In 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a mere 3.6%, a near 50-year low.…
In the field of education management, you can’t afford to hire sub-par talent.
The decisions you make and the policies you enforce will have a direct impact on an entire student community. As such, it’s wise to fill your vacancies with only the best.
That said, how do you find and secure the right recruits?
It all begins by following the best hiring practices. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain and sharing our top 15 ways you can attract the ideal candidates and turn them into superstar hires.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Define Your Recruitment Process
When it comes to effective hiring practices, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As with any other business process, it’s important to create and follow a scheme that’s sized for your needs.
Develop a set of steps that your hiring team can follow with every new opening. These might include the following milestones:
- Draft the job description, allowing recruiters and key stakeholders to offer their input on duties and responsibilities
- Post the opening on select websites that fit your niche and ideal candidate population
- Review candidates as they come in, with a process in place to eliminate unqualified applicants
- Vet the remaining candidates through a series of pre-screens, phone interviews, in-person meetings, and more depending on your setup.
2. Consider a Referral Program
Advertising a monetary bonus for anyone who makes a referral that turns into a hire is a great way to build a sense of teamwork and community.
For one, it can be a cost-effective way to find some of the top talent in your area, personally recommended by employees that you already know and trust.
While many job seekers find positions through networking, make sure the applicants that show up at your office door are qualified to perform the roles. In most cases, you’ll find that current employees only recommend potential colleagues who are qualified, skilled and responsible.
3. Network the Right Way
The right way to network? Make your organization as visible as possible.
Attend industry events, including trade shows and conferences, and bring your A-game. Sit in on a local club meeting for young professionals in your area. Work to strategically position your organization’s leaders as speakers at the events that your organization attends.
You can also drive that same talent to you.
Hold in-depth recruitment days at your office, where prospective candidates can visit, tour and learn more about what you do. Prioritize transparency and visibility and you’ll be the first place candidates turn when they’re ready to apply.
4. Build a Strong Brand
Research shows that 70% to 90% of the buyer’s journey happens before the first contact happens. This also applies to recruiting.
If applicants are going to make up their mind about you before getting to know you, make sure it’s a positive connotation.
Build long-term client relationships with a commitment to customer satisfaction. Establish a concrete presence in your community by attending and sponsoring local events. If you’re a school the best way to build your employer brand is to ensure that your school is providing an excellent education. Encourage your parents and students to be your ambassadors
Create a robust website and social media presence, embracing digital marketing to expand your reach. Create and share informative content to become the go-to thought leader in your niche.
Over time, your brand presence will evolve and your reputation will precede you in the best way.
5. Focus on the Candidate Experience
How would candidates rate your interview and hiring process? If they leave feeling confused, misunderstood or upset, it’s time for an overhaul.
It’s important that your first in-person interaction be a great one so candidates can shout it from the rooftops!
Make sure the job description is accurate, show up on time and prepared for the interview, provide a genuine team welcome and exchange constructive feedback with each candidate.
Remember – the candidate isn’t the only one trying to sell themselves. The most successful employers understand that they are trying to sell the organization, the team, and the role as well!
6. Revamp Your Offboarding Process
One of your richest resources when looking for new hires? Your former employees.
While plenty of recruiters give all of their attention to the process for bringing on new employees, it’s also important to have a smooth offboarding process.
During the exit interview, gather their feedback, wish them well going forward and offer to serve as a reference. Maintain contact with them after they leave. If they had a great experience with your organization, they’re apt to recommend you, even if they no longer work there. They may even be willing to come back, armed with a more robust skill set than before.
All we’re saying is, treat exiting employees as the talented professionals that they are. Think of how you’d want to be treated. Create an amicable environment that encourages employees to speak well of your organization long after they’ve moved on. If you keep these things in mind, they’ll be your cheerleader long after they leave.
7. Leverage Recruitment Technology
Looking for more qualified leads? Today, you’re no longer limited to posting a job advertisement in the “Classifieds” section of your local newspaper.
Rather, you now have access to a myriad of software programs, tech-savvy recruitment tools like Saba or Jobscore, and sector-specific platforms like WorkMonger and TrulyHired that can help you find the hires you need as soon as possible.
If you’re an education organization looking to fill non-teaching roles with talented, diverse leaders committed to educational equity and transformation, then leverage our services!
When you become a WorkMonger Employer, we’re able to analyze 30,000+ education-focused JobSeeker profiles to match each position you submit. Then, we proactively contact each JobSeeker match to turn them into interested, active applicants for the position.
If you need additional talent-sourcing support to enhance your talent pool and screen applicants, we can help! We’ll also post your job to TrulyHired, our national education job-board as well as numerous national job boards, such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Glassdoor. Looking for help with your headhunting? We cover that as well. And since our team members have deep connections across the US at various school districts, charter schools, education nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and for-profit education enterprises, you’ll be able to tap into our personal networks. But enough about us!
You may also want to consider automated resources that help you eliminate unconscious bias across your entire hiring process, ensuring you approach each candidate as fairly as possible. Augmented writing software like Textio uses it’s Bias Meter to detect bias language. You can also use their Flow feature to request suggestions for positive, fair and engaging language that will excite candidates and encourage them to apply to your job posts.
