EDFUEL’S GUIDANCE ON VIRTUAL SOURCING AND HIRING
Written by: Kerri-Ann Neseth and Mary Mason Boaz
Even before COVID-19, teacher recruitment and hiring were a daunting challenge for schools and organizations seeking to hire diverse, high-quality talent and for candidates looking to find the right position. In the current climate, schools and organizations are now needing to make all recruitment and hiring efforts virtual.
We’ve heard from many of you about these concerns and at EdFuel, it is important to us to provide responsive support to the education sector whenever and however we can. To that end, we wanted to share our curated best practices on virtual recruitment, which includes sourcing and hiring candidates, for those of you who are facing these challenges during this time of uncertainty.
Our top three tips for effective virtual sourcing of diverse, high-quality candidates include casting a wider net with job postings, bolstering employee involvement and investment, and attending virtual hiring fairs. See below for specific tactics related to each strategy.
Job Postings: Cast a Wider Net and Make Your Postings Pop
With more potential candidates working from home, now is the time to ensure your open positions are posted in as many places online as possible. In addition to posting to the sites you typically gravitate towards, ensure your postings are listed on subject-specific and even diversity-specific posting sites. For example, looking for a diverse math teacher? Try posting your position on the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators and Educate ME Foundation job boards.
Before submitting your job descriptions to be posted, complete a quick audit to ensure they include your school or organization’s competitive advantage, or Employee Value Proposition, which will help ensure you stand apart from others. For example, you may offer a flexible working environment, or top-notch professional development opportunities. Let candidates know this by including it in your job descriptions! Click here to review two different examples of EVP within job descriptions. Note: There are many ways to structure a job description that can allow your EVP to pop (e.g. writing in first person, including narratives, pictures, day in the life descriptions).
QUICK TIP! Now that candidates can’t visit in-person you need to make your school or organization come to life online! Ensure that the Careers tab on your website is up-to-date and includes visuals of your school, staff, students, and families. Click here to review an example.
Employee Engagement: Bolster Involvement and Investment
During challenging times like this, people want to be in the know and provide support in order to be helpful. Given this, a key thing to do now is keep your teachers and staff engaged and build their ongoing investment (and ultimately their retention!) in your goals and priorities. So, how do you do this virtually? We’re glad you asked! Here are some suggestions:
- Send a weekly e-newsletter to share pertinent updates, spotlight new best practices, and shout out staff members (staff morale booster!).
- Double down on your referral strategy by sharing the top two priority positions you’re recruiting for this month and encourage staff to refer other great people.
- Offer a prize (doesn’t have to be monetary) to the staff member that gets the most reposts or likes on a social media post related to your school or organization.
Ultimately, the goal with virtual employee engagement is to bolster involvement and investment by creating opportunities for teachers and staff to learn from one another and help you accomplish org-wide goals and priorities.
QUICK TIP! When possible, include new hires on employee engagement tactics as a strategic part of their onboarding process. Click here to review a sample new hire e-newsletter.
Virtual Job Fairs: Continue Putting Yourself Out There Virtually
Can’t attend that career fair that you recently registered for because of social distancing? Same. However, the good news is that where there’s a will, there’s a way. In order to continue advertising your current hiring needs (and your Employee Value Proposition!), register for and attend virtual job fairs.
At EdFuel, we understand the importance of creating virtual spaces for schools and organizations to connect with one another and have the expertise to do so effectively. Reach out to us if you’re interested in hosting a virtual job fair in your city!
QUICK TIP! EdFuel is hosting virtual job fairs in several cities this spring/summer. If you’re interested in sponsoring one in your region, contact us for more details.
Our top three tips to effectively evaluate and select candidates virtually include investing time on the front-end to make virtual possible, leaning in to transparent messaging, and reducing risk by unpacking virtual biases (they totally exist!). See below for specific tactics related to each strategy.
Investment: Making Virtual Possible
An important thing to keep in mind during this time is that your current hiring process, which is more than likely anchored in having an in-person interview, will need some adjustments before it can be successfully implemented virtually. This means that you’ll need to invest time on the front end to ensure that everyone involved in the process is aligned and moving forward together to accomplish hiring goals.
Here are some key tactics to set a solid foundation for and build investment in making virtual hiring possible:
- Document the new, virtual process and make sure key players are aware of it: This includes sharing the process with candidates who may also be new to virtual hiring processes.
- Train those involved on how to navigate the virtual process and ensure mindsets and practices are aligned.
- Double down on your hiring profile for quality and equity: During challenging times it can be easy to make decisions that don’t necessarily align with your needs in an effort to act quickly.
- To avoid groupthink and ensure inclusion, reflect and score interviews individually before coming together to share takeaways and make final hiring decisions.
Messaging: Virtual Transparency and Vulnerability
Now more than ever, it is important to be ultra-communicative to candidates so that you are setting them up for success. A key way to do that is to be transparent and vulnerable about how you are feeling related to navigating a virtual hiring process.
- Share the agenda and virtual norms ahead of time (e.g. video on, business casual attire).
- Align on constraints that candidates may be facing and how you will manage them (e.g. allowing flexibility for candidates who may have dependents at home or may not have access to video).
- Name the newness of the process for everyone (be vulnerable!) and that there may be additional follow-up.
- You can find two sample email templates for inviting candidates to the virtual interview and sample teach here.
For example, you may share with a candidate “This is new for us. As a school used to doing in-person demo lessons I want to name pretty candidly that this might not be as smooth of a process as we iron out the kinks of hiring virtually. You may be feeling nervous about the virtual interview, and we’re also a bit nervous because we want to get this right too. Please let us know what we can do to make you as comfortable as possible. Is there anything you’re feeling nervous about or want to flag for us that might come up during the interview?” By communicating transparently, you’ll model for candidates what the expectation is on your team as it relates to building trust.
Reducing Risk: Unpacking Virtual Bias
Bias can creep in quickly in virtual settings, and in ways that you may not quickly realize. Do you prefer for someone to have a plain wall as their background when you meet with them virtually? Are you noticing whether or not the desk or shelf behind them is cluttered? In order to avoid virtual interviewing bias, you’ll first need to identify your biases and then and develop intentional ways to work against them.
- Identifying Virtual Recruitment Bias:
- Complete a 5-minute activity where your write down all of your recruitment biases. Afterward, add a lens to identify how they may show up virtually.
- After each virtual interview, jot down things that came to mind as you spoke to the candidate, unrelated to the core competencies needed for the role. Be aware that these may also be related to your virtual biases.
- Mitigating Virtual Recruitment Bias:
- Lean into hiring profiles now more than ever and anchor your interview ratings in the core requirements for this role (Find sample hiring profiles, rubrics, and interview guides here).
- Where possible, record interviews (make sure to let candidates know in advance) so others can gut check your ratings and give you feedback.
If you have questions about any of these tips or are interested in adapting your recruitment and hiring processes in this virtual landscape, check out our website or reach out for more specifics (firstname.lastname@example.org).