How to Write Compelling Job Descriptions

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It’s hard to hire the right attorney. It takes considerable time and resources to hire one with the skills, character and personality needed to excel at your practice.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts lawyers employment will grow six percent through 2024, and anticipates increased competition among candidates. If you want to attract the top people in this applicant pool, crafting a strong job description is the first step.

Value of a good job description

An excellent job description includes key details.You don’t want to waste time sifting through unqualified or underqualified applicants, disinterested candidates or attorneys who simply aren’t a good fit. Spending time discussing the right profile with your team and crafting a compelling job description will save time and money in the hiring process because it lures the right, high quality attorneys to your vacancy

A compelling job description does the work of weeding out those who won’t meet expectations while attracting those who will.

Details to include

Whether you’re looking for recent graduates, lateral hires, or freelancers, if you want to score the best attorneys, a dynamic job description is vital. Focus on these three important components:

  • General description – This section should outline the most basic elements of the job and, importantly, should briefly describe your firm or company. The goal is to attract the attention of candidates that would be a good fit while providing enough information to help jobseekers understand whether they meet minimum qualifications. Firms that prefer to remain anonymous can remove identifying information, but should at least describe the culture of the firm. 
  • Responsibilities – This section is dedicated to communicating the details of the role, including any functions and responsibilities. Ideally, you’ll want to highlight some of the day-to-day tasks, such as “drafting and revising briefs” or “supporting the business transactions team.” This is an opportunity to explain to jobseekers how they will integrate into a larger team, and whether they will be client-facing. 
  • Requirements – Any required education, skills or experience should be outlined in this section, including years of experience and specialties. Any desired soft skills and talents, such as exceptional verbal or written skills, can be included. Other preferred personal attributes, such as being a self-starter or team player, are also helpful to add.

By focusing on these three areas you’ll have a robust, but concise, job description. Other additional information to consider including are project duration, working remote or on-site, salary and job hours (i.e. full-time, part-time, temporary, etc.). Remember, effective descriptions are more than a couple of lines. Bulleted lists ensure that important requirements stand out to applicants.

Differentiate your firm

One way to attract the best lawyers during the recruitment process is to position your firm to stand out from its competition. Surprisingly, firms don’t do this enough.

According to Dan Binstock, a partner at Garrison & Sisson in Washington, D.C., many firms focus on comparable pitches when making lateral hires. They sound “strikingly similar” to one another.

He recommends to “dig deeper” to distinguish from competitors. This philosophy can be applied to job descriptions.

For instance, if the job comes with prestige or the firm has argued prominent cases, share this information to differentiate the firm. Focus on selling a particular need rather than listing generalities about the company. Whether looking for laterals, new grads or contract attorneys, write the job narrative to really stand out to quality candidates looking for positions.

High turnover costs the legal industry approximately $9.1 annually in just the top 400 U.S. firms. At Hire an Esquire, we understand firms today need to be cost conscious, and our goal is to match our clients with the right people.

We review every job that our clients post to ensure it hits the important elements to help our clients score the best lawyers. Need help drafting the right job description? Hire an Esquire’s Recruiting Specialists are available to help you hone your desired attorney profile and write a compelling legal job description. Email us at info@hireanesquire.com and we’ll get in touch.

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