5 pitfalls of teacher recruitment – and how to avoid them

5 pitfalls of teacher recruitment – and how to avoid them

Today in Australia, teacher recruitment is complex and presents many challenges that are unique to our current education workforce. Finding quality educators for all children is our first priority and to get it right, we need to be working together. Ex-teachers - turned education consultant experts - from Smart Teachers in Australia, have put their heads together to list the most common recruitment pitfalls, and how schools can avoid them.

Uninspiring advertising

If you are spending money on advertising, it’s important to ensure that the message you are putting out there is going to attract the right type of candidates. Deciding on where to advertise can be a job in itself. It’s important to be strategic and discerning in the job boards in which you post your school’s vacancies in order to connect with the most appropriate teacher audiences. Gone are the days where a single advertisement worked well because candidate pools were plentiful. Today, in order to maximize exposure for your school it is important to engage in digital advertising that connects with teachers in innovative ways – capturing the attention of all teachers whether they are actively or passively looking for new career opportunities. Tes.com is a great example of how schools can connect with an education specific audience, both locally, interstate and overseas. Casting the net wide is imperative for increasing your chances in finding the most suitable candidates for your jobs. Apart from the wide reach, the Tes platform also gives you the chance to embed video into your job ads in order to further communicate the benefits of your school to a wider audience. Video particularly resonates more than the written word and can help your school stand out from the rest.

A bumpy application processes

If your application is confusing and/ or, laborious you risk loosing out on potential applicants. People are busy, and teachers even more so. A job ad that communicates the role responsibilities, the benefits and ethos of your school and provides a streamlined and simple application process will make it easier for teachers to apply and therefor increase the volume of applications you are able to receive. Retaining your applicants’ interest is vital in ensuring they follow your application process through to the end and in turn hopefully put together a more thoughtful and school-specific tender to your school. After this they also need to be engaged through your interview process, trial days (if applicable) and then contract negotiations. Schools who aren’t accustomed to creating or implementing a strong application process can certainly refer to the expertise of a recruiter to assist through the extensive recruitment cycle.

Unsuitable applicants

We have already mentioned the use of video in advertising to engage applicants, BUT we would encourage active engagement in attracting teachers to your school at all times of the year – not just when you need to advertise jobs. International schools overseas already do this really well, and Australian schools need to follow suit to ensure we are also ‘turning it on’ to constantly attract a steady stream of quality educators – particularly educators who suit your needs and that are going to resonate with the vision and ethos of your school. Investing in some marketing to create content to build your schools online presence can go a long way to representing you school and the values and educational philosophies that are important to your school community. Sharing your schools’ vision far and wide increases the chances of finding like-minded teachers that will resonate with this message and seek your school out for work above others. By doing this you in turn can attract candidates that will suit your school and help it grow and flourish in the direction you had envisaged.

The face value of a CV

Though the CV is central to our understanding of candidates, an over emphasis on the CV can leave a school deciding on the “what” rather than the “how” and “why” behind each candidate.  Schools can fall into a pitfall if they judge candidates on where they worked. Like attracts like because it is safe and familiar, however there are many outstanding candidates in other education sectors that have the values, philosophies, work ethics and teaching styles that align with your school. Dismissing candidates because they are not working in your sub sector or dismissing a candidate because they are working interstate must be avoided.  Introduce video interviewing technology so you can get an additional glimpse into the person behind the CV.  Incorporate lesson observations. Challenge candidates to contextualise and provide real life examples in interview. Create assessment rubrics that align with your teaching and employment standards and govern a variety of selection activities. Doing so will enable you to see how and why a candidate will bring benefit to your organisation, making it easier to hire nationally, internationally and from across sub sectors.

Your preferred candidate falls through

Outstanding recruitment campaigns do not end when an appointment is made. We see many appointments break down in the days and weeks after and offer is made and accepted.  The major causes are inconsistencies between the verbal offer and the contract, prolonged periods between the offer and contract dispersal.   It is important to plan your campaign so that recruitment synchronises with retention strategies.  Give feedback to the person you hired. Make it constructive and identify areas where your school will help develop.  Candidates like employees, value recognition and progression.  Using the information you gather to hire a person can easily map into professional development strengthening the induction of your new hire.  Have contracts ready in advance to quickly update and disburse.  Communicate with candidates especially over the summer when the gap between recruitment and commencement is big.  If you are hiring new people in November, invite them to end of 2019 events and begin your induction ahead of 2020.