Hiring Teachers Post-COVID: Everything Has Changed

James Sanders

When hiring teachers post-COVID, in many ways, little has changed. However, in many ways, everything has changed since the onset of the pandemic. At the very least, hiring teachers has become much more challenging. The number of available, qualified teachers has dropped significantly in the last 12 months. If you are a teacher, it is a seller’s market. And if you are a school district or independent school, there are many things you should know to improve your odds and make sure you can find the most qualified talent available.


It’s a Digital World Now

The first thing to remember when recruiting and hiring teachers is it’s a digital world now. Virtually everything to do with hiring is now done through a digital lens. Forget about the standard in-person job interview. In the same way classes became virtual, so have every aspect of your recruitment effort. 

The good news is that you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Everything you learned about delivering content online can be used to recruit teachers. Take advantage of your social media accounts, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to talk about your job openings. Assume that your next great teacher could come from anywhere. When you talk about your job openings, be sure and mention the positive aspects of the district, the location, the professional development and more. You can also make recruitment videos for each position and send these out through social media. Make sure that your HR department is actively talking to your marketing department.


Start with a strong job ad

When you write your job listing, remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression. It is a bit of a cliché, but it is also very true. The copywriting and the tone of the listing are very important. It needs to sound warm and inviting. Imagine you were looking for a position – what kind of an impression would the listing make with you? Is it boring or exciting? Are the benefits clearly stated?

Where are you advertising your listing(s)? Just the usual places? Are there other sources in which you can be seen? How are you tying in your social media to this job listing? Are you using video? Have you considered mentioning job openings in your blogs?

Is your recruiting limited to specific job openings? Experts say 50 percent of your recruitment advertising should be used for non-specified openings. In other words, you should be spending half your effort talking about what a great place your school or district is. If you wait until you have an actual job opening to advertise, you have already lost.

Make an effort in all your recruitment advertising to talk about COVID your safety protocols. This is still front and center in the minds of teachers. Just get that out of the way, including some specifics. If people know you are a safe place to work, they can focus on the benefits of working there.


Create a solid virtual interview process

Create a virtual hiring process and practice, practice, practice. Get it down to a science. Your virtual interview should not be identical to your in-person interview. Place special attention on making the candidate feel welcome. And again, I can’t stress this enough, practice the virtual interview with members of your staff and community. You should have at least a dozen virtual practice interviews under your belt before you conduct the actual interview. As your first interview is winding down, go ahead and schedule the second interview while you have the prospect there in front of you. Plan on at least 45 minutes for the first interview and schedule the second interview for no more than a week in the future.

Your second interview can be with more than one member of your team, but it is important to keep the first interview one on one to ensure your candidate is comfortable.

Here are a few more tips for the first interview:

Over-narrate during the interview: Narrating helps replace the non-verbal cues we’re used to during in-person interviews. Candidates can’t see you’re reaching for a resume or looking at the clock on a virtual interview the way they can in-person.

  • “First, we’re going to do XYZ, then we’ll speak about your experience.”
  • “I’m just looking at your resume here” or “I’ve got your resume pulled on the screen.”
  • Replace the pre-covid handshake with a go-to term to indicate the interview is over like “This concludes our interview, and I would like to schedule our next visit on Tuesday at 2:00. Will that work for you?”
  • If you haven’t done so already, make sure your process is as tech-friendly as possible. Use DocuSign for offer letters. Have your forms ready for references and background checks.


Try Before You Buy

Avoid buyer’s remorse by trying a candidate before you buy. If you have the opportunity, use a service that gives you an opportunity to trial a teacher. You first hire the candidate as a substitute teacher and test out how they’d fit in the role. The company will pay the candidate as a substitute. You get to see whether they are a good fit for teaching pedagogy, culture, etcetera. In turn, the candidate gets to see a candid experience of the school to see if the fit is right for them as well.

When hiring post-COVID, remember that everything has changed. Job candidates are now living in a virtual world and expect to be recruited and hired virtually. The good news is you can use what you have learned over the past year to make a wonderful virtual impression and take advantage of social media and marketing to seal the deal.

For more information, you can contact James Sanders personally: james.s@scoot.education.


About the author

James Sanders is CEO of Scoot Education. Before Scoot, James founded Australia’s largest not-for-profit organization for connecting entrepreneurs and spent 9 years at Deloitte helping educational startups scale their businesses. Today, you can find James obsessed with helping US schools get great teachers into classrooms and drive stronger learning outcomes as a result. He also enjoys soccer, walking his dog Jedi, and rooting for his AFL team Geelong Cats. 


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