Last week, in an effort to position our district well in the coming year, I embarked on my first ever teacher recruitment tour. Like other districts in the northern part of our country, teacher recruitment has become an important and necessary part of our work, roaming far and wide in search of the best teachers we can find.
As someone new to the HR role I’ve spent a great deal of time researching best practices in order to put an effective recruitment plan in place. My goal was to have a better understanding of what others are doing to recruit the best talent into their organizations. By and large, here are 4 of the most common strategies I discovered:
- Attend job fairs
- Sell your city / location
- Highlight your benefit packages
- Offer incentives
Then I asked myself this question. Why would a new teacher want to come and work for us anyway? There must be something more than a good salary, comprehensive benefits, and a good location that lures individuals to a particular employer. After reflecting on this for awhile, I found the answer on two lists:
This short video might shed some light on why Google consistently tops the list of the best places to work in North America:
So here’s what I think. The best beginning teachers want to work for districts that are innovative and forward thinking. They want to work for districts that have built a culture that supports hard work, risk taking, new ideas, and collaboration. They want to be part of something that is going to make a real difference in the lives of kids.
So when our recruitment team arrived on the East Coast a few days back we were armed with this message —-> Instead of telling these pre-service teachers what we could do for them if they joined our district, we asked them what they could do for us. Instead of showing them the list of contract benefits, we informed them that we were only looking for those who were ready and willing to work really hard. Instead of sharing incentives, we asked them how they would contribute to our high performing district. We showcased our technology rich environments, our school improvement initiatives, our mentorship program, and our innovative programming. We talked about the kind of teacher they would need to be if they were hoping to come and work with us.
After chatting with and receiving resumes from nearly 200 individuals, we then identified about 25-30 and invited them for a short 15 minute interview, where we asked them to respond to the following 4 questions:
- How will you make our district better?
- How will you respond to and utilize the innovative and hard working mentor that will be paired with you?
- How will you respond to constructive feedback?
- Please share your thoughts on education, technology and student learning.
It was an enlightening experience and we have been inundated with phone calls, Skype calls and emails since returning home. It seems as though our strategy worked. Selling our culture was the key. The best and the brightest pre-service teachers are now recruiting us, many of whom will join our staff in September.
I truly believe that the very best teachers are intrinsically motivated. They want to work for organizations where innovation and risk taking is valued, where collaboration is embedded into the daily culture, and where they are able to contribute in meaningful and lasting ways. As the gate keeper to prospective new teachers in my district, I want that message to be loud and clear.
Google figured this out a long time ago.