Recruiting quality faculty and staff is likely one of your school or district’s strategic goals, and also one of the most difficult to achieve. Hard-to-fill positions like classroom teachers, bilingual educators, substitutes and support staff have become even more difficult to find since the pandemic hit in 2020. Sixty-one percent of superintendents are having trouble finding teachers, and one in three educators say the pandemic has made them more likely to retire earlier than planned.
To attract and hire the best staff for your school, you need to think beyond just your posted job openings. It is easy to assume that job title or salary is the only thing a prospective teacher or staff member cares about when considering a place of employment, but research shows that culture, location, lifestyle, and work dynamics play a bigger role.
In a 2019 survey conducted by Glassdoor, more than 56 percent of working adults surveyed ranked a strong workplace culture as more important than salary, with nearly 75 percent reporting they would not apply for a job if the organization’s culture did not align with their personal values.
So how do you showcase your school or district’s culture in order to attract prospective teachers, substitutes and support staff? Using the same powerful tool you use to attract prospective families — your website! Not only is your website being used by families looking to apply or enroll, it’s also being used by prospective employees, and competition for quality employees has never been tougher!
In this blog, we’ll walk you through how to create an impactful careers page on your school or district website that attracts top quality teachers, substitutes and support staff. The process of building this essential page consists of four key steps:
4. Make it easy to apply
Let’s dive in!
1. Make the page easy to find
How long does it take for someone to find your careers page from your school or district’s homepage? Is it hidden in the website footer or deep in your site navigation? Or wait...do you even have a website section dedicated to recruitment? Take a look at your website through the lens of a prospective hire and ask yourself: can this information be found in just one or two clicks?
Having a prominent spot on your website is critical — whether it be in the main navigation, a call-to-action, or an intuitive menu item. Phrases like "Join Us" and even "Prospective Faculty" are easy starting points.
Wayzata Public Schools includes “Careers” as one of the main navigation options in its website header, making it difficult for job seekers to miss where to go for more information.
Hong Kong International School also focuses on faculty recruitment. Their website has a call-to-action on their scrolling homepage that invites prospective staff to learn more.
Avenues the World School has an impressive careers page nested in the faculty section of the website. With faculty profiles and credentials being a main driver in school choice, this page likely sees a high number of page views, meaning job openings have a larger viewing audience.
In addition to making this content easy to find on your website, you’ll also want to consider how you can make these pages easy to find from search engines. That’s right — not every single prospective teacher or staff member is going to come directly to your website — especially if they are new to the area or relocating. They’re going to start in Google by searching for terms like “private school teaching jobs” or “teaching jobs in [city]”.
For example, on average more than 400 individuals are searching for “teaching jobs in Boston” on a monthly basis. The term “school jobs in California” has almost 500 monthly searches as well — with variants by school type. Depending on your school type and location, you’ll want to optimize your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and page content to rank for the terms that matter to your school.
Let’s take a look at Avon Old Farms School’s “Work at Avon” page. While this page is easy to find from the school’s “About” Navigation, it has also done a great job optimizing for search.
Using the SEO settings available in Finalsite’s CMS, Composer, the school has done a great job optimizing it’s title tag and meta descriptions for “New England Boarding School Jobs”.
2. Tell your story
Once prospective employees find your careers page, what does it tell them about working there? Make sure your careers page is more than just a landing spot for listing openings and application links. Use the opportunity to showcase the unique culture that your school or district has to offer and why it’s an exceptional place to work.
On your careers page, you'll want to include:
- Testimonials from current teachers and faculty (more on this later)
- Information about your school culture, including events and opportunities for connections
- Photos and videos you have of faculty and staff engaged in the community
- Perks or benefits you can share publicly
- Information about the local area for individuals who may be considering relocating for the job
Work relationships are very important for employee well-being. People crave personal connections, and want to see that a prospective employer is supportive, nurturing and fosters colleague connections.
A great way to show human connections is through video. The Kansas City Public Schools marketing team created a video from the superintendent sharing why potential teachers and staff members should work there over neighboring districts and schools. Using video for staff recruitment is an underutilized tool that humanizes the process, allowing people to hear directly from the organization’s leader.
Does your school or district offer team building opportunities or social outings? Are there ways to connect with colleagues outside of the classroom through organized outings or celebrations? Sharing photos, captions and stories that highlight genuine camaraderie can go a long way in showcasing what your company culture is all about.
Windward School shares a simple message of “Why Work at Windward?” followed by a casual staff photo highlighting the school’s social media hashtag, #WeAreWindward. The short but impactful messaging shows the school is dedicated to building a nurturing environment and values collaboration and fun!
Rotterdam International Secondary School is documenting the stories of their staff - which in fact is also a great selling point for parents who are looking to learn more about their children's teachers. The school compiles these stories using one of Finalsite’s content modules called Finalsite Posts. This versatile module can be used to display staff stories, testimonials, and more.
If your school is located in a rural or remote area, your geographic location might make it more challenging to recruit faculty into your corner of the world. On your careers page, consider highlighting what makes your town or city such a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. These small additions could make it more enticing for qualified teachers and support staff to consider and apply to your job openings.
3. Share Testimonials
What better way to show what working at your school or district is like than having your employees tell the story themselves? Including testimonials is a powerful way to connect with prospective employees, and also validates the feelings and thoughts of your current staff- a win-win!
Spring Lake Park Schools specifically asks new hires the question of why they chose the district as a place to work. The one simple question brings in dozens of quotes to use on the careers page, specifically targeting new staff.
Viewpoint School handpicks impactful quotes to include prominently on its careers page, offering a positive view into what working there is like.
Video testimonials are a fantastic way to connect with prospective staff members. Keystone Academy uses a video series to introduce its staff in a series called “Meet Our Teachers.”
Whether you choose to display text or video testimonials, the Finalsite Posts module is an easy and flexible module that allows you to share this content in an organized, visually-appealing way.
4. Make it easy to apply
In addition to highlighting all of the great reasons to work at your school or district, the most obvious element your careers page should include is a list of current openings and how to apply. One of the biggest mistakes some schools make with employee recruitment is making the application process too difficult to navigate. The job openings, descriptions and links to apply should be easy to find and only one click away from the careers landing page.
Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia uses an accordion tool in Finalsite Composer to list openings by category, making it simple to click on a job title to view the description and how to apply.
Although Glenview School District 34 uses a third party tool for applications and job listings, the district still makes navigating there a breeze with an easy to find button on the career page.
Once a prospective employee makes the decision to apply, make sure they understand what next steps might be. For public schools, even after an offer is extended, nothing is official until it gets the stamp of approval from the board of education. For new teachers and staff members, this is an unfamiliar process that deserves explanation. Rockford Public Schools does a great job outlining the process from application to board approval, leaving prospective employees feeling confident about what to expect.
RPS shares its four-step process, explaining how to apply, what an interview might look like, when a job offer will be extended and how official approval takes place.
High quality teachers are the main reason parents choose to enroll their children in a school or district. With teaching shortages around the world, schools need to do more than just have an employment link on their website to stand out. By developing a careers page to highlight your organization’s culture, you’ll make your school a more attractive option for prospective employees.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Morgan Delack is Finalsite's Director 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.