As we predicted at the beginning of the year, brand marketing for schools has become a critical business function in 2017, particularly as cash-strapped business managers compete to attract staff all year round to avoid the costs of ad-hoc reactive recruitment.
More often now, we find that schools are understanding the need for career sites and talent-pooling software, to build a bank of interested candidates to call upon when needed.
When considering cost-saving technical innovations for your school be sure to make the 5 changes below habits within your recruitment strategy.
1.COMPETING FOR THE BEST TEACHERS ALL YEAR-ROUND
Recruitment marketing puts you in control. By actively marketing your school and vacancies year-round, you are the driving force behind your recruitment. Instead of waiting to recruit on a ‘firefighting’ basis with limited time, you proactively cultivate a hub of talent to call upon at your discretion.
After your advert has reached teachers in the first instance, your nurturing marketing strategy may simply be engaging content on your website or a sequence of emails to those who have registered an initial interest. 60% of online applicants begin but never finish application forms[i]. This figure can be expected to be much higher in teaching where first contact is often via an exceptionally long form. 50% of our survey respondents reported they’d spent more than two hours filling one application. By continuing to communicate with teachers who have already found you, you increase the value of each advertising pound by drawing these ‘warm’ applicants closer to the stage where they will not only start an application form but finish and submit it.
2. CRUNCHING DATA, BECAUSE EVERY PENNY COUNTS
A report by Aptitude Research Partners, 2016[ii] found that over 70% of UK companies are planning to invest in recruitment software with recruitment marketing capabilities over the next twelve months in order to cut inefficiencies and optimise the returns from their advertising spend.
For Schools, it pays to combine an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with a marketing capability like School Recruiter because the candidate journey can then be tailored to match each step of the teacher attraction process. In this way, the system can generate metrics about your lead flow at each stage: telling you which attraction routes or advert generated the highest engagement, and at which stage your hard-earned applicants are dropping out.
3. SAVING MONEY BY USING TOOLS FIT FOR PURPOSE
Budgets are tight so it’s only worth switching to a new product if it offers direct savings by replacing others. When looking for the right recruitment software, you should aim to replace: ad-hoc recruitment advertising costs, disparate communication, record-keeping, short-listing, talent-pooling systems and the man-hours spent on recruitment admin.
The provider is important: an ATS and recruitment marketing platform must also offer a reach and depth within the passive candidate pool that can only be attained as a result of established brand identity within a specialism, as well as pool size. The strongest software will have use of Artificial Intelligence to engage and channel a buyer. This critically leads to a better conversion rate between advert-viewings and application form starts.
It’s vital that schools demand a demonstration and a personal presentation from any software option it is considering: product differentiators are often found in the back-up services and innovation scope of the provider. Such values are easy to miss on a downloaded demo.
4. TAILORING THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS AROUND THE CANDIDATE’S EXPERIENCE
As an industry, education is notoriously slow to get off the paper wagon and into electronic applications. It’s partly that heads are surely too busy to research it properly, and partly that schools aren’t sure who should authorise the data protection angle of it: them or the local authority? This means that the schools lack the opportunity to automate at least one or two communications out to a candidate to advise them that their application form has been received, that it is of value to you, and will be responded to within the week.
In recruitment, that gap is called “The black Hole”- where your form enters a pile but is never heard from again. That uncertainty is one of the many reasons that the prospect of moving between schools can be so demoralising.
To cut your mid-process candidate attrition, your candidate journey needs to be a positive one. Effective ATS software allows you to approach the process from the teacher point of view, tailored to their expectations for ease of application, frequency of contact and timescale.
5. DEMANDING BACK UP FROM SOFTWARE SOLUTION PROVIDERS
Make it clear that you expect not to be left with the software. When selecting a recruitment software provider, you should be looking for one that’s backed up with other services. Recruitment is a function that has escalating needs: some vacancies attract responses with one advert and have a straightforward interview process. Other situations require strategic advice on a bespoke marketing campaign or tailored interview strategy, such as recruiting a school head or enticing STEM teachers to relocate.
Part of the value of a software product is the company behind it. A well-established agency will offer a range of specialist tactical advice, from marketing campaign knowledge to legal HR services.
We can help you analyse and understand how to get the best value from a software solution, based on your school needs. For a no-commitment demonstration of School Recruiter, contact us today.
[i] HRTalentManagement.com 2015