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How to keep the best teaching candidates interested in your school: A quick guide for international schools

Getting the best talent to apply to your jobs isn’t always easy and with the demand for great teachers at international schools worldwide, there’s a lot of competition out there. It’s no longer enough to simply post a job and expect the perfect candidate to fall into your lap.

The good news is that as a hiring manager, there is so much you can do to convert your job applicants into new hires for your school. Your job is to find and match the right people to the right jobs and in order to do that job effectively, you’ll need a well-structured recruitment and selection process.

Converting today’s applicant into tomorrow’s hire is about so much more than reviewing a resume and holding an interview. Schools that are successful in hiring the most sought-after talent have a complete recruitment process in place that includes branding your school to communicate their values and attract the right candidates, correctly qualifying candidates, assessing job fit during the interview stage – everything right down to the negotiation and onboarding phase.

From the very first point of contact a potential teacher has with your school, clear communication is critical. You should aim to treat every applicant to your school like they’re a potential customer and continuously update candidates throughout the recruiting process. Managing all applicants professionally and courteously at each and every stage will mean the best candidates are less likely to fall by the wayside.

Sidenote: When you’re hiring teachers internationally, you need to be mindful of the appropriate contact channels given different time zones – calling a candidate at 3 am their time to set up an interview, for example, is bound to put them off!

Without further ado, here are five quick tips to help you turn that applicant into a superstar hire for your school:

1. Identify eligible applications

Before you invest too much time into applicants that aren’t the right fit, properly screening out applicants who don’t meet the basic requirements for your position will greatly reduce your hiring time. It’s important to respond to every applicant, however, whether they’re qualified or not for the role. Word of mouth goes a long way in the international teaching community and the last thing you want is to give your school a bad reputation as an employer.

Traditional recruitment methods resulted in hiring managers being forced to screen resumes and applications manually. With technology advances in recruiting, employers can now automate this once time-consuming step. An efficient Applicant Tracking System is a key tool that you can use to identify candidates who are qualified for your open positions.

2. Prescreen candidates efficiently

This typically takes the form of a phone interview. Phone prescreen interviews have two main benefits – they’re quick and they’re low cost. That initial phone call can give you a wealth of information on whether an applicant has the right education, experience and knowledge to do the job – as well as a candidate’s potential fit for your school. Within a relatively short period of time, and with minimal investment, you can decide whether to proceed with their application or not. Again, let candidates know a rough timeline of when they can expect to hear back – and be sure to follow up.

3. Interview like a pro

A negative interview experience can change a teacher’s mind about taking a job. Just as your interviewee (hopefully) isn’t planning on turning up to the interview without preparing first, neither should you.

Be on time. Read through their resume and application beforehand. Plan your interview questions in advance. This will help you zero in on the best candidates, save on time asking unhelpful questions and most important of all, it will give desirable candidates a positive perception of your school. It’s important to honestly describe the challenges of the job and let the candidate prove to you that they can overcome these by providing detailed examples of what they’ve done in the classroom before. 

Be open and personable. Let candidates interview you, too.

Staying connected after the interview is critical in order to keep potential new hires interested. Candidates want updates on the progress of their application and consistent engagement is an essential part of keeping those talented teachers interested. Without that, they may feel prematurely rejected by your school.

News or no news, check in regularly with your applicants. If they follow up with you, be responsive to their questions. Keep the lines of communication open and aim for a weekly check in. Candidates will stay interested in you if you stay interested in them.

4. Nail the job offer

So, you’ve got the right candidate in your sights. Great! Aim to get that offer out as quickly as possible. There will be other opportunities as well as yours and your ideal candidate could well be keeping their options open until a rock-solid offer is received. Make sure the offer is in the form of a verbal offer of employment, followed by an offer letter with full salary details, benefits and anything else they need to know about the job.

5. Onboard smoothly for long-term success

This is where you want to start getting them truly excited to work at your school – the recruitment process shouldn’t stop because the applicant accepted the job. The last thing you want is to lose a great candidate between the acceptance and start dates. This is a vital time to keep in contact and make sure that the candidate know they’re highly valued by your school and raise their excitement levels as their start date approaches.

When hiring teachers internationally, it’s important to have a recruitment timeline in place. This will help you ensure that you’re not only reducing your time to hire, but that you’re also giving feedback to applicants in a timely fashion. If your recruitment process is clunky or disorganized, candidates might consider this a reflection of your school.

Here’s a sample 1-step timeline to help you structure your hiring process:




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