K. L. McKinney
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The Theory of Relativity Talent Searches – overcoming challenges of sourcing new hires with high demand skills

Organizations that rely on vertical market systems, like Relativity software, can find themselves challenged in the search for professionals with experience managing the product. A rapid increase in market share for a product with spiking implementation raises the value of people who have related experience due to the inevitability of a talent pool that is significantly smaller than the demand created by the sudden high adoption rate. Currently, eDiscovery organizations grapple with this challenge associated with products like Relativity. The executives at Relativity address the issue by providing an aggressive training program that includes conferences, live training sessions, webinars, and self-paced tutorials. How can hiring organizations address this challenge?

Seven keys to recruiting and retaining high value talent in an environment with a limited talent pool

1.      Build software experience and certification into the organizational structure. For example, establish position grades based on years of experience and certifications. Consider how many years of experience performing a function in the software equate to various certification levels and define job titles or position grades accordingly. Maybe a person with 4 years of project management experience including 2 years of work with Relativity would have the same position grade as a professional with 2 years of project management experience combined with an RCA certification. This type of structure will encourage staff to professional development, evidence a culture of career growth, and provide some flexibility for identifying good talent in a limited talent pool.

2.      Consider employees with related certifications and experience in a different product. When seeking a professional with a high level certification like the RCA, consider candidates with lower level certifications, and experience in higher level functions. Frequently, an eDiscovery professional may begin their career in one area and with a basic certification, finding themselves in high demand and far too busy on discovery projects to pursue subsequent certifications. Organizations that provide time to complete higher level certifications for candidates who have the right functional experience can attract these type of professionals.

3.      Open the recruiting process to candidates with an evidenced quick adaptation of other software products. Seek the advisement of in-house experts to confirm if your recruitment for a potential position really requires experience with a named product or if a very experienced eDiscovery technologist who has worked in depth with a comparable product can get up to speed quickly.


Often companies make the mistake of assuming that because a moderately technical person was not able to get up to speed on a product quickly, no one can. However, technology professionals with a background in a comparable product have the ability to discern nuances within features that might require a quick check in advance of implementation to insure they are using the feature properly for desired results.  The rapid application development schedule for most products often places the most experienced users in the position to have to confirm the behavior of features that they may have used previously prior to subsequent infrequent use.  


Why pass on a great eDiscovery technologist when infrequent opportunities to add to the team occur? New hires with the right functional experience in a comparable software can be recruited by offering the position in a way that includes incentives for performance like:

a.      Offer the position with contract to permanent terms contingent upon development of the right skill set in the desired software over a defined period of time.

b.      Offer the position with a slightly lower pay scale contingent upon achievement of the desired skills in the software of choice. Balance the knowledge deficit in the interim by paying the pay differential to a third party for coverage during the learning period.

c.       Allow the new hire to work a part time schedule for the first few weeks in order to gain necessary training and practice during a probationary period.

d.      Assign the new hire documentation responsibility for key aspects of team operations and practices associated with the software.

4.      Manage your digital image. Build a reputation of great repute by encouraging happy employees to say so on peer sites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com. In addition to this functioning as a great marketing endeavor, it will attract discerning talent.

5.      Develop a career culture to convey when recruiting new talent. Coach all employees who are interested in advancement to identify a clear career path within the organization. If there is no place for your employees to advance within your organization, you may find it useful to help them prepare to advance to another organization with whom your organization would like to build or sustain a relationship.

6.      Provide opportunities for training and professional development. Staff development can be done on a low or no cost budget, if necessary. Peer training and mentor programs provide for this type of retention activity. Opening peer training opportunities to a targeted audience can also help with marketing efforts.

7.      Reward employees with non-monetary incentives for continued learning as well as performance. A lack of recognition is frequently a source of discontentment for knowledge workers. For example, host one-on-one coffee meetings between high performing employees with special skills and members of the management team, where leaders can solicit employee opinions regarding important business activity for a great performance motivator. 

These principles apply in most environments where the talent pool is developing to catch up with demand as new popular enterprise systems release. K L McKinney specializes in legal technology people and helps organizations address business challenges by introducing the right talent into the equation. An eDiscovery services company, frustrated by a one-year search for a Relativity Analyst, found their new hire employee in 10-days with the help of K L McKinney’s recruiting services.