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Legal Job Search Technology: The Missing Piece in Today’s Growing Legal Recruitment Market

| Career Insights

​​​​​​​Legal job search technology - as it currently stands – still has a long way to go to catch up to modern expectations of a data-driven and tech-focused legal market. In this article, we will be focusing on three areas we believe are missing in the job-seeker’s hunt: first, optimal search relevance, second, filtering options in displaying relevant job search results and third, transparency in the application process. 

What is keyword search technology?
 
To begin understanding legal job search technology, we need to first discuss what keyword search technology is. In one sentence, keyword search technology is a tool that search engines use in order filter through a large batch of data to match the keywords inputted.
 
Why is this important?
 
Whether you are a fresh graduate looking for his or her first job as a paralegal or an experienced practitioner looking to switch roles, you will invariably be relying on legal job listing boards/platforms to begin your job hunt.
 
Jobseekers will find that keyword search technology is commonly utilised by the recruitment industry as a tool to help filter through various job listings posted online. However, they will invariably encounter the following obstacles time and time again. First, the lack of relevant job search results despite inputting accurate words/terms. Second, missing filtering options in displaying job search results. Third, a lack of transparency in the application process.
 
Though these concepts may seem foreign at first, at The Legists, we believe it is through streamlining job search results, filtering options and job-hunt transparency, job-seekers will save time, energy and effort in their daily hunt for their ideal role.
 
Irrelevant and inaccurate legal job search results
 
One of the most common problems encountered by job-seekers is dealing with search engine results that continues to draw up jobs that are not relevant to the keyword(s) inputted. This is a prevalent, serious problem for generic job-boards as well as specialised legal recruitment platforms.
 
On a generic job board like LinkedIn, Indeed or even GoogleForJobs, a simple search for “Solicitor NQ” might draw up legal jobs that are either outside the applicant’s qualifications/experience (e.g. “Solicitor with 7 years PQE”) or bringing up search results that are irrelevant altogether (e.g. “Legal Recruiter” or “Senior Manager”). Troublingly, these issues also appear on specialised legal job boards.  We conducted a live search on a well-established legal job search platform using the keyword “Employment Solicitor” in the Birmingham area which brought up results such as “Family Solicitor”, “IP Solicitor” and “Education Solicitor” amongst other relevant employment solicitor positions.
 
So why does this happen? We believe these irrelevant, less accurate search results stems from keyword search technology. Currently, keyword search technology on job boards will scan the entire job board for job listings (including content within the job description). This means even if the job itself isn’t relevant to the specific keyword inputted, it will display that role as a relevant search result.  In the “Employment Solicitor” search example for instance, “Family Solicitor” was drawn up as a relevant search result because the job description mentioned the responsible recruitment agency is a “regulated employment agency”. As such, keyword technology – as it currently stands – still fails to fill a pressing need in the recruitment industry by providing relevant and also irrelevant search results for job seekers.
 
Lack of filtering options in legal keyword searches
 
Another common issue job-seekers face is the lack of options in narrowing down their job search choice. A quick search on generic job boards will show the choices are limited to relevancy, date posted, the type of company and experience level. On specialised legal job boards, the situation is no different. Job search function on legal job boards are restricted by two search options: by location and by occupation.
 
On more mid-range legal job boards, these might include job type, date posted, salary range, practice area/specialism and whether it is suitable for graduates.  Although these options allow for more accurate results, the order of these filtered job search results is not done in a chronological way. This means the job-seeker will still need to sift through pages of jobs, again wasting their time on something that could be remedied by an algorithm filtering system.
 
It is important to point out that this algorithm filtering technology is already incorporated in various industries and can be found in everyday life. One example is the online retail industry. If an online shopper is shopping for red jumpers on boohoo.com, a simple click for “jumpers” in its filtering box will invariably draw up 500+ results ranging from Christmas jumpers, patterned jumpers to orange jumpers. However, with boohoo.com’s filtering menu bar, online shoppers can use refine their search based on price, size, style and color etc. to narrow down the initial batch of search results to accurate search results only.
 
Simple and intuitive as this technology may seem, it is demonstrated that this algorithm filtering technology is still not adopted in a similar manner in the recruitment industry. This example is drawn up to highlight how the algorithm filtering system used by The Legists works in a similar manner but tailored for the legal recruitment industry. This system will be discussed in more detail in the final section of the article below.
 
Lack of transparency in legal job platforms
 
Third and arguably the biggest problem is the lack of transparency in the application process. Everyone who has looked for jobs online will have come across the situation wherein they applied for a role only to find out later from HR or a recruiter that the position has already been filled.  
 
To put this in tangible terms, a job listing in a generic job board might include when that job listing was posted. However, the actual job listing may be posted and circulating on the internet for weeks before the responsible HR personal or recruiter will take it down. On specialised legal recruitment platform, the date in which the job listing is posted will also be displayed but noticeably, there is no other intuitive follow-up mechanism, such as, a notification system on the progression of the job listing included.
 
This is unfortunate and it reflects how there is little incentive on the part of recruiters or even HR to update their many job listings once a certain applicant has filled the role. This means the job-seeker faces the additional hurdle of an opaque application system in addition to a problematic keyword search function and lack of filtering options.
 
How The Legists can help you?
 
Here at The Legists, our modern legal recruitment platform offers a solution to all of the most common problems job-seekers encounter in the job-hunt. We are confident that our legal recruitment platform is able to offer these solutions in light of our “Specialist Online Job Search Platform of the Year, 2019”, awarded by the SME News Business Elite.
 
First, we offer a sophisticated algorithm filtering system which means candidates will only find precise job results, saving them time, effort and energy. In addition to this, we offer plenty of job filtering options to allow job-seekers a tailored job-hunting experience.
 
The first job search option allows the job-seeker to select basic information about their ideal role (i.e. Practice Area, Position/Role and Location). This first function is in line with current job boards, whether it is generic or specialised. The second search function, or “Advanced Job Search” is what makes us different as it allows a diverse range of job seekers to tailor their search. With a click of a few buttons, a job-seeker can use the thirteen available filtering options, such as PQE Level, Employee Benefits, Sector, Salary Bracket, Type of Contract, Sector etc. to narrow their search which will provide them with precise job results.
 
This brief snippet of two filtering options on The Legists shows how we have made use of our sophisticated algorithm filtering technology available and applied it in the recruitment industry – a market where it is still under utilised.
 
Second, we add value by providing a tailored platform that benefits both recruiters and candidates by keeping the application process transparent. Every job listing that is displayed on The Legists will need to be updated periodically (every 21 days). As such, recruiters will need to provide updates whether they have begun the interview process for a job listing or whether the role has already been filled. This will be publicly displayed in the job description.
 
At The Legists, we believe by requesting recruiters to update their job listings, it would enhance the transparency behind the recruiting process, benefitting both recruiter and candidate. For recruiters, this ensures the right candidates accesses the right listing and for the job-seeker to find their job-hunting process simpler and smoother.
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