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How it Was vs How it Could Be: Reimagining Hiring Season Best Practices

How it Was vs How it Could Be: Reimagining Hiring Season Best Practices

Education Elements  |  Teacher Retention  |  Teams & Culture  |  School Leadership

It’s the time of year when hiring managers and principals are gearing up to recruit and onboard their staff for the upcoming school year. As we prepare for this hiring season, most of us have team members who were promoted,  or have pre-existing vacancies, and newly retired staff which creates additional open roles to fill. Undoubtedly, there are some big shoes to fill, but where are the people? As education evolves, we have the opportunity to redesign how we view hiring. Whether by leveraging technology to maximize time and optimizing the interview experience or by rethinking how the interview experience looks, here are 4 key moves to upgrading your organization’s hiring process. 

Key Move 1: Take the show on the road.

If the competitive job market in your area and surrounding areas is  tapped out, consider traveling to university job fairs. Following school of education accounts for local universities is a great way to stay “in the know” and become a preferred recruiter. For non-school based applicants, the workforce commission in your state is a great pipeline for connecting individuals in need of placement to your organization. Visit your state workforce commission’s website to register and share your district’s job postings.  

Key Move 2: Rethink the interview experience!

We all know that a 30-minute interview can feel like an express lane checkout at the grocery store: we want an efficient process so that everyone gets what they need. With a competitive market and the need to fill roles quickly, the struggle can be real when it comes to making a decision when all you have to base your decision on is a sheet of paper (or a pdf) with a list of qualifications and a candidate’s responses to questions. We can make impactful upgrades to improve this process. If smart fridges can collect data about what groceries you need and send that info to your favorite grocer’s site for home delivery, we can redesign the interview experience too! Here are some upgrades to try:

  • If you want to test the candidate’s skills with those needed for the role, try role-playing in a common work scenario providing some  context. Use questions and pose challenges you have faced to see how the potential teammate navigates the situation. This gives you the ability to assess how the candidate thinks through the process and see what questions they pose or what solutions they offer.  You will also gain insights into their communication skills and knowledge of content. Not only do you get a feel for the candidate, but you also get a clearer glimpse into how they might fit with the current team’s dynamic and if they can meet the needs of the role.
  • If you are interviewing candidates virtually, consider requesting a video share of them “in action”- whether that’s leading a lesson or facilitating a PLC. If they are interviewing for a non-campus based role, you can ask them to explain a task or the steps to complete it and record their screen-share. Candidates can capture audio of them explaining a troubleshooting process to show their proficiency in using a digital tool or providing remote support. Since much of the work in any role requires the ability to problem solve and think through steps, a video ask is a quick way to see their nimble thinking in action. 

Key Move 3: Create clear debrief protocols!

Once all candidates have interviewed, now it's time to consider which candidate is the best fit. This decision-making process is complex and can divide hiring teams, leading the final decisions to  lack consensus. To help foster equity and clear processes, hiring teams should develop and continually refine a clear set of debrief protocols. As a guide to designing debrief protocols, hiring teams can consider the following questions prior to starting hiring rounds:

  • Decision Structures - How will final decisions be made? By consensus, the school leader, or according to another system? 
  • Scoring Norms - Is there a “cutoff” score for candidates to be considered to go onto the next round or be offered the role? 
  • Scoring Data - What system or  tracker will be used to capture notes and scores? 
  • Discussion Norms - How much time will be allocated to discuss candidates? How will we ensure that all voices are heard? 
  • Decision Next Steps - How are hiring decisions shared with candidates and the internal team? 

By considering these questions ahead of time, hiring teams can ensure debrief protocols are efficient and effective, enabling the onboarding experience to be expedited. 

Key Move 4: Make space to reflect! Great teams continuously reflect on their processes to make improvements.

To start this process with your hiring team, consider a team retrospective. During this time, you can start by simply asking your team: What worked well during this hiring cycle? What didn’t work? What remaining questions do you have? If you had a magic wand and could change anything about your hiring process, what would it be and why? By gathering this information from your team, you can align on key improvements that you want to implement in future hiring cycles. For deeper reflection, consider asking these questions to candidates that accept your offer. 

The hiring process can feel daunting at times, but  it can also be exciting. It can offer  a new opportunity for a recent graduate, or a way to support current employees who are interviewing because they wish to grow within the organization. In using these four key moves, we have the opportunity  to reimagine how the candidate journey looks. We get to plan how to tap into different pipelines, update and upgrade the interview experience, and systemize our approach to offering roles to candidates. We get to reflect as a team or with candidates so that we can improve the experience and continue to expand our reach. 

If you are interested in partnering with Ed Elements in redesigning your candidate journey or hiring process, feel free to email micaela@edelements.com and @chris@edelements.com. 

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