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A day in the life of a legal recruitment consultant - Claire Blackburn

A day in the life of a legal recruitment...

I have worked in legal recruitment for over 7 years now and my Dad still doesn’t know what I do. It got me thinking, does anyone outside the world of recruitment know what a recruitment consultant actually does on a day to day basis? Here is a snap shot of a typical day in recruitment to give you an idea of what it is all about.

8am: Check my emails on the train, looking out for any last minute cancellations for todays interview so I can let my clients know sooner rather than later if a candidate cannot attend.

8.30am: Get into the office, sort out my diary for the day ahead – recruitment can be hectic with you constantly having to juggle several priorities and if I don’t use my diary properly I haven’t got a chance to stay on top of things. The phone usually starts ringing from this time onwards as candidates like to be able to speak to a consultant before they get into work or a partner might want to catch up regarding a new job brief before their day gets too busy.

9.00am: It isn’t unusual to have 50 – 60 emails from the evening to go through. All new registrations are sent to our CV team to be put on the system and then we put a note in our diaries to give them a call that day. We have to make sure every candidate is coded exactly to what they have done so we can match their background to our live vacancies. A new registration takes 15 – 45 minutes over the phone and often these happen over lunch when candidates can talk freely. Respond to any urgent emails and diarise the rest for later in the day.

10.00am: Work our live jobs. It will totally depend on how you organise your desk as to how many jobs you will work at any one time. I handle defendant insurance litigation recruitment so I would work between 20 and 40 live roles at any one time. Often I deal with a handful of clients who have multiple roles in each of their teams. Searching our database, calling and emailing candidates, and trying to match candidates with current opportunities takes up a large proportion of our day. We could make proactive 40-50 candidate calls a day, not to mention handling the calls coming in with new enquiries.

12.00: Lunch is a good time to meet face to face with candidates and do any administrative tasks like writing job adverts for our jobs boards and reply to any non urgent emails. It isn’t unusual to get 5-10 interview requests through per week and each candidate needs full preparation regarding the interview they are attending and a confirmation email sent. We never send a candidate in blind to a meeting so often each preparation call can take 15 minutes or so depending on the level of information we have for that client.

13.00pm: Grab a sandwich or eat lunch at our desks – there is rarely time for more than a 15 minutes break. Speak to the candidates that are only available during their lunch breaks about new job opportunities or to get them registered with BCL Legal. At various points in the week you will need to manage the process of the candidates you currently have “under offer.” This involves negotiating packages and terms of employment, liaising with our clients to release contracts and paperwork, and managing the offer process so the candidate has the right information in order to make the right decision about their career. Many firms will have lengthy screening processes before a candidate actually starts and this information needs to be collated.

14.00: Speaking to line managers about their requirements is a key part of our job and we spend several hours qualifying vacancies with line managers. We need to understand the situation in their department, the caseload, the recruitment process, the salary levels etc in order to fill their roles with suitable candidates. Quite often line managers will have an ideal candidate in mind and it is our job to work out where the flexibility in the specification is as normally the ideal candidate isn’t available.

15.00: Often our clients will want to meet face to face to discuss their specific requirement so it isn’t unusual to be out of the office for an hour, taking down a full job specification and giving them an update on the market.

16.00: Sending CVs over to active vacancies is a time consuming part of our job. We put together detailed front coversheets stating the candidates current situation and the background to their application. We try to break down the caseload and add further detail so a line manager can see quite quickly why a candidate is suitable for the role. Some firms operate a portal system so we need to complete their online CV application process on behalf of the candidate to formally register their CV and interest in the role.

17.00: Any non urgent tasks need to be put in tomorrows diary so they don’t get forgotten about. Again 5pm onwards is a good time to speak to candidates leaving work who are not able to speak freely in work time. You will probably have a few people who you have left messages for that you want to try again in the hope you can catch them. Every candidate we place needs to complete a registration form and send us a copy of their passport as proof of their entitlement to work so after work is a good time to try and remind candidates this documentation is needed.

18.00: I have quite a long journey home so I try to leave the office on the dot but at least once a week I will be in the office until 7pm or I will log in once I get home. BCL Legal runs various seminars for qualified and non qualified fee earners as well as sponsoring balls and events. All these happens outside of work and take a lot of organising. Luckily we have a great team of administrators who help out across the board or else we might never leave the office!

Recruitment is a demanding but rewarding career. If you are thinking about a change in direction and think you have what it take to be a recruitment consultant please get in touch with BCL Legal.


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