Teacher shortages, smaller applicant pools, and a burned-out workforce...The great resignation is hitting schools hard, with 40% of school leaders describing staff shortages as "severe."
Recruiting quality faculty and hiring school employees is a top priority for districts everywhere, and it's time to think outside of the box. In this recent live discussion, we explored 5 ways to turn your website into your district's biggest recruitment secret weapon. Watch the recording below or keep reading for some of the best practices!
#1. Create a careers page and make it easy to find
When you have a job opening at your school or district, you can advertise all you want with endless flyers, billboard ads, Google Ads, and online job postings … but eventually they will all lead back to your school district’s website and careers page.
Your website is often the first impression for prospective employees, and while your website is the #1 factor in a family’s decision to enroll — the same rules apply to teachers and staff.
If you hope to offer the best of what your district has to offer, don’t forget to include the following on your district’s careers page:
- Engaging employee programs
- Leadership team welcome
- Showcase diversity
- Bragging rights (awards & distinctions)
- How to apply
- Company benefits
- Why your town is a great place to work
- Tour of the schools
- Photos and videos
Tulsa Public Schools’ career page offers so much of what’s mentioned above — and it’s easy to find. Within their main navigation, footer, sticky navigation, and even the district’s “Find It Fast” search feature, users can easily navigate to more information about job opportunities, substitute openings, compensation and benefits information, and more!
#2. Include testimonials — with video!
Showcasing testimonials — or the reasons why your teachers and staff love working at your district — can make a big impact. They offer the social proof that we all look for before making a purchase or a big decision. And while written testimonials are great and serve a purpose, the candidate application rate goes up by 34 percent when a job post includes a video.
Clear Creek ISD in Texas entices job searches to “Join Our Team,” and with multiple videos from its teachers, substitutes, bus drivers, maintenance staff, and more, the videos bring an authenticity to their district that couldn’t be communicated as strongly with just text.
#3. Show off your district’s culture
Salary and benefits are important, but if you don’t feel like you’re going to fit in where you work, or if you don’t have a strong connection to the values and mission of your district, you won’t stay long.
Culture is the #1 attraction for prospective employees, so show your employees’ passions and connections to one another and the district. Show the cultural fit, and showcase the opportunities to learn, have fun, and ultimately, help students.
Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota won an NSRPA award for its Careers page, which inspires prospective employees to “Find Your Path” on their Career Center hub. It even incorporates an interactive “Explore our Community” component to support employee recruitment and retention. Nicely done!
#4. Don’t forget about SEO
A careers page is great, but what if no one can find you? Motivated job seekers won’t wait for an opportunity to fall into their lap — they’re going to go to Google and search for open positions. Since over 90 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75 percent of search clicks go to the top three results, being on page one of search results is imperative.
Once again, Osseo Area Schools has done a great job at ranking organically for their careers page by implementing the best on-page SEO practices and increasing their chances of being found by applicants.
#5. Simplify the application process
When you’re posting a position online, consider the applicants’ habits and preferences. How much information do you really need from each applicant at this stage? And is that the same for all positions, be it a teacher, a coach, or a per-diem substitute? Think about how applicants really want to apply — is responding to an email and attaching a resume, references, cover letter, etc. the most effective, or could you create a short form and empower applicants to show their genuine interest?
Creating a Career Interest Form, as Rockford Public Schools did, can help streamline the application process and let applicants take the next step. A simple, branded form on your website will not only help collect the necessary information from qualified applicants when a position opens, but it also creates an opportunity to share this form all year long, which can help build a cache of interested job applicants.
If you’re looking to attract and retain the best and most qualified teachers and staff, you'll need a powerful web experience. With an impactful careers page showcasing your school's culture and people, developing search engine authority, and streamlining the application process, you’re on your way to hiring the next generation of amazing teachers.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joshua Sauer, APR, is the Director for District Communications Strategy with Finalsite. Before joining Finalsite, he spent six years working as a #SchoolPR professional for a large public school district in Oklahoma and one year as a freelance webmaster. Joshua is heavily involved at the national level in school PR and is the former president of the Oklahoma School Public Relations Association (OKSPRA). Joshua is an Accredited Public Relations (APR) practitioner with more than 11 years of marketing and PR work experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Morgan Delack is Finalsite's VP of Communications, leading the marketing team's public school content, branding initiatives and professional development events. Morgan's background is a mixture of public school communications and television journalism, having worked in both industries for several years. She was named among NSPRA's 35 under 35 and has earned two Emmy Awards for her work in broadcasting. Morgan lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids.