Back to school season always brings with it last-minute job openings and the frenzy to find the best candidates in the least amount of time. Add to that the national teacher shortage we’re experiencing, and districts are finding themselves having to be more creative than ever in their recruitment strategies. Before you know it, your job posting is buried beneath ten others. Unless you are intentional in generating as many qualified leads as possible, that is!
Administrators in the Paris Independent School District understand this dilemma. A quick thirty minutes from Lexington, Kentucky, the district has been working to fill some vacancies before school starts on August 11. According to its 2020 School Report Card, enrollment in the district’s four schools totals just over 625 students. Roughly half of the students identify as white, with 18% described as Hispanic/Latino, 15.5% African American, and 13% other. Nearly three-quarters of students identified as economically disadvantaged. According to the district’s employment website, they are currently looking to fill 12 certified non-administrative vacancies.
In late July, Paris Elementary’s Interim Principal Leann Pickerill posted on her Facebook page about some vacancies she was hoping to fill. While this strategy is fairly common, Pickerill’s post caused us to stop our scroll. Let’s look at what she did and why it worked so well!
- First, she uses emojis throughout the post, which requires readers to slow down. It draws their attention to key terms without being distracting. Plus, it’s cute and fun!
- She uses the term “last minute” regarding the positions. This creates a sense of urgency but doesn’t sound panicky or desperate.
- She describes the open positions in a positive and inviting way. “Spend time providing support” and “share your passion” are both great ways to describe some of the best parts of what teachers get to do every day!
- “What if I’m not certified?” She overcomes a key objection right away by providing information about how the district can help a potential candidate get the certification needed. Removing barriers to the teaching profession opens the door to a whole new candidate pool.
- Perhaps these positions aren’t for you. That’s okay because Pickerill plants the seed of an upcoming job posting. She creates some incentive to keep coming back for more information.
- She tells potential candidates to reach out to her directly, giving them the confidence to pursue the position. You know you wouldn’t be just one in a stack of applicants here!
- Finally, she closes with “Don’t miss your chance to work with the best students and staff in central Kentucky.” She gives candidates the feeling that this job is special.
Pickerill’s post circulated through various teacher groups across social media. Immediately, she began receiving messages inquiring about the position. People were especially interested in alternative certification routes. Those options are available in every school district in the state, but by Pickerill’s mention of them in this post, she generated many more leads than she might have otherwise.
According to Pickerill, this strategy was especially effective. “[It] allowed for a broad reach really quickly. Right after posting, I started getting pings from individuals that were interested in the openings and in alternative certification routes. We have hired several teachers that were in [alternate certification] programs in the past, and with the current shortage, I knew we needed to appeal to a broad audience. Navigating alternate certification is something that I am learning. Each individual’s pathway and situation is unique. Assisting individuals that have a passion for teaching achieve that dream of becoming a teacher really is something that is powerful. I believe that a mix of classically trained teachers and alternate certified teachers are a great asset and bring a diverse perspective to our school.”
Administrators should take a cue from Pickerill when sharing vacancies on social media. In today’s market, a post that reads, “X School is looking for a math teacher if anyone is interested,” does little to draw candidates. Creating a sense of urgency and generating a positive, inviting online presence for your school or district is essential. Recruiting the best teachers requires administrators to step out of their comfort zones and try new strategies.
GoTeachKY would love to hear from you. What strategies have worked for your district in recruiting teachers to fill vacancies this year? Leave a comment or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.