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employer branding international schools

Feel like hiring teachers is a bit of a slog these days? Well, better get ready for how much harder it will be in a few years. New international teaching jobs are emerging in their droves, the pool of qualified teachers is dwindling year over year and competition for qualified international educators is getting more and more intense.

When it comes to recruiting today’s teachers, doing things the way you do, mainly because that’s how they’ve always been done, is no longer enough. These guys have lots of options to choose from and that’s not going to change any time soon. So, what’s the secret sauce to thriving in a tricky hiring landscape, like the one we’re facing right now?

It’s employer branding.

It’s fair to say that there’s a whole load of HR buzzwords floating around these days. But employer branding is a fairly simple concept, and it’s been around in some shape or form since hiring people became a thing:

What is it about your school that makes teachers want to work there in the first place?

The best teachers aren’t going to fall into your lap without you doing a good job at identifying, communicating and managing your employer brand. So let’s cover some key areas to focus on when you’re thinking about building your employer brand (we promise, getting started is easier than you think!)

1. Create candidate personas

Maybe you’ve never heard marketing chatter about buyer personas (lucky you!) Let’s break it down quickly: Personas are research and data-driven insights and characteristics of your target audience (in this case, your dream teachers).

Creating candidate personas is the first step towards a) understanding who your ideal candidates really are and b) figuring out ways to differentiate your school from others in your region. So survey your current teachers, what do they like about your school? Find any external research on your target candidates, like Teach Away’s 2018 survey of 12,618 international teaching candidates – a bit of research will go a long way in helping you develop a thorough candidate persona.

Candidate personas are especially useful to have on hand when you’re thinking about creating relevant recruitment content – that way you can ensure you’re putting messaging out there that’s attracting the right teachers for you. It stands to reason, for example, that highly experienced teachers with families will prioritize different things in a job than a single, fresh education grad, so you’ll need a different approach for each type.

The benefits there are twofold – you can also stop wasting time attracting candidates who may not be qualified or a good cultural fit for the positions you’re hiring for.

2. Audit your careers page/job posting

Take a nosey at your careers pages (whether on your school website or a third-party hiring platform) and your job postings. Is it easy to navigate and find the info candidates want to know about a prospective school, such as the career progression and PD opportunities you offer, what the salary and perks are like, etc.? If you’re a school that puts time into your teachers’ professional development and growth, don’t keep it a secret – candidates really care about that stuff.

Are you following the “show, don’t tell” philosophy, featuring testimonials or videos from any employee advocates that spotlight what makes your school the place to be? Don’t let the lack of video skills hold you back on this front – a minute-long video previewing what the job’s really like from the perspective of real teachers at your school can be done on the cheap and even shot on a mobile, using free editing software like iMovie.

Other fundamental things to look out for:

  • Are your jobs and careers page mobile friendly?
  • Are your job postings insightful enough to help candidates screen themselves in or out, depending on any make-or-break factors?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself when reviewing your current recruitment content.

3. Assess your hiring strategy

Which channels are you currently using you showcase your school? Are you missing any key ones? This isn’t just about ensuring you’re allocating your recruitment budget in the right places (although that’s a nice added perk).

In 2019, your employer brand has to extend beyond your school website. It needs to be brought to life on education job boards and Google – as the top online methods of sourcing jobs, these are the channels that will help amplify your employer branding efforts.

4. Evaluate your candidate experience

91% of candidates agree that your hiring process has a significant impact on how favorably they view your school as a potential employer. So what does you’re current existing hiring process look like, from application through to the interview and job offer (or rejection)? You’ll want to create a clearly defined (and trackable) process so that you can be more efficient and evaluate what’s working well and what you could improve on.

Take a look at your current recruiting tools, as well – is your applicant tracking system helping you automate certain tasks and free up resources that can be better spent on sealing the deal with the perfect candidates?

5. Benchmark yourself against other schools

Now that you’ve taken a long, hard look at yourself, it’s time to research other international schools in your region to see how good (or bad) of a job they’re doing with their own employer brand strategy.

Check out their careers page, job postings and see what you can find out about their hiring process. This is a great way to get some inspiration for your own employer brand and pinpoint ways you can differentiate your school from the crowd.

There’s no international school on the planet that won’t benefit from using employer branding to help attract and hire the best teachers. But much like Rome, a great employer brand isn’t built in a day. By starting with these steps I’ve covered above, however, you’ll go a long way in shaping a positive narrative around your school and becoming – and staying – an employer of choice for great educators the world over.

Happy hiring!

Ready to access insights and trends from 12,618 international teaching candidates?

Download Teach Away’s 2019 International Education Recruitment Report for free today.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of AISA ConneXions, the bi-annual newsletter of the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA).