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Human Capital Management

Top Ten Talent Acquisition Best Practices for School Districts

September 29th, 2017

To Compete for The Best and Brightest Teachers, School Districts Must Take a Critical Look at Their Talent Acquisition Efforts

In general, many school districts are behind the eight-ball compared to other business sectors in the United States when it comes to effectively recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent.

In 2016, the Center for American Progress (CAP) performed the first national survey of school districts’ human capital practices. The survey consisted of 108 school districts across the nation. Representatives were asked to describe how they “recruit new talent, select whom to hire, induct new teachers, develop teachers’ skills, and measure and reward teachers’ success in the classroom”.1

The results of the study indicate that many public-school districts are not on pace with recruitment best practices compared to other fields.

Why does this matter?

Competent teachers improve our student’s educational outcome. Those districts that can attract and retain top talent tend to have greater efficiency, less turnover, reach goals quicker, and have higher employee morale.

So how can your district attract the best and brightest?

Top Ten Talent Acquisition Best Practices for School Districts

  1. Adopt formal recruiting standards. The CAP study mentioned above shows that, in general, most school districts do not have effective recruiting methods – and some don’t have any formal processes or procedures in place at all. Furthermore, the CAP study showed an “average school district has 1.8 employees assigned to recruitment and a student population of 3,721.” In other words, most school districts are not allocating enough time or resources for recruitment.

    To compete for top talent in today’s market, you must make it a priority to devote more time and energy to developing standards for recruitment. This includes integrating technology, assigning staff, and taking a hard look at your interview and evaluation processes and procedures. You must also integrate strategic recruitment systems that engage top candidates through targeted outreach and technology.

  2. Attract passive candidates. The cream-of-the-crop teacher is most likely already working. Instead of recruiting candidates who are actively looking for a job, shift your focus and amp up your marketing efforts to reach those who don’t even know they are looking for a new job. This talent pool is superior in many ways. Which leads us to our next point…
  3. Go mobile. Mobile is a terrific way to get in front of a passive candidate. You can target your recruiting efforts to reach them on various platforms. In addition, college aged students and recent grads are on smartphones constantly. If you’re trying to recruit college grads, you need to cater to your audience. This means making sure your careers page on your district website is responsive and up to date. It also means that you better get on the social network bandwagon. Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, text messages and emails to connect with the younger generation.

    SuperEval Tip: Social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook both have job functionality as part of their service. You can also find the passive candidates (referred to above) by targeting specific age groups, genders and credentialed teachers’ through these platforms using paid advertising options and educational content.

  4. Expand your horizon. To find top talent, you may need to look outside of your district, county, or state. In addition, you may need to travel to out of state colleges and universities, and job fairs.
  5. Use performance-based methods to evaluate candidates. Past performance is an indicator of future performance. Use behavior-based criteria for the screening and selection process. This method takes the basic written application, resume, and credential review to the next level.
  6. Consider teacher compensation. We are far from paying teachers what they deserve. Consider this… In September 2017, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released The 2017 Education at a Glance Report. The report finds that teachers in the US are paid on average, less than 60% of the salaries of professionals at a similar education level. And compared to other countries, American teachers are paid less, work longer hours and teach more children than their international peers.2Teachers shape the minds of our future, however, many young people are being drawn to other professions which pay more competitively. However, if this trend continues, we will have a shortage of teachers.
  7. Offer a healthy mix of what makes teachers tick. Money is important, but it’s not everything. A mix of concrete and immaterial benefits will help attract top talent. Tangible things like healthcare options, flexibility, a comfortable work space, teaching resources, vacation time, family leave, and paid time off are also key factors to consider. Intangible things like happiness, recognition, and overall district culture should also be high up on the list.
  8. Analyze and enhance your onboarding systems. Provide new teachers with substantive mentoring or onboarding opportunities to build new skills critical to their roles. Get them involved in decision making, curriculum planning, and strategy. Check in periodically to see how they’re doing.
  9. Prioritize teachers’ professional growth. Offer plenty of opportunities for professional and personal development.3
  10. Support diversity. The Department of Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. said, “We need to more effectively address the issue of diversity. The majority of our students are of color but only 18% of teachers are of color” (Source: Leadership for Change4). School districts across the country are failing at strategically attracting diverse candidates and creating inclusive, supportive environments.

Now that you’ve attracted top teachers, how do you keep them from jumping ship? In our next blog post, we will tackle retention and share best practices for keeping your best and brightest on board.

1. Konoske-Graf, Annette Konoske-Graf, Lisette Partelow, and Meg Benner, et al. “To Attract Great Teachers, School Districts Must Improve Their Human Capital Systems.” Center for American Progress, 22 Dec. 2016, Accessed 20 Sept. 2017.

2. Strauss, Valerie. “Analysis: Teachers in U.S. paid far less than similarly educated professionals, report finds.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Sept. 2017, Accessed 20 Sept. 2017.

3. Podolsky, Anne, et al. “Solving the Teacher Shortage How to Attract and Retain Excellent Educators.” Learning Policy Institute, Accessed 15 Sept. 2016.

4. AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Leadership Change Celebrating the Promise and Success of Public Education, Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.

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