How to Effectively Hire Teachers During Lockdown

Your school may be closed to pupils right now, but don’t be closed to candidates too.

With the resignation deadline fast approaching, what can you do to make sure that you are still effectively filling those must fill roles.

Whilst some of your recruitment process may already be digitised, the need to move to a complete virtual interview process is essential. It can be quite a scary prospect for some.  It’s not just considering all aspects of the interview process, including vetting either. How can you make sure you are still employing the right teachers without having actually met then?

Here’s our top 5 tips for taking your interview process online during lockdown – 

Firstly, working with a reputable and proven education recruiter will help you take your recruitment process online. From advertising the role, shortlisting candidates, arranging interviews and making sure the paperwork is correct. We are here to help make it easier.

Enjoy a tea break

This should really be the first stage of any interview process.  Arranging an online ‘tea break’ means that your candidate will feel more relaxed. This will give you a much better insight into their natural personality as opposed to ‘interview mode’ .

Have a more informal chat to help you understand what they know about your school. Find out what attracted them to apply. What they would be most looking forward to if they joined you.  But keep the chat light-hearted. You will find out a lot of useful information, which will be key to make sure that they can fit into your current team.  With all this information you can then decide if they are suitable to be progressed to the next stage.

Take Your Time

One thing most of us have right now is more time.  You may be current going into school 1 day a week or preparing lessons at home. Without a commute and the usual day to day things that take up our time, we can now make the best of those extra minutes or even hours.

Firstly, we advise honing your current interview process to ensure that it is still fit for purpose when taken online.  You may need to add more steps to your interview process too. Making sure that you are prepared in advance means that you can still get to see the personality and teaching capability of everyone you interview.

Virtual interview

Prepare Your Questions

Are your usual interview questions still relevant to online interviewing?  Do you need to add additional questions about overcoming hurdles to return to school?  There’s lots more you need to consider now.  With reports of increased anxiety among teachers about returning to school, it’s advisable to share with candidate how you are preparing to return and still keep everyone safe.  

Make sure that you are not only using your standard interview questions. Allow the candidate more time to ask their own questions – as they are sure to have many.  Some schools have added this as an extra step in their interview process. This enables candidates to connect with other teachers at the school to ask very frank questions about future plans.

Use an Interview Panel

You can either have multiple steps of the virtual interview with your senior leadership team, or you can keep the interview process to a limited number of steps and use an interview panel.  With simple, and free, tech like Zoom, you are able to conduct 30-40 minute interviews with a number of attendees.  We would recommend keeping this to a maximum of 3 interviewers so as to keep within the timeframe.

This is a great way to get a range of feedback and you may find that members of the interview panel have differing views.  Putting everyone’s feedback together will give you a more rounded view of the candidate’s suitability. This will help to reduce the feeling of risk in hiring.

Ways to Assess Classroom Competency

This may be one of the most challenging areas to take online. However, we have seen some great success with new ways of assessing classroom competency.  If you normally ask candidates to plan and conduct a lesson, then simply do this online.  Get a number of your team together and using video conferencing ask your candidate to give a lesson.  In fact, teaching online is a skill that all teachers will need moving forward, so it’s great to assess this now. 

If the candidate is applying for a more senior role, you can ask them to complete an organisational or time management task. They can then present this to you during an interview.

We can help

We understand that this is a difficult time for schools and recruitment is just one of the many things you may be concerned about right now.  The Educate Group are helping to support many schools with taking their interview process online and securing much needed staff.

1 in 10 secondary school teachers leave the profession each year, and since no one wants a headcount shortage in their school, you need to keep your recruitment process active.  We offer a complete recruitment service to supply high quality staff into schools just like yours.

Call us today and see how we can help you prepare for returning to school – 01978 281 881