Following simple yet effective strategies for recruitment will help you get and keep the staff you need.
1) What are you?
Remember looking for a job? Wading through different sites, downloading job descriptions, fighting with filters. Remember seeing something that felt right – that made you really want that job? This is when stars and values align, when a teacher sees in a school something that draws them in and makes them want to be a part of it.
Now is the time to make branding work for you. What you stand for needs to ooze through the words and pictures you use. If you can give a sense of being on a growth trajectory – meaning not only admissions and finances but understanding and action – you show prospective staff that they will be valued as part of the bigger plan, part of something remarkable.
2) Where are you?
Teachers considering a move to a new job will picture themselves there. Whether it is a move to a new country or from across the region, their visions will include a home, a social life, neighbours, shops, football or a book club.
You need to promise a great school but hint at a lifestyle. If you are in a prime location, say so. Those things that matter to a teacher moving within their home country matter even more if you want them to up-sticks and come to you: places of interest, local customs, closeness to the city center, public transport, and healthcare. Some may be coming for good, to make their life there; others will be seeing it as a stage in their career and need to know how they can stay in touch with ‘home’.
3) How are you?
Teachers searching for a job will benefit from a dedicated careers page on your website – a great place to showcase your school once you have got people there. Make recruitment a distinct and open feature of your profile. Some teachers may not have considered an international school so where and how you advertise is important; your social media presence can do much of the heavy lifting here. Are you in good shape with an awesome reputation? Before and after recruitment, think about what you can do to big up your profile – hosting a conference, for example.
All but the oldest of qualified teachers have grown up in a digital world. They will look for you on Facebook and Linked In; they might even want to see you pop up on Instagram (another chance for the school cat?) Positive or funny experiences, achievements or events – get the tech-savvy amongst you to have some fun posting snapshots, comic strips or a quick quiz!
Stay in touch with teachers who have moved on and encourage a network for old and new; keep an eye on comments and respond promptly. Never start something you can’t monitor – maybe your new member of staff will take this on!
4) Who are you?
Prospective staff will get a feel for your school and whether it is a good fit from looking at who is already there. You will hopefully be working towards a diverse team so people can see themselves reflected in your current staff but they will also want people they can relate to – those who seem friendly, fun even, or can advise and support. Consider what you show of your staff – what about special features or blogs? Perhaps photographs of teachers off-duty or pulling a funny face (also off duty, presumably!)
It will help to ask your current staff what attracted them. Take what they say seriously. You could make a recruitment video with staff speaking to camera about what they recommend – training, sunshine, long holidays, sense of community, the school cat.
5) Who am I?
Your new teacher is keen, qualified and eager to get going. They are seeking a professional and personal experience and they want to know they will be OK. Consider what benefits you offer and how to promote them. Perhaps now is the time to think about what more you could do – what did the feedback from current staff teach you?
In addition, staff looking to join your team will be hoping for professional opportunities such as access to training and further qualifications. Remember to be clear about basics such as salary and hours – if a jobseeker has to chase you for details they may well turn away.
However, it is that special magic that will really make the difference. Like in any new relationship, your new member of staff must feel a spark; from here they can build a connection with your school and all it stands for.
6) How am I?
Many staff moving to an international school will be young and not always hugely experienced. Even older and more resilient staff need looking after. Before they get there, let them know that their mental health and well-being is important. Good support and supervision systems are important, as are flexibility and understanding of the need for rest and recuperation. Consider what you can offer in terms of staff leave or contract breaks if they need time to focus on personal development or mental well-being. What can you offer to those who want to visit their home country for extended periods – or to have guests to stay?
Working in this way will not weaken the strength of your team, it will ensure good, qualified staff retain their commitment and see you as a place they can blossom.
7) What about Covid?
The pandemic forced workplaces to give careful consideration to keeping people safe. You may need to show that you take safety and health seriously and, Covid aside, are ready for emergencies. Some schools have introduced changes in class sizes or school schedules. Be ready to respond to concerns and demonstrate you have thought things through.
You are not only building a staff team, you are building a community.
If you want to create a school film that pops, please get in touch. At Blue Apple Education, we’re here to help. We can offer support with all aspects of film-making, from the initial plan through to the final edit.
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