ESL Recruitment - An Overview
Why recruitment is a key to success, and how to get it right
Recruitment is the process of getting the right person in the right job and so is a key to success in your school. All too often you have one hour with somebody to decide whether they're going to fit into your school and your existing team. If you hire this person, you're going to see them on a daily basis, you'll be sharing in their successes and failures, and the image of your school could depend on their abilities. So you want to get it right.
Mistakes that are made can be costly and very time-consuming. If the person doesn't fit the profile or doesn't fit into your existing team, you might find yourself starting up the recruitment process again. On the other side of the fence, if the interviewee doesn't get all the necessary info regarding the post and the school, they're not in a position to make an informed decision. They can regret their decision later and leave you. Out of fairness to interviewees and to save yourself extra legwork later, you need to be clear, precise and focused. I think that an hour is a very limited time for both sides to make such major decisions and like to use the time to the full.
Before starting any recruitment process, it's essential for you to know exactly what you're looking for. As one very wise person said, "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know whether you've got there?" This sounds obvious but you'd be surprised by the number of recruiters who jump this essential step.
Have your goal or end point firmly in sight. For this, you'll need to ask yourself a certain number of questions. Here are some suggestions:
Once you know what you want, you're almost ready to start looking. Before starting, it's helpful to brainstorm the profile of the perfect candidate. You could consider three categories:
From this wish-list, you can decide which elements are essential and which are an added advantage. This is your person specification (person spec) and will help you at every stage of the recruitment process.
Think about how you are going to check each item on your person spec. What can you check through asking for references? What will you ask the candidate in interview? How will you check certificates and diplomas? Will you ask the candidate to bring them to the interview? What will you ask the candidate on the phone before deciding whether to continue with the recruitment process? Remember that bringing someone in for an interview is very time-consuming for you and the person concerned. So get as much information as possible before inviting the candidate in.
Now you know what you are looking for, you're ready to start. Here is my suggested procedure and one that has worked for me.
All the above can seem very time-consuming. Especially when you're ready to hire. I strongly believe that any time invested in finding the right person is time well spent. The more time you spend getting your hiring right, the less time you'll spend with problems and/or departures later.
The expected outcomes of a well-thought out recruitment process are an increase in the number of suitable teachers who come to work with you and stay with you. The extra costs of a teacher not fitting in and leaving should be reduced.
Of course, some people still prefer to see hiring staff as an art and follow their feelings. By now you will have guessed that I'm in the camp of those who see recruitment as a science. I love spontaneity, but not in the interview room!
Don't forget that recruitment doesn't end at the interview. You might have decided to have a probationary period - or the law of the country you work in might require this - if so, how will you handle it? You also need to work at keeping your staff. Newly-recruited teachers are expected to be effective as quickly as possible, and they have their expectations of you too. More about these topics soon. So watch this space!
© Lucy Pollard 2004