5 pitfalls of teacher recruitment – and how to avoid them

5 pitfalls of teacher recruitment – and how to avoid them

Teacher recruitment today is complex and presents many challenges unique to the current climate. With the help of or most experienced education recruitment consultants located throughout Australia, we list the common teacher recruitment pitfalls and how schools can avoid them.

Rushing to advertise
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.

Time-consuming, disruptive application processes
In a competitive market and in a day-and-age where technology has made applicants accustomed to efficient ways to find and secure jobs, it is important to create a candidate journey that makes it easy for candidates to do what they need to do to learn about the job, self-select, easily access application forms, and apply.   Having an advertisement point to a website that lacks easy-to-find information relevant to employment can disrupt the candidate journey. If candidates are not able to quickly and easily access the information they need, there is a high likelihood they will not proceed with an application. Equip your website with engaging, employment focused content. Choose job boards that host more than just an advertisement.  Use recruiters known for their ability to efficiently connect you with quality candidates and move applications across in a timely manner. It is important to never rush a recruitment campaign, however prolonged gaps between advertising and interviewing can disrupt the candidate journey and lead to many applicants withdrawing because they have secured work in other school faster.

The technical fit is most important
Schools need to do more to attract and engage applicants. It is a competitive market and more needs to be done to sell the benefits of your school. Despite this, we still see too many advertising campaigns favouring the technical components of the job.  What interests candidates most is the organisational side of the job. Be sure to create advertisements that focus on your school’s culture and the organisational offerings and requirements. This is not easy to do in a single advert so make sure your website has a dedicated career page that you can link advertisements to. 

CV assessment and interviews are my key selection activities
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 applications 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.

The job is done once the appointment is made
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. 

Tyson Wood is the manager of Smart Teachers, an organisation helping principals source highly qualified and suitable teaching staff for their schools since 2005.