How to improve job descriptions to attract and retain legal talent
In the war for talent, it is worth looking at ways to upgrade your job description to attract the top legal minds, improve diversity of applications and engage with employees in a more meaningful way.
The trick is to balance providing enough information to entice and explain clearly what the role will involve whilst not creating a long winded or repetitive document. A job description should be representative of your brand and really showcase the career opportunity you are offering a future lawyer in your business. In-house lawyers want to know how they will fit in to your business, what the position will entail and where they can add value. The desire to work more closely with the business and add commercial value is often one of the main reasons why lawyers want to move from law firms to in-house environments.
Often job descriptions are an afterthought or a quick ‘throw together’ which results in uninspiring or vague documents for most businesses and, dare I say it, even worse when you are in the legal space!
Advice to reinvigorate your job descriptions:
Do invest time
Attracting a lawyer that can align with your commercial objectives and current legal team will add huge value to your business and requires investing some time up front. Take the time to ascertain why you are making this hire and what value this lawyer can bring to the company so you can start to build the job description around this. A job description might be someone’s first impression of your company and is often used as the basis of a job advert online, so you need to take time to make this as good as it can be.
Give targeted context
Provide an overview of the company, legal team and where this position fits in. Describe what problem this lawyer will solve in your business and what the environment is like so you can really highlight what might appeal to the person you are trying to attract. Explaining how the candidate can make a difference will further engage and elicit an application if this is in line with what they’d like to achieve in their next career step.
Review the look and feel
Make your job description stand out and reinforce your brand. Go beyond adding a logo and ensure the whole document is in line with your brand, including formatting such as font, colours and tone of voice. Ensure it is easy to digest with a clear structure and formatting. Include links to your website that explain more details such as company values, diversity, equity and inclusion programmes and your interview process. Allowing candidates easy access to more information should engage them further with your brand and encourage them to apply.
Screen with a DEI lens
Be precise and scrap the laundry lists. What does this lawyer really need to have in terms of experience. Avoid a generic, long lists of requirements as they may deter underrepresented groups from applying and don’t overinflate the requirements needed for this position. Further reduce bias by checking the language with a diversity text tool. Be transparent by stating your benefits such as parental leave and flexible working policy (or provide a link to your website with these) and outline the interview process, if possible, as well. Collaborate internally to have both talent and legal review the job description once you have a draft. If you can involve a diverse range of people in reviewing the job description this will help to pick up any bias.
Sell, sell, sell
You want to capture a candidate’s attention as soon as possible, so try to outline what is unique and exciting about your company and this position early on. Think beyond just the short-term and try to showcase future progression and legal opportunities available. Talk about what support and development you can offer. Let the candidate know what they will get in return for joining your business.
While a decent job description can help bring in new talent, it will also serve as document to gauge performance and build in training plans for current employees. If a job description is accurate your in-house counsel will have a clearer sense of purpose and loyalty when they join, which will help with longer term retention in your legal team.
If you would like further support creating job descriptions or would like a template please do reach out to email@example.com. If you have any questions about this article or if you need support hiring your next in-house position, please get in touch.