Education recruitment has seen a shift that none of us could have predicted at the start of the year.
And whilst your school may be closed to pupils over the Christmas break, it doesn’t have to be closed to candidates too.
We need more and more teachers as the demands on teaching increases. Recruitment in schools is no longer a start of term activity, it’s a year-round task. Even if you don’t have an urgent vacancy to fill, you should always be recruiting. Even if it’s to build a talent pool for future vacancies so that you can become less reliant on agencies.
2020 has posed a significant challenge to many schools when it comes to education recruitment. So, what can you do to make sure that you are still effectively filling those must fill roles during these turbulent times?
Some of your recruitment process may already be digitised. Or you may still be using traditional methods, but most of these are no longer fit for purpose. The need to move to a complete virtual interview process is essential for you to continue to hire the best. It’s not just considering candidate attraction, interviewing and vetting either. These are processes – tick box exercises if you like. More important is still being able to make sure that you are employing the right teachers without, in some cases, having actually met them?
Here’s our top 5 tips for taking your education recruitment process online –
Enjoy a tea break
This should really be the first stage of any interview process. Arranging an online ‘tea break’ means that your candidate will feel more relaxed. This will give you a much better insight into their natural personality as opposed to ‘interview mode’.
Have a more informal chat to help you understand what they know about your school. Find out what attracted them to apply. What they would be most looking forward to if they joined you. But keep the chat light-hearted. You will find out a lot of useful information, which will be key to make sure that they can fit into your current team. With all this information you can then decide if they are suitable to be progressed to the next stage.
Utilise your ‘employer brand’
There’s still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to people moving schools right now. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still attract great teachers to your school.
The corporate world has embraced employer branding in recent years and are benefiting from reduced agency fees, increased talent pools and higher retention and satisfaction levels. This is possible for schools too. Even before the pandemic, one in five teachers were looking to leaving the profession in the next 2 years. And with teacher training targets being missed, recruiting teachers is only set to get harder!
To get your employer branding right, start with your job description and sell the teaching experience. Don’t focus on what the candidate can do for you – focus on what you can do for the candidate. Do you have great facilities, an excellent CPD program? Set yourself apart!
Prepare Your Questions
Are your usual interview questions still relevant to online interviewing? Do you need to add additional questions about overcoming hurdles to return to school? In education recruitment, there’s lots more you need to consider now. With reports of increased anxiety among teachers about returning to school after Christmas, it’s advisable to share with candidates how you are keeping everyone safe and sharing any additional plans for the future.
Make sure that you are not only using your standard interview questions. Allow the candidate more time to ask their own questions – as they are sure to have many. Some schools have added this as an extra step in their interview process. This enables candidates to connect with other teachers at the school to ask very frank questions about future plans.
Use an Interview Panel
You can either have multiple steps of the virtual interview with your senior leadership team, or you can keep the interview process to a limited number of steps and use an interview panel. With simple, and free, tech like Zoom, you are able to conduct 30-40-minute interviews with a number of attendees. We would recommend keeping this to a maximum of 3 interviewers though as more than that can be counter effective.
This is a great way to get a range of feedback too and you may find that members of the interview panel have differing views. Putting everyone’s feedback together will give you a more rounded view of the candidate’s suitability. This will help to reduce the feeling of risk when it comes to making a hire.
Ways to Assess Classroom Competency
This may be one of the most challenging areas to take online. However, there are lots of new ways of assessing classroom competency in the ‘new normal’. If you normally ask candidates to plan and conduct a lesson, then you can simply do this online. Why not get a number of your team together and using video conferencing for your candidate to give a lesson? In fact, teaching online is a skill that all teachers will need moving forward, so it’s great to assess this now.
If the candidate is applying for a more senior role, you can ask them to complete an organisational or time management task. They can then present this to you during an online interview.
To help support that changes in education recruitment, the Evolve Teachers app and online platform connects schools and teachers directly. We provide a streamlined solution for schools to advertise roles on our platform, to select teachers for permanent roles via our database and to recuse the cost of supply by directly booking staff.