5 Proven Strategies for Hiring Teachers
Hiring teachers requires effort, commitment, and strategy. Convincing teachers to stay can be a challenge as well. Fortunately, the hiring strategies used by top charter schools aren’t a secret, so you can use them to fill your classrooms with the brightest teaching talent.
1. Create a Recruitment Calendar
Imagine this scenario: a great teacher quits. You have limited time to carefully select a candidate. With the clock ticking, you hire whoever is available and hope for the best. Multiply that by three teachers quitting. Now imagine that the same thing happens every year.
Not an ideal situation.
Identify patterns in staffing in order to prepare for the future. Keep track of when candidates are most likely to pursue other opportunities and plug this data into your recruitment calendar. Fill your pipeline with potential candidates in order to avoid scrambling for talent at the last minute.
The National Best Practices: Teacher Recruitment and Pipelines report recommends knowing your talent needs in December, since teachers tend to look for new positions in the new year. Such projections allow you to hire great replacements before they’re snatched up by other schools.
2. Use Digital Marketing to Promote Your School’s Brand and Opportunities
To build a pipeline, you need candidates. Digital marketing offers great opportunities to promote your school’s brand and job openings on a budget. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and job boards to paint a picture – what makes your school a worthy place of employment?
Keep an eye out for platforms that could introduce you to new candidates. The National Best Practices report highlights the case of an elementary education major, Katie Bennington. In her final year at Butler University, Katie won a prestigious award.
When Butler University posted news of the award on its Facebook page, the Director of Human Resources for an Indianapolis school district commented that she needed to come interview for the Washington Township district. Bennington wound up with an interview and shortly after, signed a Letter of Intent.
By staying engaged in the right places online, Washington Township recruited new talent with minimal competition.
3. Build Several Smooth Talent Pipelines
Proactively build pipelines from places that you already know produce great hires. When hiring teachers, charter schools find great candidates via:
- Referrals from existing employees
- Internal summer programs or apprenticeships
- Partnerships with universities
Introduce a referral bonus or gift for teachers who refer candidates that stay with the school for a year. Start a summer program that rewards successful participants with a full-time position upon successful completion. Pursue partnerships with universities to tap into fresh talent.
The National Best Practices report highlights three categories of vacancies that are difficult to fill when hiring teachers:
- Veteran teachers
- Bilingual teachers
- Special education teachers
This is another reason to build a strategic pipeline. For example, your referral system will allow you to tap into the network of your existing veteran teachers (who may know other experienced teachers), your bilingual teachers (who may know other bilingual individuals), and special education teachers (who likely know several other special education teachers). Your referral system will be one of your most effective tools for hiring teachers.
4. Organize Hiring Fairs (Not Job Fairs)
Great candidates don’t want to work just anywhere. They’re unlikely to apply to institutions where they don’t feel a connection to the mission, and it can be challenging to build a connection to a school’s mission during a one-off encounter at a job fair.
Hiring fairs are gaining traction over job fairs. Hiring fairs are focused, featuring a specific school or school network rather than all of the schools in a given area. During the hiring fair, teachers participate in an immersive event at the school that demonstrates what the institution is all about.
With proper marketing and organization, a hiring fair brings talent right to a school’s doors.
5. Improve the Applicant Experience
If you recently applied for a job, you know how frustrating Applicant Tracking Systems can be. Think about this when hiring teachers.
Good candidates do not have time for a prolonged interview process or poorly-designed tools. Other schools are competing for their attention, so they won’t put up with a frustrating application process. Assign a manageable number of candidates to each recruiter and set up a system wherein candidates are selected, interviewed, and hired within a reasonable amount of time.
Above all, make sure the application process is user-friendly. Ask yourself: Would I quit this application process and move on? If the answer is “yes”, you need may need a redesign or a new vendor.
A Quick Note About Retention
Don’t take your existing talent for granted.
If you do, you’ll get stuck in a vicious cycle of non-stop hiring, as you scramble to replace people who leave after less than three years. Offer pathways for advancement and leadership opportunities for excellent teachers. Cultivate an atmosphere of trust so that teachers feel comfortable sharing their needs or concerns.
Retention programs and professional development opportunities don’t need to break the bank. Often, making an employee feel valued is more about the recognition itself rather than the price tag of the incentive. Call out teachers who reach a milestone or win an award. Create a recognition process that allows teachers to highlight their peers when they feel they have done an exceptional job. Encourage an atmosphere of positivity with occasional, fun, team building activities. Hiring teachers is tough. Try to keep it to a minimum by keeping those you’ve already hired happy.
Charter School Directory Vendors can help with Hiring Teachers
Do you need help recruiting teachers or managing your pipeline? Are you having difficulty moving qualified candidates through the hiring process? Our directory has all of the leading vendors in the Human Capital Management space. Browse our directory to find the perfect vendor to assist you with finding new talent, refining your application process, developing your benefits, and more. We also have vendors who specialize in Professional Development, to help you retain the great teachers you already have.