The Power of the Job Description

As Legal Recruiters, we often get asked by our clients: “how can we improve our chances of securing the best candidates?”

There are a number of considerations but not all are within immediate reach, such as, increasing salaries and radically improving company benefits. Therefore, we would urge hiring managers to consider step number one:

The Job Description – and the impact getting this right can have on the entire recruitment process.

Dedicating time to your job description may not be at the top of your list of hiring priorities, especially with a busy workload! However, if you neglect this integral part of the process, you may well end up sifting through the CVs of numerous unsuitable candidates.


What is the purpose of a Job Description?


The most fundamental purpose of a job description is to clearly and accurately define the responsibilities of a given role.

The responsibilities, along with other key information including required skills and experience, are usually presented with subheadings and in bullet point form to enable easy reading and understanding.

When drafting a job description, it’s important to use clear, unambiguous language to explain how the role should be performed and the essential experience required to apply.

Job descriptions should also provide the applicant with sufficient information about the business, the team and all of the wonderful perks on offer – arguably as important as the responsibilities of the role, and interestingly, the bit that very often gets neglected!


The importance of a good Job Description: Direct Hiring


  • Your job description is often the applicant’s first impression of your firm – If a candidate isn’t excited by your job description, whether that be due to lack of key information, or head-turning content, chances are they won’t apply.
  • It is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd – As well as highlighting key information about the responsibilities and expectations of the role, this is your chance to shout about your company culture, values, benefits and more. A detailed, well thought out (and exciting!) job description will set you apart from the competition.
  • Improving the quality of the candidate pool – The clearer the responsibilities, expectations and required experience, the easier it is for the applicant to determine their suitability, therefore limiting applications from those who aren’t a good match for your role.
  • Culture is key – In your job description you may wish to provide detail on the size and personality of the team, office, and firm. Not all applicants are looking for a busy, energetic, open-plan environment. Some will favour a smaller, close-knit team. Outlining these details will most likely improve the applicant ‘fit’.
  • Ensuring that expectations are met – A job description which outlines objective criteria (whilst not necessarily essential in initial attraction) can be advantageous in an employee’s first few months. Objective criteria can allow you to establish expectations from day one and measure performance.


The importance of a good Job Description: Working with a Legal Recruiter


  • The job description is fundamental in the recruiting process for agencies – Simply put, it allows us to do our job properly, and most importantly, add value to the law firm we are partnering with.
  • Well-written job descriptions are important communication tools – they allow recruiters to clearly understand the required competences, educational credentials, and experience, which can then be communicated to prospective candidates.
  • Greater advert responses – The more detailed and appealing the job description, the easier it will be for your recruiter to create an advert which will stand out amongst your competitors’ adverts on the various online platforms they use.


Law firms that get the best from their agency recruiters will typically take the job description process further in the form of a briefing call or meeting.


  • The briefing call or meeting – this is an opportunity for the law firm to discuss their vacancy at length, and for the agency to ask questions that will enable them to better understand the requirement and conduct an effective search.
  • It allows the recruiter to dig deeper into – company culture, perks, and your firm’s USP (unique selling points). Knowing what sets you apart from the crowd will help us attract a larger pool of candidates.
  • Essential vs advantageous requirements – it’s impossible to get every detail on a job description. An experienced Legal Recruiter will discuss and consult you on your brief and make the distinction between what is essential and what is in fact, desirable. It’s important in such a candidate led market that we know what you’d compromise on to ensure the vacancy can be filled.
  • Investing the time – Investing the time with your recruiter at the start of the process will inevitably save you time throughout the rest of the process. A good brief, whether in the form of a call or a meeting, will limit back-and-forth questions over email, unsuitable CVs, and interview time that is unlikely to lead to you making an offer.
  • Building relationships – The more you get to know your Legal Recruiter (and vice versa), the better the relationship. Don’t make recruiting a chore. Allow us to do some of the hard work for you and let’s have a bit of fun along the way!


Recruiting a Locum Solicitor: Briefing your agency and how to get it right


Quite often, job descriptions and agency briefing calls get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list when hiring a Locum Solicitor, especially if the need is particularly urgent. However, if you don’t get the brief right, it can cause you to waste both time and money in the long run.

We appreciate that it takes time to write a job description, so instead, we invite you to have a briefing call with us about the vacancy, where we can lead on the information needed to get you the very best Locum.


This call will last around 15 minutes. The next time you’ll hear from us will be when we have a candidate for your consideration – so you can get on with your day job.


Outlined below is the typical information your Legal Recruiter will need before getting started on their search.

  • Law Firm details – type of firm, specialisms, office location, team size and structure. Locum Solicitors require this basic information to assess whether the firm is of interest, and logistically, somewhere they can travel to (if needed).
  • Vacancy details – reason for the vacancy, role, duties and required experience. This information aids the Locum and their agency in assessing their suitability for the role and if the expectations aren’t clear, you may end up hiring a Locum who isn’t capable of doing the job.
  • Assignment duration and working hours – including flexibility and remote working options. Locums often get booked in advance and sometimes in back-to-back assignments. Therefore, being clear on the start date and expected duration is really important. Generally, longer term assignments are more favourable and will result in a larger candidate pool. Flexible and hybrid working are often deciding factors for Locum Solicitors. If your firm is set up for remote working, offering this to your Locum will make your firm more desirable.
  • Hourly/daily rates – has the budget for this piece of recruitment been signed off? Your Legal Recruiter needs to be able to inform their candidates of the hourly rate on offer to get their commitment to the assignment, and to avoid wasting anyone’s valuable time it’s important that the budget has been signed off in advance.
  • The recruitment process – timescales, interviews and expectations. Locum Solicitors get booked up quickly meaning it’s important your interview process is not too long. Often, locum interviews are conducted over the phone or video, rather than face to face. You still have ample opportunity to ask all of the required questions, but they can be quicker and easier to book in. Your agency will enquire about the style and expectations of the interview so that the candidates can adequately prepare.

A Legal Recruitment Agency with a personal touch


Birchrose Associates is a team of experienced and passionate legal recruitment specialists, partnering solicitors and legal support staff with law firms across the UK. We have over 40 years’ combined experience in the sector and speak to legal professionals who are active in the job market every day. As a result, we are well placed to advise you on how to secure the best legal talent, starting with getting the brief right!

We can support you from the very beginning of the process, creating your job description and tailoring it to reflect your business, right through to making an offer and onboarding your new recruit.

If you have a locum or permanent recruitment requirement and would like our help, please register your vacancy here, or even better, give one of our experts a call today.


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