Across the US, rural schools are currently facing some of the worst teacher shortages. Time and time again, rural schools struggle the most when it comes to hiring certified teachers, as well as teachers specializing in specific subject areas, like math, STEM, bilingual and special education.
By virtue of their remote location, rural schools are always going to have less access to large talent pools. But this shouldn’t mean compromising on quality when hiring teachers for your rural school. The upside is that some schools are currently seeing a surplus of teachers – and their surplus is another school’s gain!
Finding teachers from other states can be a key component of any rural school’s recruitment strategy. In today’s highly mobile world, many US teachers are open to the idea of moving from one state to another in search of the right job and school.
However, there’s no denying that attracting teachers to jobs at remote schools can be a challenge.
Many rural US schools have spoken to us about the extent of their hiring difficulties. They talk of huge spends on recruiting, dozens of trips to job fairs thousands of miles away – and still coming up empty-handed on candidates for those hard-to-fill positions.
Some states, in an effort to combat these challenges, are choosing to bolster their teaching workforce through alternative certification programs. More recently, other states are incentivizing teachers to work in rural schools by creating student loan forgiveness programs.
While it remains to be seen how these strategies will play out over the long term, the fact is that as a rural school, there is so much you can do to start attracting qualified teachers – starting right now.
Posting your jobs on online job boards that cater specifically to teachers is the best way to reach the highest number of active job seekers, including non-local candidates. Posting jobs online also has the added benefit of being more cost effective than traditional methods, like newspaper print ads or hiring fairs.
Brand your school
The key to success is to build a relationship with an audience of qualified teachers – before they become candidates.
Vacancies posted to school websites receive little visibility when compared to education-specific job boards. A branded school web page hosted on a high-traffic job board, on the other hand, can be highly effective in driving teachers to your vacancies.
Remember, there are many benefits to working in rural schools – benefits that should be clearly outlined on your school landing page. Rural schools need to ensure that their job postings are resonating with potential candidates. Including information on your school’s mission and values, as well as teacher testimonials and video tours, all help to drive more engaged candidates.
Highlight the non-material reasons why teaching in your district – more freedom in the classroom, the opportunity to forge close relationships with students and less bureaucracy – benefits that many suburban schools often lack. Don’t just mention the low cost of living – that’s not enough to pique a candidate’s interest!
While pay undoubtedly matters when recruiting, research has shown that money alone isn’t enough for teachers. Promoting the advantages of teaching and living in your area can be far more effective than perks such as relocation financial assistance, salaries or benefits.
Use social media to attract talent
With so many teachers using social media to discover potential jobs, popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be highly successful in driving qualified job seekers to job postings.
Many employment platforms have a large audience of active job seekers via their social media channels, so these are great options to get your job postings seen by those highly qualified out-of-state teachers.
Use targeted emailing tactics
Online teaching job boards have a database of active job seekers who have subscribed to receive relevant job alerts. Schools can purchase direct email campaign packages to target their vacancies to active candidates that closely match their hiring criteria – all while cutting out the noise of unqualified resumes.
Posting on online job boards and social media allows schools to broadcast their job openings to a much broader audience – especially out-of-state teachers. This way, schools have the potential to grab the attention of thousands of interested educators from across the country – not just the ones who are attending a local career fair or reading the local newspaper!
Want to know more about how Teach Away’s strategic online recruitment strategies can help you all the hire the teachers you need for the upcoming school year? Talk to us today!