Joanna Marklove

Joanna Marklove

Director - National Insurance Team Manager at BCL Legal

A Day in the life of a BCL Legal Recruiter...

Jo worked as a private practice lawyer (as have over 60% of the BCL Legal team) before making the move into legal recruitment in 2007. With over 15 years of experience, who better to discuss what the role looks like day-to-day and what it takes to make a good legal recruitment consultant.

So when you think about recruitment what do you envisage?

...Do you see recruiters as having long lengthy chats with candidates, long lunch dates with clients and glamorous black tie dinners? Or do you see someone tied to a desk, constantly on the phone, for very long hours??

In truth, the life of a legal recruiter is always a real hybrid of things!

If you are thinking of a career move from law into agency it is really important when making the decision you have looked at all the angles and have a good grasp of what your day-to-day will look like.

If you are chasing all the fun parts of the role then it might not be for you...  Yes, we do spend a lot of time on the phone to candidates and clients and yes we do get invited to nice award events occasionally, and attend Junior Lawyer Division events we sponsor nationally, but life at the coal face is tough... Recruitment is in essence a sales role. 

You need to be a driven and tenacious individual who can self manage and be very self motivated and disciplined.

I say this as a seasoned recruiter who has been in the legal market for almost 15 years and have seen the highs, lows and all of the in-between! There really is no such thing as a dull moment!

As a recruitment consultant, you're the vital link between clients and candidates.

You’re responsible for:

  • Using sales, marketing techniques and networking to attract business from client companies and similarly interest from candidates in relation specific job vacancies and working with us
  • Developing a good understanding of client companies, their industry, what they do, their work, culture, environment and unique selling points of their current vacancies
  • Visiting clients to build and develop positive long term relationships with them
  • Attending ‘Preferred Supplier List’ agency briefings
  • Using social media to attract candidates, build relationships and your profile within your market
  • Drafting job adverts and posting across a range of job sites
  • Receiving and reviewing applications
  • Searching the database to identify and shortlist candidates for the client's vacancy
  • Contacting suitable candidates, via various different methods
  • Screening candidates, discussing their motivators – what are they looking for from their next move?
  • Sending candidate CVs to the client, highlighting relevant experience, skill set & strengths
  • Organising interviews for candidates, as requested by the client
  • Briefing candidates before their interview
  • Informing candidates about the outcome of applications and interviews
  • Negotiating on salary & package and finalising agreements between client & candidate
  • Offering advice to both clients and candidates on the current recruitment market and pay rates

What are your thoughts on the above list of responsibilities?  ...I would say there is very little room to take the foot of the pedal during the day... and you must prepare yourself that to some extent you don’t switch off. There is always something happening - calls to make, CVs to draft, briefing calls to attend, adverts to draft - and that’s just the basics.

You really have to have the focus to drive multiple processes forward at any given time, all the while constantly reassessing your desk priorities. Agency recruiters have to work smart. 

I like recruitment, I like the busy pace and the satisfaction I get from having achieved something at the end of a process.

It's great to get to know different legal teams, to be able to take new opportunities to market, speak to a variety of people and ultimately be able to put together a good shortlist for your client and hopefully place that urgent role for them.

If your thing is talking to people and thinking outside the box then a career in recruitment could just be for you... 

Another important factor - recruitment gives me great flexibility. I’m a mum of 2 young boys so being able to have solid family time, juggle school commitments and all the in-between bits is crucial for me. Yes it's hard... Yes I get to Friday and I'm ready for a large glass of wine, but my recruitment career at BCL allows me the flexibility I need to make it work. I’m not sure being a lawyer I would have had that balance.

With any role the time and effort you put in is key...

Are you going to make a good living in recruitment doing minimum hours and not going the extra mile?  ...Probably not, but it really does pay to put in that extra effort!

I have 2 ladies in my team who joined us to retrain, both ex-legal executives working in litigation, and they have seen both sides of the coin. Both now earn more money with out a shadow of a doubt and both like that their extra effort benefits their own bottom line at the end of the quarter.  Do they work hard? ...Yes - and do they have to be focused at all times... YES, but it works!

We have lots of lawyers at BCL who have taken the 'leap of faith' to retrain into legal recruitment with us... In fact, over 60% of the BCL Legal team come from a legal background.

We're currently hiring in Manchester and Birmingham... Considering a new career direction outside of the law?

Please get in touch with our Talent, Training & Marketing Manager, Jo Leaver, to  find out more.

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