Having a streamlined and effective application process is critical in today’s competitive education sector. The Global Parents Survey of 2018 found that teacher quality is the number one thing parents think about when choosing which school to send their child to. Better teachers means more students, which directly impacts your bottom line, each student is worth somewhere in the region of £5,000 – £15,000 in incremental funding/fees.
We’re going to cover five easy ways you can quickly improve your application process. By implementing this advice, you’ll be able to attract more top talent to your school, save significant time and money as well as dramatically increasing the chances that your next hire will be a perfect fit.
Step 1 – Consider The Process From Start To Finish
As a schools HR professional, you’re well aware that there’s a lot more to the application process than just soliciting CVs or conducting interviews. There are many moving parts to consider:
- Advertising your open positions
- Creating a simple but effective system for attracting candidates
- Filtering through the applications you receive
- Conducting interviews with people who make it past the “first round”
- Figuring out which of the remaining candidates are the best fit for the position
When a hiring decision doesn’t pan out well, it’s not easy to figure out what part of the process is at fault. It’s possible that there just wasn’t enough high-quality candidates to choose from in the first place. Or perhaps the interview techniques employed didn’t help you figure out how suitable a candidate was for the role. Take a step back, look at your recent hires and make a judgement as to where you think issues arose. Trust your gut – based on the information you have access to, what stage of the process do you think is causing the most problems?
While this approach isn’t scientific, your professional judgement can help you to narrow down your main areas of concern before proceeding with the other steps in this article. It’s worth figuring out what you need to work on most moving forward, so be sure to take the time to do so.
Step 2 – Improve The Quality of Applicants
In the business world, there’s a common saying that “sales solve your problems”. This means that many challenges an average business might face can be rectified by acquiring more customers and increasing revenues. Your school isn’t a business, but the same point holds true. Having “too many” great candidates to choose from is a problem most schools would love to have. Attracting top talent to your open positions, therefore, can help you to improve the effectiveness of your application process, even if you don’t change anything else.
Consider the channels you’re currently using to attract applicants. You should audit these channels on a yearly basis, carefully observing which ones are delivering good ROI to your school. You can do this by determining which of your current channels is driving the biggest number of good candidates to your vacancies, measured in terms of total applications, interviews booked, or hires made.
There are a few different ways to improve the ROI you see from your current channels, so that you attract better candidates:
- You can work with a marketing agency such as Ambleglow to create and execute powerful recruitment campaigns.
- You could consult with the team of free job boards such as Your School Jobs to get more mileage out of your listings on these kinds of sites.
- You can solicit referrals from current staff members. Your current teachers probably know many teachers that would be a good fit for your open positions, so be sure to ask around and see what comes of this.
Step 3 – Keep Things Simple
Teachers are busy. With an average working week of 50 hours or more, they have little time left over to apply for new jobs. With this in mind, it’s clear that attracting many more top-quality candidates could be as simple as making your application process less of a chore to complete.
There are three straightforward ways you can do this:
- Allow them to submit their LinkedIn profile as part of the application process, so they don’t have to waste time transferring information over to your application form.
- Don’t ask non-essential questions, or anything that requires an in-depth response – save those for later stages of the process (e.g. the interview stage).
- If your application process has several steps, allow users to save their progress at any point & resume where they left off.
And beyond these three simple tips, you can also think bigger and look at the systems you use for tracking applications in general.
Step 4 – Consider Your Current Systems
If you are a large school or a multi-academy trust, you should consider investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS).
These systems offer several key benefits. They free up a lot of admin time, cut down on the costs of printing, store all candidate data centrally, and most importantly, they allow candidates to apply for positions online. If you do a lot of recruiting, investing in one of these systems could be an excellent decision.
In addition to making the process of sifting through applications much easier, using a system like this will allow you to communicate directly with all applicants. Being able to reach out to unsuccessful applicants to let them know you’ll keep them in mind for future vacancies is a small gesture, but one that dramatically increases the chances they’ll apply for other open positions in the future. And if they were a good candidate in the first place, this can only be a benefit for your school.
Step 5 – Look Outside Your School For More Help
Auditing your application process can seem like a tough task. With everything else vying for your attention over the course of an average working day, it’s easy to think there’s no time to implement bigger changes – even if they would be very beneficial!
Remember that you can reduce your workload (and the burden you’re expected to carry alone) by reaching out to experienced partners for help.
- If you’re having trouble creating high-performance advertising campaigns or not getting enough interest in your job postings, you could reach out to an agency with an expert team like Ambleglow. With 30 years experience in the education sector, they’ll be able to advise you on the best strategy for your situation, no question.
- If you’re having trouble interviewing candidates effectively, then working with a recruitment consultant could put you on the path to future hiring success.
Working with an outside party might cost you some money in the short-term, but the long-term benefits of attracting top talent to your school are immeasurable. So, if you’re finding it difficult to improve your application process by yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to an experienced partner for help.
Streamlining your application process might seem like a challenging endeavour, and it is. Truthfully, it’s not a small undertaking – but here are five steps you can take to do so:
- Consider the process from start to finish
- Improve the quality of applicants
- Keep things simple
- Consider your current systems
- Look outside your school for more help
By putting these five steps into practice, you’ll be well on your way to improving your application process, attracting better applicants to your open positions, and standing out from your competitors more easily than ever before.