New thinking for an old problem?
Andy Homden and Simon Harris look at ideas for teacher information packs that will help a school stand apart in the age of digital recruitment.
It’s getting worse
By all accounts and according to a series of recent surveys, the issue that worries international Heads perhaps more than anything else, is the recruitment of great staff.
There is talk of a global teacher shortage; the number of international schools continues to grow despite Covid and the global demand for an education in the medium of English shows no sign of going away.
Recruitment campaigns are starting earlier, more effort is (quite rightly) being made to recruit and train local teachers and (more negatively) international staff are being asked to commit or resign earlier in the year or to sign longer contracts. Recruitment is now a year-round effort.
Getting the information pack right
However you find your new staff, having the right message communicated in the right way using a variety of media to attract and retain the interest of good people is essential. The ‘information pack’ has to be high quality and these days it will be largely digital. The good news is, that much of its content will be free if you know where to look.
What makes your school stand out from the crowd and capture the imagination of a prospective teacher? Here are five key ideas for your next recruiting pack.
1. Get the basics into context
Tip: use numbeo
The basics of salary and benefits are still the most important thing for every job seeker. People will not look further into what you offer if they don’t know what their salary will be, how they will be housed, what cover the medical insurance will give them and what other allowance/s they will be entitled to. This isn’t new and it’s not rocket science to provide this information, but make sure the information is set into context. In this respect, the cost of living is hugely important. A simple way to help people here, is to include a link to the cost of living website, numbeo, which, provides a tool to see, share and compare information about cost of living worldwide.
Tip: video is vital
Getting across the personality of the school’s faculty, showing your teachers as people with whom potential teachers can connect is becoming increasingly important. The self-shot videos below were produced for the Department for Education (DfE) in England and taken by the teachers themselves after a clear video treatment had been delivered and technical training had been provided to the teachers filmed. Once we had the clips, we edited them and the videos were distributed through Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Social media network to reach our target audience:
The videos below bring to life, ‘a day in the lives’ of two fun, energetic, primary school teachers, Chelsea and Kit.
The curriculum and philosophy of the school are hugely important to applicants, but real people to whom they can relate and who are putting the curriculum into practice are even more important. Video can give a feel for the atmosphere of the school as well as conveying key points about what is taught, and, perhaps more importantly, how it is taught. Distribution through social media is becoming increasingly important.
Quick tip: when asked about ‘what the best thing is about their school’ a teacher will almost always say ‘the students’. Getting teachers to talk about the young people they teach is a must in any recruitment package and students make for great participants in any social content (providing permissions have been obtained).
Tip: collate the best video material you can for smooth click throughs by an applicant
Getting candidates excited about the city and country where they will work is almost as important as getting them excited about the school itself. There is so much information online, from the mainstream links provided by organisations like TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet to the more offbeat video diaries compiled by ‘digital nomads’ and the travelling public. Think about your audience and their needs – especially if they have a family and take the time to research carefully.
Shevelle and Devan have quit their jobs in New York to travel the world, posting videos of every country they visit and have just set up their website with Squarespace. Watch the video below as they discover Kuala Lumpur and give us a tour of their apartment.
‘Since we’ve been in Malaysia we may have had the wrong impression. Let’s just say we were wrong to think Kuala Lumpur is like any old city. In fact it’s so much more than that! Today we run into some unexpected surprises. Meet a few incredible people and show you exactly how much you can get whilst living here. Could this possible be related to New York? Let’s find out if Kuala Lumpur is value for money?’
People work internationally in order to travel, experience a different culture and enjoy a different lifestyle. They need to know about the opportunities as well as the risks, and the best people to talk about these matters are the teachers themselves and again video is vital. Being honest is essential.
4. Professional development
Tip: let your teachers do the talking
If you are looking for career-minded professionals, your preferred candidates are going to be asking about professional development from the word go. Presenting a positive and consistent story is absolutely essential and again it is best done through video, by the teachers themselves.
Real stories about what people have been able to do while working at your school in programmes of individual or collective PD, are essential content in any recruitment pack.
5. The ‘Pack’ itself
Tip: make sure it’s mobile friendly
Keep it manageable, keep it clear, make sure it’s balanced, but keep it fun. If you are putting together a PDF make sure the size of the file is kept under control – this almost always means resizing the images that you include. If you have not got the time to get out and shoot your own photos of the city or the country, look for location-related images found on Pixabay or Unsplash which are completely free to use.
A good PDF based on a Word document or PowerPoint file can do a great job, but if you can, produce a digital brochure that is mobile friendly and can be quickly updated.
Andy Homden is an international school consultant, educational writer and CEO of Consilium Education, the publishers of International Teacher Magazine.
Simon Harris is an independent video director, trainer and founder of Simon Harris Film.
In 2022 – 23 Consilium Education and Simon Harris Film are working with the Real Media Group to offer a range of support and training services for international schools to help them collate and create a range of digital material for their recruiting pack.
To find out more, contact Andy on email@example.com
FEATURE IMAGE: by Jared Soto from Pixabay
Support Images: by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash & mohamed Hassan from Pixabay