, and office skills and set them up with internships to practice what they learned. For many of these people it's life changing when they get these office jobs and they are able to support their families and really better their lives."
What causes is she passionate about? "I am passionate about providing people the means to work and provide for their families and better their lives. I am also passionate about children's causes."
Who inspires Ms. Krumenacker? She admitted:
"My husband! He has such a strong character and strong moral compass but yet is very forgiving. He believes in keeping promises and finishing out tasks to the end when people rely on you, even if you are not happy doing it! That is such a good thing to teach people both in their professional life and personal life. I would totally let my kids off the hook if they are uncomfortable doing something. However, he makes sure that they finish things out. What a great thing to teach them!"
A Rewarding Position, Two Favorite Quotes and Ms. Krumenacker's Goals
Does Ms. Krumenacker find her work rewarding? "Yes, I find my work very rewarding. I love establishing long-term relationships with candidates and helping them find something that fulfills them in their careers like I am fulfilled in mine." She added, "I do like my occupation, but it is not for the risk averse! It can be an emotional and financial roller coaster. For me, the rewards far outweigh the risks! I love what I do."
Ms. Krumenacker has two favorite quotes. Her first quote is by Abraham Lincoln: "You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves." She said this quote resonates with her because it embodies what she does and how she wants to raise her kids. "That is precisely why I do the volunteer work that I do. You want to empower people to help themselves. I want to teach my kids to be self-sufficient humans who contribute to society."
Ms. Krumenacker's second favorite quote is by Rabindranath Tagore: "Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark." She explained why this quote is significant to her. "This quote helps me when I worry too much about anything or try to control things too much when things are not going my way. It brings me a sense or peace and keeps up my faith."
What are her professional and personal goals? Ms. Krumenacker pointed out:
"Professionally-I would like to expand the company's reach and offer some career coaching services in addition to recruiting services. I would need to get my masters in career counseling to do that, so that would be one step; (2) I would like to expand the reach of my company geographically, so I would need to hire a recruiter in another region to do that. That would another step; (3) I would like to do more volunteer work with Training Futures.
Personally-I would like to have every room in the house painted and decorated by Thanksgiving! We just lost steam. I would also like to go on more date nights! I would like to volunteer more at my son's school or daughter's school. I would like to run the GW parkway classic 10 miler again to beat my previous time. I would like to do another Christmas service project or drive like we did last year to teach my kids the importance of giving back."