No matter the time of year, school districts need to prepare for future hiring needs. Just like how each school’s student population evolves year-over-year, educator and staffing needs change.
The 2020 to 2021 school year particularly challenged the education industry. Many school districts not only had to shift hiring to a virtual process but also had to factor in hiring teachers who could successfully instruct from a video platform.
Numerous schools found success by integrating video interviewing tools into their long-term hiring process. Take Irving Independent School, for example. They wanted to ensure they were making the most informed hiring decisions while still ensuring the safety and well-being of their team. Switching to video interviewing helped them safely and thoroughly screen candidates.
“Spark Hire is really a game-changer in a time when we are all still being careful about face-to-face interactions. This allows both candidate and interviewer to gain a sense of what each is looking for and can offer before spending the time and energy with a face to face interview.”
You can see similar success for your hiring team no matter your goals. In order to develop the best hiring plan for education, you need to:
- Identify your district’s specific needs
- Use the best hiring resources for education
- Track your results
Here’s a deeper look into these hiring for education strategies and the hiring resources you need to know about:
Identify your needs
In order to hire and retain the best teachers and staff members, you must understand your district’s unique needs.
For example, if you’re a smaller district, it can be difficult to attract and retain top talent. To find the right teachers and support staff to make your school successful, you need the best hiring resources for education.
Take the Tulpehocken Area School District for instance.
The small district of three schools greatly improved its hiring process by adding technological resources to its talent acquisition strategy. Once they began using video interviewing, they were better able to assess candidates and determine if they’d be a good fit for the schools. Now that video interviewing is part of the district’s hiring plan, they can confidently fill all their open positions each year.
Inventory teaching staff
Think about the status of your teachers. Are teachers planning to retire or move out of the district? This information will help you determine how many positions you need to fill before the new school year.
Aside from identifying upcoming, vacant roles, you have to consider the specific traits and skills new hires will need to be successful in your district. As any good educator knows, a teaching license isn’t the only requirement for a teaching job. Depending on the position, there are different types of personalities and skills that will be the best fit.
Once you’ve identified the exact grade level and/or subject you need to hire for, the next step is to look at your current pool of employees. Identify what traits have made them successful.
For example, if you’re looking to hire a third-grade teacher and currently have a popular teacher who has been with the school for 15 years, think about what makes them unique. Then put these types of qualities on your list of hiring criteria.
Understand your district’s pitfalls
Typically, small districts operate on smaller budgets and don’t have access to the advanced hiring resources for education they need to make the most informed decisions. This makes it difficult to sell these districts to teachers.
For instance, hiring for roles in a small rural town, it can be hard to attract young talent who may prefer the excitement of a city. By understanding how these circumstances appeal to talent up front, you can find a way to highlight the unique benefits your district has to offer.
Don’t try to hide the potential negatives of working in your demographic area. Instead, focus on finding talent who appreciate these factors. Young teachers might not be interested in living in a rural district, but people with a family are probably looking for someplace quiet to settle down. Aiming for the right target ensures you’re hiring educators who are happy to stick with your school district long term.
Know your culture
Every work environment has a distinct company culture. Schools are no different. However, people are sometimes unaware of what makes their school culture unique.
To define your school’s culture, think about what unites the employees. These are some telling factors to consider:
- What does everyone talk about in the teacher’s lounge?
- How do you approach educating your students?
- How do you define school pride?
- What does everyone love most about the work environment?
- How do teachers connect outside of the classroom?
Your hiring team needs to be able to answer these questions when sourcing new hires if you want to secure top talent for education.
Refine the hiring process
Hiring for educational positions is not the same as hiring for other jobs. So the approach and resources you use should be different. To effectively find talent, you need to understand these distinctions.
Write better job descriptions
Job descriptions for an educational role might seem cut and dry. You list the responsibilities of the job and the needed experience. But keeping things this simple will not help you find the best educator for the job.
Excite talent about your school. Include information about the culture. Talk about what makes your institution a unique and engaging place to work. But also focus on the community and families the teacher will connect with and have an impact on. This will attract better-suited talent who will love working to serve and educate in your district.
Improve candidate experience
Nobody enjoys the job search. It’s long, arduous, and often full of disappointments. Candidates will appreciate anything you do to make the process a little easier. Implementing video interviews for the initial screening round accomplishes just that.
Teachers are very busy and have classes at different times. Plus they are often committed to after-school activities, acting as coaches, or event volunteers.
Video interviewing allows them to respond to your questions when it’s convenient for them.
