5 Ways to Dramatically Improve The Way You Recruit Teachers
This is an article to help you start finding great teachers tomorrow with 5 simple changes to your recruiting process. Why not? Sound impossible?
In the good old days, education used to be personalized and informal. Remember the ‘Little House on the Prairie…’ One-room schoolhouses with teachers playing the role of parent, educator, and friend… Today things are of course different, mass education requires speed, conformity, standardization.
As with most industries, technology is arriving, the knight in shining armor to disrupt the “fast food model”. We can now presumably replace the annual school classes with mass customization. Just like you can print your name on your Nike shoe, you will be able to curate your curriculum according to your strengths and ambitions.
But, again as with most industries, technology is an enabler, a catalyst, a tool by definition. Teachers can do much better work with enhanced technology, sure. But without the right teachers, education will not improve. And our main issue today is that we are missing teachers.
I’m not going to complain or propose policy… Forget that… We can’t depend on the government to solve our issues.
There is no shortage of potential candidates. Since the Great Recession, thousands of college graduates are languishing in the purgatory of unpaid internships.
Recommendation #1 : Who works for no applause?
To begin with, who works for no applause? Would you? We are expecting young adults with soaring student debt to jump into jobs with low salary, limited benefits, and inexistent professional development.
Take a page out of the playbook used by other industries. Don’t focus on the salary but at least do offer some kind of professional development. This doesn’t require any huge expense and can go a very long way in attracting young teachers. And don’t forget to mention it in the job description…
- An idea could be small internal workshops as a training investment. Well-respected peers teaching something they are obviously excited about can be hugely educational and can generate a lot of excitement.
- Another idea could be teachers observing other teachers in action. Build a one-on-one buddy system where each teacher gives and receives feedback on an ongoing basis.
- Finally, nominating small teams of in-house experts who research and implement teaching improvements (peer coaching, use of rubrics, differentiated learning) could also go a long way.
Recommendation #2 : Let's talk about benefits
You immediately think of expenses and overhead but I am talking about creative, bespoke perks that cost close to nothing and can make a huge difference. The point here is less about the actual benefit and more about the culture and caring attitude you want to communicate.
- One example could be, if you’re located in a moderate climate, offering a few outdoor perks such as access to the city bike sharing system.
- Another idea could be a couple of group tickets to annual fairs/events in or around the city.
- A costless benefit often offered by schools is a half-day group introduction to the city area. Here you don’t need a professional guide, a local colleague will do just fine…
Recommendation #3 : Realize you're selling!
You need both your job and your school to stand out! If you need an experienced teacher you'll probably have to persuade someone to move from an existing job, which they may be happy in. If you want an NQT (newly qualified teacher), they will have the choice of many schools perhaps from around the country. Make the job sound attractive from the start. Almost all teaching adverts start by asking for teachers who are 'outstanding'. If you start by talking about how your school helps teachers to become outstanding you'll get much more interest.
Recommendation #4 : Say goodbye to job boards and hello to social recruiting
Recruiting is merging with marketing. Job boards and agencies have forgotten how to innovate, how to improve their services and how to show respect for both candidates’ and employers’ evolving behavior and needs. Social media has come along to empower both employers and candidates in giving them back their reigns to the recruiting process. With 890m active users/day on Facebook and 288m and 100m on Twitter and LinkedIn respectively; forget those annoying negotiations with the middling job board salesperson who is leeching all your recruiting budget. If you decide to pursue social, it’s important that you’re prepared to put in the time and work needed for it to pay off. You have to create company profiles with relevant keywords and strong images, descriptions, and links. Share content that will engage targeted prospects and motivate them to apply.
And if you don’t have the time, you can find someone to do it for you. Partnering with a startup will take you a long way. Compared to large media companies you’d be surprised with the effort young techies are willing to put in to impress a new client…
Read more about social recruiting here.
Recommendation #5 : Learn how to talk, persuade and inspire the young teachers
Remember the "fast food model" we talked about? Most millennials went through that, as did you and I. This has done a lot of damage. Which young adult today dreams of growing up to look, talk and walk like Walter White from Breaking Bad (before he became Heisenberg). With his boring life and tweed jacket, such a life isn’t all that inspiring!
The Millennial generation helped to elect President Barack Obama and overthrew dictators in other nations by using social networks. They are optimistic, idealistic, pragmatic and resilient. They grew up with digital technology, including cellphones, the Internet, and web-based businesses. They think companies should have a "second bottom line" based on working for the public good.
We need a new vision for what tomorrow’s teachers will look like. To attract great teachers we have to paint a better picture for them to aspire to. And you can start by doing this in your ads, job descriptions, interviewing and even onboarding process. You must not only say but also truly believe and radiate that:
- The best thing about teaching is that it matters… Teachers around the world will have students who’ll grow up to be doctors who will, in turn, save lives, police officers who will in turn protect lives, mothers who will give life, politicians who will change history and the list goes on… Which profession can have such an everlasting impact? This generation believes in purpose more than any other. Make sure to show them how education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world!
- Teaching is one of the noblest and most respected professions out there… It is much more than explaining, giving the right answers and preparing for standardized tests. Teaching requires extreme altruism and integrity. It is about committing yourself to young adults you have never met before, their families and future generations…
Teachers are the only people who lose sleep over other people’s children. Every kid is one teacher away from being happy, successful, autonomous. And teachers need to wait for years to see the fruit of their labor. Never forget to remind potential candidates that good teachers earn enormous respect in every community…
- Everyone ends up caring only about their legacy on their deathbed… A teacher who has helped her student be a better son or daughter, brother or sister, parent, citizen, colleague will have no doubt about being remembered… Personally, there are a handful of people I will remember on my deathbed and one of them will be my 7th-grade teacher. Remind your candidates that being a teacher means going to bed every night with a clear conscience…
Concluding, teaching is not a career, it is a vocation and we have to uphold it as such. In your advertising, you should, of course, list job title, salary, benefits, and location for the best reply rate. But don’t be ashamed to promote the position in an emotionally enticing way. Appealing to the candidates’ emotions and sense of duty has helped us enormously at Movinhand. Check out a video campaign we ran in North America that turned viral (we made 114 hires in under 30 days only through this...)