Does recruitment feel like a lottery in your school?

While there’s always an element of luck involved in recruitment, there’s a lot you can do to improve your chances.

In this three-part blog series, we’ll be looking at:

1. How to think about the position you’re recruiting for
2. How to set up a process that attracts the right people
3. and finally, how to maximise your chances of getting it right at the interview.

The first stage is to get clear in your own thinking. So how do you do this?

Let’s look at three possible ways of clarifying exactly what you are looking for. As you read through these from Level 1 (basic) to Level 3 (advanced), try to decide which one best reflects your process.

This is the most basic way of thinking about your recruitment process.

You’ve identified a space in your team, and you need someone to do that job.You can list their responsibilities: … safeguarding, behaviour management, knowledge of the curriculum, planning, progress, assessment, preferably outstanding teaching practice, and . Aall the other prerequisites to working as a teacher.

You want them to be able to do these things well, so you describe the sort of person who excels at these things with descriptive words such as engaging, organised, caring and dynamic.

Now you have a job description and a person description – you’re good to go!

But wait a second,  this level of preparation is the bare minimum. And whilst it may attract a Year 2 teacher, unless you’re lucky; it’s unlikely to attract the sort of Year 2 teacher that you have in mind.

And who wants to rely on luck to build their team?

This is better.

You know what you want your teacher to achieve, so you take each of the responsibilities and list out specific deliverables against them.

For example, rather than simply specifying good behaviour management, you state what this means ( not just the ability to get through the day applying the school’s behaviour policy, but more an ability to flex to specific children’s needs)

When you consider the level of progress you want for the classes they are teaching, you are clear about how you measure it (the rate of progress overall compared to how many children in the class are hitting a specific benchmark in the core subjects).

It’s the same with behaviours. You think about the sort of behaviours achieving those deliverables requires, and you make it clear. For example, is it someone who can handle large amounts of stress or someone who can improvise their way through a problem? Is it someone who pays careful attention to detail or someone who is enthusiastic about sharing best practice with the team?

The possibilities are almost infinite, and this stage is all about narrowing them down into a few specifics.

Being forced to choose specifics can seem like hard work. But getting clear on exactly what you want to be done and exactly who you want to do it will pay off handsomely down the line.

You have your deliverables and behaviours, but now you need to rank them in order of importance.
I know: they’re all important. But what if you could only choose 3 behaviours and 3 deliverables to focus on? What would they be?

What if you could only pick 1?

To put it another way, what things should they be able to do exceptionally well to avoid being dismissed? If you’re unsure, write down all the behaviours and cross off the least important first. Once you get to three, you know you’re ready to recruit.

What’s the purpose of this exercise? It will help you make decisions when you come to advertising your role and interviewing candidates.

Nobody is going to match your specification perfectly. However, by prioritising your deliverables and behaviours in advance, you’ll have a clear head for making decisions further down the line.

Essentially, by organising your list in this way, you’re making your hiring priorities clear.

This is a fantastic base for attracting the right person … which is the topic of Part 2 in this series.

Want to comment or start a discussion around any of these points? Tweet @letsfinded #schoolrecruitment