I grew up in the country so a fishing analogy in reference to hiring and recruiting the best teachers for your school district seems fitting.
When school districts need to fill open positions of teachers and administrators they often use one method, job postings. A job posting for a teaching position is one way to broadcast positions within the school district, but that doesn’t make it the most effective.
Fish for a Purpose
Where I grew up I could fish in lakes, ponds, and streams. Among those locations to fish there were countless types of fish to catch. The way I fished for one type of fish was completely different than methods for another type of fish. If I tried to use one type of pole, bait, fishing line, and method for all fish in all locations I could expect to catch something every now and then, but it was unlikely that I would be successful in landing something to be proud of. Simply posting a job and hoping for the best is akin to casting your line in the middle of a large lake without any knowledge of what you’re fishing for or how to catch them.
Shortage on the Horizon
District Administration.com warns of the coming shortage in education professionals:
- In 2009-2010, 32 percent of the workforce was over fifty years of age, placing about a third of teachers on track for retirement in the next ten years.
- The number of new teachers hired has dropped 50 percent in the past two years.
- The number of enrollees in teacher preparation colleges dropped from 75,000 to 45,000 from 2001-2002 to 2007-2008.
- The number of teaching credentials issued declined by 35 percent since 2004.
The need to identify what characteristics make an effective teacher and how to attract them to your district will be increasingly more important as each year passes.
Recruiting is the school districts activities that influence the number and/or types of applicants who apply for a position and/or affect whether a job offer is accepted. It is the purposeful actions taken by the school district to address their staffing needs. Clearly simply posting your school districts openings cannot be viewed a purposeful action.
When people seek employment it follows a continuum beginning with the desire to submit an application. This is usually followed by a site visit then a first and possibly second interview. The continuum ends with a job offer and hopefully acceptance from the candidate. Beginning this continuum does not guarantee completion. Obviously good selection practices will narrow the pool of candidates to the most desirable. A school district should also be concerned with effective candidates that were in the candidate pool (or those who never choose to enter) and why they “self-select out” and chose to no longer pursue employment in the school district.
Define your School District’s Mission and Values
Mission and vision statements seem almost cliche to many people, but they serve an important purpose. With everything that goes on in a school district, there should be an anchor that keeps the school district focused on why they exist, what they are trying to accomplish, and who they are at their core. During the process of recruiting and hiring teachers for a school district, applicants may self-select out if they perceive poor fit within the district. This is a good thing if your district is rooted strongly in a worthwhile mission and is guided by their values. You don’t want to bring on individuals whose values and objectives aren’t aligned with the focus of the school district. Research has also found that person-organization fit, or how well a person perceives their ideals fit in with that of the school district, is one of the strongest predictors of job pursuit intentions. In short, if they don’t agree with your mission and values, or if you don’t have either, applicants may be less likely to even consider applying. Applicants place a lot of weight on what they imagine their future job environment will be like when forming job acceptance intentions. Knowing this, your district should spend some time helping applicants who have passed the first round selection envision what it would be like to work in your school district.
Best Practices in Recruiting and Hiring Teachers
Perceptions of recruiting practices and processes can also heavily influence an applicants decision to pursue a position in a school district. Behaviors or personality of the person who interacts with applicants, delays in responding to applicants, selection practices that are perceived as unfair, or do not present an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate their abilities all affect an applicant’s desire to pursue employment within a school district. Individuals who recruit, or are on the front line of interacting with applicants should be personable and should be able to convey the mission and values of the school district and provide a realistic and positive preview of working in the school district. Those who interact with applicants should be able to describe the various stages of the selection process, and the expected time between each stage. Your selection process should be able to objectively identify the most qualified applicants and those who deal with applicants should be skilled it keeping those individuals in the applicant pool and eventually hired.
It is impossible to discuss everything a school district must do to attract and eventually hire the best teachers in a short blog post. We have multiple tools that can help your school district identify the competencies of the most effective teachers and we can help you develop selection tools and processes to attract and hire the best teachers. Hopefully the information provided here will give you a little more confidence as you fish the waters for the best teachers and staff members in your district. If you want to make sure you land the most effective teachers available, contact us at k12hrsolutions and let us help you bring the most effective teachers to your school district.