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recruiter at a desk taking an assessment of a recruit for dei cultures fit

About The Author

Jane has considerable experience in the world of international education. She first became involved in teacher and educational leader recruitment while working in Abu Dhabi. Over eight years, Jane worked with colleagues and agencies organizing extensive recruitment campaigns around the globe. Today, Jane uses her knowledge and experience to support schools and organizations in the design and fulfilment of their recruitment goals.

Recruiting teachers and school leaders is hard work.

Finding and ensuring that you have the best candidate is more than simply hiring someone with the requisite qualifications and experience.

Today, having the right person in the right place requires intentionally recruiting a diverse and inclusive cadre of professionals who can add value to your existing professional school or organizational team.

Previous blogs addressed the potential influence of unconscious bias on a recruitment team’s planning, implementation, and decision-making.

A subsequent post highlighted the importance to both the candidate and the recruitment team, of ensuring a transparent and objective interview process in either virtual or face-to-face settings.

Here, let us address an issue that tends to concern every recruiter until the newly hired teacher’s feet are firmly on the ground.

In other words, “Is this candidate the right fit for our school/organization?”

Adding to the conundrum above is the reality that this question is even more relevant considering the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in today’s workplace.

These days the internet is replete with articles highlighting the importance of DEI to an organization’s long-term success with the result that many are busy writing policies to support their goals and targets for inclusive workplaces.

DEI issues are equally significant for schools and educators as seen in areas such as school improvement plans, curricula and learning outcomes (including resourcing and assessment practices), teacher pedagogical practices, staffing allocations, and professional learning opportunities.

In terms of recruitment, developing an inclusive and representational team of talented international education professionals is increasingly a stated priority for recruitment teams.

There is no question–the stakes are high. Recruitment teams work very hard to find the right match, yet as one head of school from the UK said when asked about international teacher recruitment, “It’s very hit and miss. Some can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.” (DES) Ergo, confirmation that the above-mentioned concern exists.

Experience is a good teacher. The questions or prompts below, gleaned from the experiences of long-time recruiters, may assist your recruiting teams during the final selection processes as you discern the authenticity of candidates when it comes to DEI issues.

Is Authenticity Key? Examining Non-Verbal Communication With These Questions And Prompts

  1. When asked for examples or anecdotes that demonstrate the candidate’s adaptability and/or flexibility in a different teaching and living environment, what did we notice? To what extent did the candidate appear thoughtful and reflective? What was the level of detail in his or her response?
  2. When asked about their openness to new encounters, what was the degree of congruence between the candidate’s verbal and non-verbal responses? Research highlights the connection between body language and authenticity. Pay attention to unconscious eye movement, hand and body gestures, voice tone, etc. They speak volumes.
  3. Prospective employees typically use the school or organization’s social media pages to learn more about its beliefs, policies, and practices regarding DEI issues. To what extent did candidate responses reflect appreciation and understanding of the significance of this issue, or did the candidate merely repeat or parrot the text and terminology found on your social media posts?
  4. How are you assessing the candidate’s potential fit with your school, organizational, and community culture? What attributes (i.e., humility, self-awareness, critical thinking, self-reflection, lifelong learning, empathy, patience, emotional intelligence, etc.) have you noticed throughout the process thus far?
  5. To what extent did you notice instances of candidate self-correcting or self-censoring? Most teacher candidates are very much aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion in today’s workplace and in their effort to create a favorable impression, they may have exaggerated or even sounded defensive in their responses on this issue.
  6. How would you characterize your interactions and conversations with the candidate? Where would you place them on a scale of diplomacy, formality, or candidness?
  7. Exploring the depth of the candidate’s expertise and experience when discussing the issue of inclusion and belonging, what intentional and specific strategies were evident?
  8. When given the opportunity, what questions did the candidate ask? To what extent did the candidate seem genuinely curious and motivated to learn more about your school’s efforts to respond to and embed DEI issues into the existing school culture? More importantly, when answered, what sense did you get that he or she was genuinely listening and hearing your responses?

Getting ahead of problems, or upstream thinking, is always time well spent and when it comes to recruiting teachers who can deliver a quality and inclusive educational program for our children, this is certainly true.

Recruiting teams that take time to reflect on candidate authenticity in order to ensure the best fit may enjoy more confidence in their decision-making and hopefully, fewer hiccups!

Be sure to download the new International Education Recruitment Report 2023 for more recruitment tips and strategies.