Graduate recruitment in the legal sector is an extremely competitive market. It is therefore important that law firms stand out from the competition by using different marketing techniques. Tela have conducted research into the top 50 UK law firms and the different marketing techniques and online tools they use to attract and recruit graduates.

Do top 50 UK law firms use microsites for graduate recruitment campaigns?

50% of the top 50 UK law firms use a microsite to host their graduate recruitment content. The rest of the law firms use dedicated landing pages on their main website to provide supporting information about their graduate schemes.

A graduate recruitment website set up as an independent platform has the potential to perform better in comparison to the information being hosted as part of the main site. One reason for this is that the information would not get lost or become diluted amongst the law firm’s other content. A microsite also has greater opportunity to rank well in search engines and attract traffic for specific search terms such as ‘law firm graduate recruitment’, which will give your law firm the opportunity to rank for more than one keyword string, specific to graduate recruitment.

Presenting the content on a microsite also offers greater flexibility to change the content and the way in which it is presented into a format which will be more appealing to a graduate audience.

The Allen & Overy graduate microsite is a good example of a website that uses visually engaging content to appeal to graduates. It offers a completely different experience to the main A&O website, with a slick design and modern feel. Using both moving images, video and other engaging forms of content, the design works well to appeal to graduates by using lifestyle focused images, rather than traditional corporate style shots. It has understood the target audience and created a design that will engage with end users. If the site does a better job of engaging with visitors it has a better chance of being successful in increasing the number of applicants to the graduate scheme.

What is the most popular candidate management system for law firm graduate scheme applications?

Law firms will often use an online recruitment system to enable them to manage the intake of graduate applications. These help make the recruitment process more straightforward for both the law firm and the graduate as all the application information and associated functionality can be stored in one place.

After assessing the top 50 UK law firms graduate scheme applications, there was a clear preference in the system used. It seems that Apply4Law is most popular, with 44% of the top 50 using them as their preferred technology provider. Apply4Law has developed its own CMS (Candidate Management System) to allow firms to monitor all aspects of graduates applications in one place while being “designed to maintain the look and feel of [the] firm’s brand”.

Coming in second with 22% of law firms using them as part of the recruitment purposes is CVMailUK, a student law portal. Both CVMailUK and Apply4Law make it easier for the graduates applying as they can apply for multiple graduate schemes with a range of different law firms all in one place.

Other solutions used include BrassRing (6%), Oracle Taleo Recruiting Cloud Service(4%), Engage|ats (2%), GTIS (2%), and their own application system (8%).

Use of Video Content

24% of the top 50 UK Law Firms use some form of video on their graduate recruitment microsite/landing pages. Video can act as a captivating and engaging form of content if used properly.

Job posts can get up to 36% more applications if they are accompanied by a recruiting videoSource

Through the use of talking heads videos, which 20% of the top 50 law firms are using, graduates can get an insight into the working culture of the firm. It is much more engaging to have content presented in this structure, rather than in big blocks of text. Talking heads videos have a more natural flow and are a good way to promote key messages.

As a result of the lack of video content being used on graduate recruitment websites, this offers a big opportunity for any law firm looking to stand out amongst the competition to graduates applying. Video content can be digested more easily than reading long pages of text, and can often be much more engaging for users.

FAQs Pages

FAQ pages are crucial in delivering an amalgamation of key information and questions that are commonly asked by graduates. There are multiple benefits to having this style of content included on your law firms graduate recruitment website:

  • Individual questions can rank really well on search engines
  • You are addressing the users (graduates) needs
  • They help build trust and confidence in the law firm

60% of the top 50 law firms are taking advantage by having this style of content displayed on their website. The sites containing an FAQ page offer graduates an easily digestible page of content that can answer key questions and give graduates a head start in their applications.

Face to Face Engagement

In the research conducted by Tela, we also wanted to identify the kind of opportunities for face to face engagement each law firm offered, to give graduates a feel for the firm before deciding to apply to their graduate scheme. From the top 50 UK law firm websites, 36% made it clear they would be attending law fairs and 32% that were attending open days.

Another form of engagement that only 12% of the top 50 law firms were taking advantage of is networking events. These give graduates the opportunity to meet and greet lawyers working at the firm, while also giving them the chance to ask important questions that would influence their choice of firm when it comes to applying to a graduate scheme.

Interestingly, only 2% use webinars as a form of engagement with students and graduates. Webinars can be a really good way of allowing students to have more ‘face time’ with a law firm. They are not only cost effective, but they also allow a large audience to be engaged with the brand for a long period of time.

“92% of webinar attendees want a live question and answer session at the end of a webinar” – Source

Webinars can be interactive, allowing questions from the students and giving the webinar the chance to evolve with the audience in real time.

Application Process

The most popular recruitment method used for the law firms graduate schemes is an assessment day, with 34% of the top 50 using this during the application stages. 18% of the top 50 UK law firms also require graduates to complete a test to allow them to assess their capabilities. 6% mention that graduates need to take a Watson Glaser test, a form of critical thinking exam that explores the graduate’s ability to assess and understand various situations.

Interestingly, only 1 of the top 50 law firms mentions on their website that they will provide feedback to applicants that didn’t pass the application process.

Depth of Content

Considering that the purpose of a graduate recruitment website is to provide information, the depth of the top 50 law firm graduate recruitment sites, based on the pages listed in the top level navigation, only range from a depth of between 0 and 12 pages. The majority of the top 50 law firms (16%) have 8 pages listed in their top-level navigation, suggesting that the amount of information provided to graduates is kept to a minimum and presented in an easily digestible format with images and video content.

It is clear from the research that many of the top 50 UK law firms could improve their online presence for graduates using various digital marketing methods. There are opportunities in the market for law firms to use tools such as webinars, further video content and engaging microsites to stand out among their competition. In the competitive field of graduate recruitment, law firms should be doing as much as possible to take advantage of their online presence and ensure that graduates can easily apply to and also have all their questions answered in one place.


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