How recruitment is managed varies from school to school and very much depends on internal policy and process. Many schools favour the traditional interview process of receiving applications, a face to face interview, with some kind of observation built in, and comparing candidates’ skills, experience and attributes against a list of criteria. Hi-tech, modern approaches are being tried out, taking advantage of more hi-tech, digitalised systems available. Whichever method you chose, it’s important to ensure a fair process that remains within the constraints of employment law.

Attracting applicants

We all know that budget and staffing constraints are putting massive pressure on our schools. 1st March 2019 TES reported that UK teachers work more than a day of unpaid overtime every week, the most of any sector, according to new analysis. Teachers work an average of 12.1 unpaid hours each week. So, how can we ensure we firstly attract the right candidates? Take a good look at your school – what attracted you to the role, what are its main selling points? Free parking? Excellent exam results? Enviable benefits package? Use those points as part of your recruitment campaign to make those potential candidates want to work for YOUR school.

Applicant Journey

Hays’ ‘What Workers Want’ Report 2018 states that the challenge is not just attracting candidates but keeping them interested throughout the recruitment process. The report goes on to state that “63% of applicants have been deterred from completing their application with the main contributing factor being a general poor candidate experience”. Recruitment has changed over recently time and job-seekers will expect you to have an online presence. Create (and develop!) a credible digital presence to help you attract, and keep, interested candidates. We know that teachers are time-poor so ensure that your process is streamlined and easy to navigate – do ensure that systems and forms are mobile and tablet-friendly!

Appearances are everything

The recruitment process is hugely important, not only is it an opportunity for you to interview and assess candidates, but it’s also a time where prospective employees will be gaging whether you are the right employer for them. In order to attract and retain the best, you need to be the most attractive employer to them! An analogy is walking into a shop – you are already influenced by the shop window, the displays, how the staff greet you – it’s no different to applicants – they are influenced by how (and where!) you advertise roles, how efficient the process is, how happy staff seem and how they are treated throughout.


• Have robust recruitment process in place including a Recruitment and Selection Policy and that interviewers are adequately trained to recruit fairly and within the confines of employment law. • Make sure it’s a speedy process – the good ones will be snapped up before you make a decision! • Move with the times, if your current process is manual, consider an electronic process. Bear in mind that if you use automated decision making this should be stated in your GDPR policies. • Always follow up on unsuccessful candidates – it gives a lasting impression of your organisation. Constructive feedback is always valued.

Induction process

Have a formal induction process in place and make sure you stick to it. You’ve already invested in this new recruit, don’t fall down now. The great impression you made during the recruitment process should continue through the employment relationship. Identify any specific development needs early on and build these into your induction plan so that at the end of the probationary review period, the new recruit is fully up to speed. If your school doesn’t already have a formal induction process in place – get one implemented and share this with your senior leadership team and the employee. Do train your Heads of Department in managing this process – just because they are a good English Teacher, for example, doesn’t automatically make them great people managers!

Continuing development

ALWAYS value your people – they are your greatest asset and without them you would have no pupils. They are your front-line people, having the greatest impact on your pupils and parents. Do ensure that you review regularly (at least annually) to give constructive feedback, listen to concerns and to jointly set objectives for the coming review period. It’s a great opportunity to sit down with your employee and really understand what drives them. Never underestimate the power of regular reviews and don’t hurry through the process doing so will leave employees feeling undervalued and demotivated.


For whatever reason, people leave jobs for a variety of reasons. If an employee resigns, make sure you know why! It’s a good opportunity to have a chat with the employee before they leave to investigate their reasons for doing so and obtain feedback on the role, manager and what, if anything you could have done to retain them. This shows the leaver that you are open to feedback – not only giving them a good impression of the organisation when they leave but shows others within the organisation that you are an open to discussion and feedback. Don’t ignore issues just because the person is leaving, fix it so that further employees are not lost in the same way.


I hate to bring up the ‘B’ word, but it WILL have an impact on how we recruit employees. As I’m writing this we’re still in limbo so it’s difficult to say what the impact will be, but it will certainly have an impact on recruitment of individuals from outside the UK – watch this space!

Practical steps to take

1. Recruitment is an online market – is your digital profile reflective of you as an establishment – make sure the candidate experience is seamless and easy to navigate. 2. Know your ethos and values – make these visible throughout the process. 3. Ensure you have a robust process in place. 4. Train those responsible for recruitment and ensure they are competent. 5. See the induction process through to the end. 6. Develop, develop, develop! It’s an ongoing cycle – keep your staff. [responsivevoice_button voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Click Here to listen to post”]

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