NW Staffing Employee Interview: Legal Northwest’s Anneke Haslett

This week we are sitting down with Anneke Haslett, the Recruiter, Account Manager and face behind NW Staffing’s Legal Department: Legal Northwest. She has years of experience working in the legal staffing industry in Portland and we are proud to have her on our team!

You are the magic behind Legal Northwest. Tell us a bit about your background and tenure NW Staffing/ Legal Northwest?

I came from a few customer service positions and started at the front desk at Legal Northwest over 20 years ago!  At that point Legal was a separate branch and we were growing. It was a busy time, and I enjoyed learning about the Legal industry, and about Staffing in general, with Lauren and Doug (who managed Legal at the time). It was a lot of fun. The magic has been the clients we work with and having a really strong team and amazing mentors.  Since those days I’ve had the good fortune to try out many hats within NW Staffing, moving from Personnel Coordinator to Recruiter, Manager, then Account Manager, but always keeping in touch with our Legal clients. 

What has made you pursue a career in staffing?

I had been working in women’s healthcare and was looking for temporary work on my off days – and here I am! My dad (who is an Attorney) along with contacts at the Multnomah Bar Association recommended I apply, but prior to that I hadn’t considered the staffing industry. Once on board, I found I really enjoyed it. I love hearing peoples’ stories.  Staffing is like solving puzzles, searching for the intangibles and connecting people. To do that you have to be curious and listen to what makes them excited about their work.  Search between the lines on the resume or job description; that’s when you find out what is really important to the employer and employee.

What are 3 things you love most about working in staffing? What are 3 things that feel challenging about working in staffing?

I love that no two days are the same, I love working with a lot of interesting people, and I like knowing we’ve made a difference in people’s lives. So many of us tie our identity in closely with our jobs, saying, I AM a recruiter, account manager and legal assistant. We spend so many hours in our positions, it feels very personal when we need help finding a new member for the team, or when someone says they think it’s time for a change, or if they get laid off.

I have been lucky to have relationships with people who came to us years ago and are still at their firm, but maybe now they’re a hiring manager, and remember that we helped make the process more comfortable for them. I love hearing the nuances about what really gets someone excited about their work, or their team – just the fun quirky stuff – and then be able to say, “Hey, I have a great idea for your next position!”

That said, it’s hard when someone doesn’t get the job that they really wanted, or when it’s a market like now – lowest unemployment in over 40 years – and we want to find great people quickly for our clients. Also, if a placement doesn’t work out.  I never want our clients – the employees or the law firms – to feel like we didn’t do everything we could to make a good match.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self when it comes to career advice? Additionally, what advice would you give to someone hoping to break into the Legal Industry in Portland today?

My 20-year-old self?! Gosh, I feel like I was very intimidated talking with people. So I would tell myself to put yourself out there – don’t be afraid to talk to anyone, keep learning and challenging yourself!

I think the Legal industry is a fantastic industry to get into.  If you have great computer, grammatical, and organization skills, and if you’re open to working your way up, it can be a rewarding career with a great salary. You get to work with interesting people in all kinds of areas and make a difference. Many firms are promoting from within – it’s a great industry, call me about it, I will tell you!

What do you love doing in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with family, we have a 5-year-old boy (five-and-a-HALF-year-old, he would say) and we are lucky that we have family close by to spend time with.  I also enjoy paddling outrigger canoe with a crew of ladies that I’ve known for 20+ years as well.  Last year we got back on the water more often to train for the Queen Liliʻuokalani Race in Hawaii, and we had a blast. I love being on the water seeing all kinds of wildlife and the views of our city from the river, it’s so beautiful.

What is one personal goal you have for yourself in 2020?

More family trips and camping – we took a great family camping trip with my Mom and Dad and friends to see the eclipse a few years ago, it’s time to get back out there. We have a new tent and want to get some sunshine on it!

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received from someone else about work, careers, the Legal Industry etc.?

My dad, who is an attorney, reminds me to take care of, and be mindful of, your reputation and keeping your word. It’s not worth it in the long term to take the easy way out, avoid a difficult conversation, or over-promise something and then under-deliver. It takes a long time to build a good relationship and reputation with people; protect it. Sometimes we do have to have those tough conversations, but I aim to earn someone’s respect so I can do it in a way that lets them know I’m looking out for them.

If you are looking for legal talent or a job in the legal industry, connect with Anneke today! Read more about our Legal Division here.

February 17th, 2020

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