8. Involve Your Teams
In a nutshell, collaborative hiring means stepping away from the one-on-one interview setup and instead, making it more of a team effort.
No, you don’t need everyone in your organization to sign off on a new hire. Yet, the reality is that the new hire won’t be working in isolation. Involve key stakeholders and department leads, taking their input to heart.
Your colleagues will be able to ask more specific, pointed questions about the role, helping you weed out unqualified applicants and improve the quality of each hire. They can also provide insight on whether or not a prospect’s values, skills and work history are a good match for the job.
This process also helps to increase the buy-in your current employees have into the ultimate hiring decision. Why? Because they were a genuine part of the process and their opinion was valued. Furthermore, they’ll have a better grasp of how best to work with the new hire and how they can quickly begin contributing to the team.
9. Invest in Quality, not Quantity
Do you have five open positions in your K-12 organization? That’s a ton of overhead.
Instead of trying to fill five positions, consider revising the requirements. Could you find two top-tier matches instead, upping the salary along with the workload? While this won’t work in every situation, in some it can – often producing better results for less investment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the number of vacancies available but think twice about the performance level you expect. Take your time if you’re able to, and don’t rush to fill positions. Think creatively.
10. Vary Your Interview Method
You could be sitting across from the best candidate in the universe and not even realize it because you aren’t eliciting the kind of discussion you need.
Make it a point to tailor the questions to the position. Ask a prospective programmer to complete a coding exercise on the whiteboard. Give a marketing candidate five minutes to come up with a compelling campaign on the spot. Perhaps try the Top Grading interview method to more thoroughly understand a candidate’s past work experience.
Don’t become so attached to a particular interview format that you don’t allow qualified applicants to showcase their true abilities. Make sure the conversation centers on the job at hand and don’t be afraid to try a different approach if the position calls for it.
11. Consider Flexible Work Environments
Does the best fit for your job live halfway across the world? Instead of scrambling to put together an expensive relocation package, consider if that person could work in a remote capacity.
Adding this detail to your job description opens you up to a more expansive network of candidates.
Industry data shows that more than 5% of Americans now work from home. Could your institution help lead the change while tapping a growing talent market?
Remember, this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can also offer qualified candidates the flexibility to work from home when and if they need to. Now, we understand it isn’t possible for all roles, but for roles like Data Analysts, Marketing Coordinators, Tech Specialists – there’s a good possibility for some flexibility. Sometimes we have to go outside our comfort zone to find the ideal hire.
12. Set Time Limits
A hiring process that drags on forever doesn’t bode well for anyone.
If someone applies, comes in for an interview and doesn’t hear back for weeks, they’ll likely move on to the next opening.
Be clear about your timeline from the onset. Tell all candidates when you plan to make a final hiring decision and how long the interview process will take.
If you find that your steps are dragging, it’s time to adjust your setup. With the unemployment rate at an all-time low, employers have to be prepared to compete for top talent in such a tight labor market.
Don’t risk losing a solid candidate because you can’t coordinate internally.
13. Avoid Gut Reactions
Want to follow recruitment best practices? Don’t lead with your gut.
You might think that your intuition is a great judge of character, but it often isn’t. Doing this can lead to an inaccurate and often unfair assessment of someone’s ability. Worse yet? Gut reactions often lead to hiring managers hiring people like themselves – causing the organization to miss out on adding valuable diversity to the team.
To remove this partiality, use a rubric or a scorecard to rank candidates. List the skills, work experience, educational credentials and personality traits you’re looking for. Then, see how each prospect measures up.
14. Cultivate a Culture Employees Want to Brag About
If you build your brand from within, word-of-mouth marketing will be your greatest resource. This is where it pays to invest in your workplace.
Invest in employee training to show you value your team members’ talents. Recognize and reward both personal and professional milestones. Prioritize open communication and brainstorm as a collective unit. Ensure everyone has a mentor. Provide opportunities to try new skills and hone new capabilities that align with their professional interests.
Not only will former employees be more likely to come back, but it won’t take long for word to get around that your organization is the place to aspire to work.
15. Challenge Your Recruits
The most talented people around don’t want to secure a position that will bore them to tears. Rather, the elite in their industry want you to put them to the test.
Given that, present them with the challenges they crave. Don’t sugarcoat the job description or gloss over its complexities. Be forthcoming with the requirements, even if they include long hours and overtime.
See how they react and if they’re up for the challenge. Then, ask them what kinds of ambitions they hold and see if you can achieve them together.
Put These Best Hiring Practices to Work Today
Your organization has an image to maintain.
Spending time and money spinning your wheels on candidates that don’t fit is a recipe for disaster (and discontent). Be thoughtful, make connections, adjust existing processes that need a facelift, use technology to your advantage and emphasize the candidate experience.
When you follow these best hiring practices, you’ll be well on your way toward assembling a dream team that’s ready to tackle anything you throw their way.
Need some help with the process? That’s what we’re here for. WorkMonger can help you find the best education management talent for your open positions, streamlining the process along the way. Want to learn more? Complete this 30-second information request form and a member of the WorkMonger team will be in touch to share more information and answer your questions.
We’ll help you build your profile, review applicable candidates, run a custom selection process and hire! Sign up today and make the match!