It’s no secret that having great educators in the classroom is one of the keys to fostering successful students and an effective school—but finding top-tier educators can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive.
The hiring process is especially challenging in today’s landscape, as most states have made dramatic cuts to education funding since the start of the recession.
This reality has forced administrators to do more with less—and also makes expediting and optimizing the hiring process a near necessity for districts.
With that in mind, here are five tips to ensure that you hire the very best teachers without wasting precious time and resources:
Identify your needs.
This seems like an obvious concept, but it’s a step that is often (and surprisingly) overlooked when schools look to make a hire. Each school and individual position is unique, requiring a specific skill set and teacher personality.
Ask yourself: What kind of learners will the teacher be working with? Is a secondary language necessary for optimum learning? What type of teacher will allow this particular group of students to thrive? It’s important to identify the necessary qualities and prerequisites for the position before you start sorting through candidates.
Fix only what is broken.
When working to improve your school’s hiring process, don’t completely disrupt what’s already in place. Instead, sit down with key administrators to discuss which parts of your existing process are the strongest and which have room for improvement.
Be sure to consider cost, efficiency and effectiveness when evaluating each aspect of the process. Then, carefully weigh which aspects you can have the most impact on without going over budget or spending months retraining and reworking what’s already in place.
For example, choose technology that is intuitive and easily integrates with your current practices.
Select the right technology to help get the job done.
Building on that last example, many schools fear teacher hiring technology due to the massive hype surrounding solutions that claim to be a silver bullet. But tools that are purpose-built to improve and augment existing practices can be a tremendous asset during the hiring process.
Cloud-based tools can save schools money, for example, while tools using predictive algorithms can also help make the process more efficient. Of course, not all teacher screening tools are created equal, so it is important to do your research.
Consider qualitative and quantitative criteria to assess candidates.
Don’t use an oversimplified narrowing methodology—like sorting through a pile of résumés by simply skimming for certain criteria—to expedite your hiring process. The key to a successful process is to find a way to be efficient and cost-effective while still getting a comprehensive view of top candidates.
More data is better. It may seem counterintuitive, but more information can actually lead to a faster hiring process.
Don’t lose sight of the end goal—which is improving student achievement.
Similarly, at the end of the day, every decision made and process implemented within the education system should be laser focused on the end goal of improving student achievement and learning. In fact, most district leaders are feeling more pressure than ever to show tangible improvements in student achievement, and funding is now often tied to these results.
And such pressure means expediting that hiring process must be done without sacrificing this focus. This end goal really needs to be front-of-mind during every step of the hiring process.
The right teachers are fundamental to student achievement—but don’t let the need to make a speedy hire sacrifice educator quality. Use these tips to expedite and optimize your current hiring process and become a leader in your district.
Joel Sackett is a consultant with Hanover Research, which specializes in market research, institutional analysis, and grant proposal development.