Going on a job hunt: a candidate's perspective

What is it like trying to get a job in the recruitment crisis? One teacher explains how schools could make themselves more attractive to potential staff

Grainne Hallahan

Could coronavirus solve the teacher recruitment crisis?

As sure as death and taxes, a member of your staff will, at some stage, want to move on and you’ll have to advertise their position. Although it’s a routine procedure, schools don’t always get it right.

What could make the process better?

Honesty is the only policy

Schools that are honest about the context definitely stand out. When teachers move on, it isn’t always for a school that is perfect. If a school is on a journey to improve, then you will want staff who are behind you with making changes. The advertisement for posts should reflect that.

Tours are the way forward

A teacher who wants to see the school beforehand is one that you should value. If they’re giving up their time to come and view the school, then you need to pay them the courtesy of giving a proper tour. Make it clear in your advert that you would welcome a tour or visit.

Create a realistic and up-to-date job specification

The job specification is the first thing people check when considering moving to a new school. Therefore, you need to make sure that yours is up to date and attractive to potential candidates.

Job specifications where you are using out-of-date terminology or illogical job responsibilities will put off savvy candidates, who can see that they will be walking into a disorganised workplace. You want to attract the best talent and therefore job specifications need to be double-checked and thought-through to make sure they are as error-free, attractive and realistic as possible.

Forms within forms

If a candidate has decided to apply, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with an overly complicated application process.

Leaders should make the application process as simple as possible. Too often, I have seen tricky forms that require particular software to open it and edit. Or when you do try to edit something, every box on the page jumps about and the entire process takes three times too long.

When faced with a monstrosity of a form, it makes candidates less likely to apply. It would be a shame to miss out on a great teacher just because of your application process.

Arranging the interview

Is this a test? The school have sent across the details of the lesson but I’m missing half the things I need to know in order to plan it. 

Do schools do this because they want to see if you ask? Or because they forgot? Or because they don’t expect you to take it into account? 

Make sure you give the candidates the basics: size of the class, equipment available and a brief idea of what the prior learning has been.

Let them know

In an ideal world, you would be calling candidates back that day to let them know your decision. If that isn’t possible, then give them the timescale of when they can expect your call. If you leave your candidates hanging for days on end, then you can’t be suprised if they accept a different offer in the mean time.

Grainne Hallahan has been teaching English in Essex for 10 years. She is part of the #TeamEnglish Twitter group and tweets from @heymrshallahan

Tes have a range of ways we can help you find the right staff. Check out our Recruitment Products page for more details.

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