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4 things that motivate teaching candidates more than money

Have you ever wondered whether your school is missing out on the best teaching candidates?

At Teach Away, we spend a lot of talking to our candidates about how they can impress you – their prospective employer. But it’s just as important that we take the time to talk about what teachers are looking for in their next position, too.

It’s easy to forget that the hiring process goes both ways. Just as you have criteria for the perfect teacher, your candidates also have criteria for the perfect job.

That’s why, to help you identify the key factors that motivate teachers to apply to a job, we surveyed over 10,000 candidates from our extensive community of international educators. Some interesting revelations came to light. One thing that might really surprise you:

Money is not the be all and end all.

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As evidenced by the above, candidates aren’t teaching abroad out of economic necessity. In fact, financial reasons trail well behind, in third place.

Of course, if you’re not offering a competitive salary, that can (and will) impact your ability to attract and recruit the best teachers to your school. So always make sure that what you’re offering is on par with other schools in your region.

However, money is only a component of what drives candidates to accept a job offer.

With that caveat out of the way, here’s a quick list of the things that candidates value most in a new job to help you answer the big question:

How does your school measure up when it comes to offering what candidates really want?

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1. Remember that teachers are motivated to explore the world.


Nowadays, you need to get today’s travel-motivated teaching candidates excited about the place they’ll be relocating to. This means you’ll need to focus on creating a job posting that’s more than just a list of the things that you want in your ideal candidate.

For example, what makes living and teaching in your city and country appealing? If your region offers recreational opportunities, be sure to list these in detail, in particular any nearby outdoor activities and famous scenic or cultural sights that are likely to appeal to adventurous teaching candidates.

If your school is in a more remote setting, you should consider highlighting your proximity to the nearest city and public transport options that make travel accessible.

One other thing: You should also consider featuring your jobs on career websites that offer resources and content for job seekers related to living in your region.


2. They’re also looking for opportunities for development and growth.

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Teaching candidates think long and hard about their likelihood of succeeding and having an impact at your school. As you can from the above, they assess the training and development that you offer, the resources and professional development opportunities that would be available to them and the degree of autonomy the job entails.

If you can position yourself as a school who gives back to their employees and encourages growth, you’ll be sure to be inundated with high-quality potential candidates.

3. You need to offer the job perks that job-seeking teachers actually care about.

A competitive benefits package is critically important when it comes to attracting and retaining top teachers in today’s job market.

Perks and benefits can be a game changer when it comes to recruiting top teaching talent. Schools that can’t compete on compensation or location should bear in mind the most desirable job benefits (see below) when positioning their school to candidates.

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Want to know how competitive your benefits package really is? Ask your teachers!

Chances are if they are active in professional networks they have a good idea of what other schools in your city or region may be offering.

And when a candidate doesn’t accept what you think is an amazing job offer, try to probe a bit and see if your benefits package was enticing or not.

4. You need to craft an engaging candidate experience.

A good candidate experience matters now more than ever. How job seekers perceive your hiring process influences how they feel about you as a hiring school. Is the process easy and simple? Or is it difficult, complex and frustrating?

A seamless, easy-to-understand application process that provides candidates with all the

information they need, and in a reasonable amount of time, is crucial to attracting the right teachers.

Do you know what really matters to your teaching candidates?

An edited version of this article originally appeared in the June edition of International School Leader Magazine.