How to Recruit Teachers, A Marketing Viewpoint

There are currently over 7,000 jobs advertised on the most popular UK teaching jobs website tes.co.uk and that’s set to grow over the next few weeks as we reach the peak of the recruitment season. At the same time the pressures on schools to succeed mean that its never been more important to get the right teacher. So how do you find the best people?

While there are two important HR-led tasks – working out the skills needed for the role and identifying the best person for the job from a pool of applicants, there is also a vital marketing role – attracting the right people to apply.

As in any marketing task you need to consider who you’d like to apply and what would attract them – and then work out the best media to use. You also need to make sure your advert is different and persuasive! Here are some tips – please add your own…

1.  Realise that you’re selling! If you need an experienced teacher you’ll probably have to persuade someone to move from an existing job, which they may be happy in. If you want an NQT (newly qualified teacher), they will have the choice of many schools perhaps from around the country. You need to stand out.

2. Set out what you offer first, not what you expect. Make the job sound attractive from the start. Almost all teaching adverts start by asking for teachers who are ‘outstanding’ (or occasionally ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘innovative’). Apart from being unrealistic (we can’t all be outstanding!), if you start by talking about how your school helpsteachers to become outstanding you’ll get much more interest. Similarly, adverts talk at length about why the school is great for students and parents by quoting OFSTED or ISI grades, but forget that they’re trying to attract teachers!

3. Be flexible and creative in your use of media. Don’t just put an ad in the TES and sit back. By definition it’s only teachers who are actively looking for work that take time to read job websites – there are probably many others who would love to work for your school.Think about other media that are used by teachers, as well as the existing marketing materials you use, your social media and your community links.  If you keep lists of people who have applied speculatively in the past, email them about the job. If you don’t keep these lists – start one. Make sure you let your staff and parents know what you’re looking for as well.

4. Make the application process welcoming. For someone already in a job, applying for a new one is optional and a chore. Don’t let them think of this by wasting space reminding them of the need for 3 references, an application form and covering letter, proof of current address and so on – teachers expect this. It’s much better to start the process by inviting people to call for an informal chat or visit. You can also think about reducing the information needed on an application form (do you really need all GCSE grades for example?)

5. Support your advert with evidence that you’re a good employer. Set up a recruitment page on your website with evidence of training and development and genuine interviews with current employees. If you’re part of a chain, check whether they are already doing this.

6. Be courteous and realise the effort it takes to apply for a job. It doesn’t take long for word to get out if you’re rude or arrogant and a poor reputation as a recruiter can last for a long time. I’ve been asked by a number of colleagues and former colleagues about whether to apply to particular schools over the years and I know very quickly which ones I would discourage – the school that invited me for an informal chat then never made contact again, the school that asked me to reapply for a job when they got around to readvertising it, ‘in case we don’t find anyone more suitable’ (for which read better), the training organisation that forgot to pay a friend of mine on numerous occasions.

On the other hand, I’d highly recommend two schools that didn’t offer me a job – because they treated me well even if they found someone better.


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