- This means nobody has to waste time scheduling a phone interview.
- The candidates can record their responses when and where they are comfortable.
- The convenience of reviewing the responses means hiring decision-makers can respond faster.
The longer the hiring process takes, the more resources and employee time is wasted. Any inefficiencies in the process also mean wasting hiring funds. And if the candidate ends up being a bad fit, the outcomes are even worse.
One of the most time-consuming parts of the interview process is scheduling. Emailing back and forth to find a time to speak face-to-face with a candidate can take days. However, if you use the right interview scheduling tool, that is cut down to mere minutes.
When you find a qualified candidate, send them the link to your calendar. They can find a time that works for both of you and request an interview. This keeps your schedule organized while eliminating the time you use to spend managing it. It also improves your candidate experience. Potential new hires can see you value their time and look for ways to support their time management right from the start.
Take, for instance, Savanah-Chatham County Public School System’s success with switching to a video interview platform. They were drowning in applications. Because they couldn’t keep up with the influx of educators applying for their open roles, they were losing valuable time and resources (and consequently, patience) with their sluggish screening process.
They decided to try Spark Hire’s video interviews to streamline hiring. As a result, their hiring team screens candidates up to 5x faster than with their previous phone interview process.
Look outside your area through referrals
By expanding your search to other areas, you can find the talent you need. However, putting your job descriptions up on national sites isn’t enough. Start an employee referral program to tap into quality talent around the country.
It’s important to be as transparent of your hiring needs as possible with your entire team.
- Let your current staff know about the exact positions you have open for the coming year.
- Provide them with a link to candidate resources they can share with their referrals.
- Highlight key skills and personality traits you’ve already identified that are successful in the role.
- Make them aware of hard requirements for the position and those you can be flexible on.
Then, give them all the links to your interview scheduling page. They can then pass it along to people they know who are looking for new opportunities.
Since your employees already know what it’s like to work for your district, the candidates you receive will be informed about the work environment, making it less likely for them to turn down an offer.
Have a more thorough application process
Teaching is the perfect job for a skills test. In fact, it’s one of the most important careers to apply skills testing. Harper Creek Community School district learned how important it is to have a reliable way to assess essential skills early in the screening process.
Their hiring team kept running into the same problem. They would identify a promising candidate on paper, but when they brought them in for an in-person interview, they didn’t leave the same impression. They were desperate to improve their candidate insight and find applicants who matched the skills listed in on resumes sooner.
Harper Creek Community Schools switched to using Spark Hire’s one-way video interviews to screen talent early. The quick video clips made it easier to get a read on candidates before scheduling interviews, and their team was able to make more confident hiring decisions faster.
You can take your video interviews one step farther by incorporating brief auditions. For example, after you switch to video interviewing, ask candidates to give a short lesson. Let them know ahead of time what topic you’d like them to cover so they can prepare. This will give you a better idea of how they approach teaching.
Track the results
There are always ways to improve on hiring resources for education. By looking at recruiting and hiring data, you can identify changes you need to make before next year.
Measure quality of hire
Hiring is a science. There are patterns that occur, and if you understand them, you can better predict great hires in the future. But first, you need to track quality of hire metrics.
There are four big things to look at when:
- Candidate source
- Candidate qualities
- Employee performance
- Employee retention
Comparing these factors will show you insights that help you identify great talent. For example, if you hired a particularly great teacher last year, look at what stood about him or her in the interview process.
How did you find the candidate? Did they answer interview questions in a specific way? As time goes by, you can look back at how some of your most loyal and successful employees did during the hiring process and how your hiring resources for education paid off.
A great video interviewing platform allows you to make notes about what a candidate did or said. You can revisit those videos and compare them against your current batch of candidates to see who has similar traits.
Refine the process
Tracking quality of hire metrics will also show you where there are holes in your process. You’ll see what led to bad hires and be able to correct those mistakes immediately.
For instance, if several candidates, who eventually left the school, gave a stellar answer to a particular interview question, stop asking that question. It’s drawing you to the wrong type of candidate.
Identifying what works and what doesn’t will also help you streamline the hiring process. You’ll be able to cut out steps that are ineffective. The hiring team will also be able to spot great candidates sooner.
The best part: this will impress the best candidates. By moving quickly, you’ll have happier candidates who will quickly become happy employees.
Having the right hiring resources for education can make or break a small district’s ability to find the employees they need. But by following this guide you’ll be able to identify what positions you need to fill and effectively move through the hiring process.