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How to recruit teachers who align with your school values and culture

When it comes to recruiting teachers internationally, values and culture fit should be a significant factor in the decision-making process. At Teach Away, we continually stress the importance of hiring for culture and values and not only on the basis of qualifications and experience.

Assessing a candidate’s potential cultural fit isn’t quite the same as measuring up skills and experiences from a resume, though. To help you avoid making the wrong hire, here are three ways to recruit for culture and values fit:


Articulate your culture.

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It may sound simple, but before you can hire effectively for cultural fit, you will first need to define and articulate your school’s culture and values. What are your school’s values? How would you describe the culture in a few sentences?

If you are interviewing as a panel, make sure that everyone involved in the hiring process is on the same page in how they understand and communicate your school’s culture, mission and values.


Share your culture.

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Once your school’s vision is defined, it should be clearly conveyed in all of your external communication channels, including your school website and any recruiting channels you use to source teaching candidates – especially your job postings.

Make your school’s culture apparent from the first moment a candidate encounters an opportunity at your school and throughout the entire hiring process. By consistently projecting your school’s mission, values and culture across these crucial hiring touch points, you’ll not only attract candidates with a sincere passion for the job, you’ll also dissuade teachers who may not be the right fit for your school from applying, saving you precious time in reviewing and interviewing the wrong candidates.

Whenever possible, give your shortlisted candidates the opportunity to meet with teachers currently working at your school. Be sure to solicit their feedback on the candidate to help you get a sense of whether they would fit into your school’s culture.


Ask the right questions.

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A resume sums up a job candidate’s experience, but it takes an interview to truly gauge a candidate’s cultural fit.

When interviewing, don’t just assume that your gut instincts will give you enough information about whether a teaching candidate is likely to be a good fit at your school – these are frequently inaccurate. There are several quantifiable methods to help you establish a candidate’s compatibility with your school’s culture, including personality tests.

Adding a values section to your candidate assessment rubric is also critically important. Prior to the interview, take time to brainstorm behavioral interview questions. Identify the competencies related to your school’s core values and think carefully about the kind of answers that you want to elicit from your interviewees.

During the interview, describe your school’s values in behavioral terms and ask candidates to provide situations where they have demonstrated these competencies in the past.

Checking a candidate’s references is also a crucial step in the post-interview stage. Ask referees the same questions you would ask the candidate in order to judge their cultural fit.

Teachers do their best work when they’re happy with their work environment. While many international schools are skilled at recruiting candidates with the requisite skills and experience, they could also benefit from learning how to recruit for the right culture and values fit.

By incorporating culture and values fit to your recruiting process, you will be able to hire teachers who can flourish in their new roles, are invested in the success of your school and are much more likely to remain with your school for the long term.

We hope you found this helpful and we wish you the very best of luck with your candidate search this school year!

Do you know what really matters to your teaching candidates?

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of NESA News Magazine, the bi-annual newsletter of the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA).