Developing the recruitment psyche in your school

Jasmin Choudhury

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment! – It is all about recruitment when you want a good team to lead the way forward.

With every organisation, whether it is in the private sector or public sector, an effective appointment can make all the difference. As a leader, you are so dependent on your team to champion your ethos and values, deliver on time and to an excellent standard and also ensure performance targets are maintained and achieved.

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According to the Chartered Institute for Personal Development (CIPD) the average cost of recruiting and filling a vacancy can cost £6,125 and for senior roles £19,000+. That excludes the cost of rehiring! For educators, a poor appointment at any level can cause huge issues as competency standards can be complex and what’s worse, the difficulties can impact on children emotionally and academically.

The best way forward is to have a planned and strategic approach to recruitment!

1. You can’t do it all!

As educators and leaders in schools, we can’t do it all. We are having to develop teaching and learning, analyse progress, do lunch duty etc. etc. Get an effective HR person or team that understands teaching and learning.

They can support you in helping write job adverts, person specifications, sift through CVs so that you look at the ones that suit your school. They will help give you the headspace you need to appoint carefully and well.

2. Network with recruitment agencies and recruitment agents!

Get to know fantastic recruitment agencies and agents who you can call up and who knows what you are looking for. A good recruitment agency will work on your brief. Invite them to your school and meet them in person.

Phone call conversations, online forums such as LinkedIn and emails still don’t replace the personal touch. Good agents will get to know you and will look harder to find what’s right for your school and team. Avoid anyone who does “dirty business” and plays off candidates and schools. Similarly, be integrity led yourself and avoid cancelling supply contracts at a whim and treat all candidates including supply teachers with respect. They are humans with needs just like the rest of us.

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3. Create and develop the brand of educator you are looking for!

Have a clear idea and vision of what type of teacher or leader you want and will fit your school. Keep an open mind and create opportunities for candidates if they have potential. They might be at the start of their journey or come from a requiring improvement school or from overseas.

Don’t allow your biases to affect your decision and see if you can harness someone’s potential. Sometimes having someone willing to learn can be more powerful as you can mould them to the brand you need and want.

4. Engage the interview panel and make the recruitment task fit for purpose!

Ensure your staff and governors are fully involved and are aware of the type of teacher you are looking for.

Develop CPD opportunities specifically around recruitment especially with senior leaders, governors and office staff as they are involved in recruitment all the time. We are educators and so were not trained on the art of recruiting. It isn’t just about doing the Safer Recruitment course! Not everyone will be aware of bias and concepts such as the “halo and horns effect” or “recency” bias.

Recruitment isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea and requires skill and tenacity. Therefore, the people doing the recruiting including the headteacher or principal need to be skilled up. Trying to find times to meet, sift through CVS and applications, shortlist and interview are all time consuming and expensive. So choosing the right person is crucial.

Ensure the candidate is given every opportunity to succeed. Read and check the interview questions so they are clear and make the task fit for the purpose and instructional. Not too easy or too difficult. Ensure candidate care is embedded within your organization. A friendly and hospitable approach to candidates can make all the difference when the recruitment process is underway. It is a two-way process and dialogue. Candidates can reject offers too.

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5. Invest in your staff and ensure everyone gets CPD!

Effective CPD creates effective teams. When recruiting, candidates are interested in developing themselves. Just because a candidate may be a supply teacher, aim to develop them. They are your staff and the CPD given will impact pupils and help retain staff and in the long run, develop them into excellent practitioners and professionals, future leaders, mentors and coaches.

Although the recruitment process is over when an appointment is made, the journey starts when people are in the post. So you need to ensure that the appointment is successful by giving the new person training, support and induction so they can start doing the job properly.

School leaders still have a long way to go about understanding recruitment processes and maximising every opportunity. It is still too woolly and it puzzles me that teachers have to share their intentions with the headteacher if they want to leave, even before they have got the next job!

Recruiting the right staff is crucial. You are only good as the team you have. I am deeply passionate about recruiting well and know the impact of a good and poor decision. We have a responsibility to use the public purse wisely and most importantly, have a duty to recruit the best educators. Our children and pupils don’t know any better and so trust and rely on our choices.

All the more reason why we need to create the right opportunities and make the right choice when it comes to recruiting the right person and then…retaining them!

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About our Community Expert

01_JASMIN

Jasmin Choudhury
Community Expert

Jasmin has extensive experience of working in a variety of settings which have included being recruited to work schools in special measures and concern as well as outstanding.

Jasmin has been qualified as a teacher for over 20 years and has been a Deputy Head, working mainly in some of the most deprived and challenging schools in the UK.

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