Using social media for recruiting

What an incredible year 2020 was for the education sector to navigate. Who would have thought that, on the whole, the sector would have adapted so fast to delivering educational outcomes in a digital form to underpin continued learning in Australia for the next generation?

With the challenges thrown at you by the pandemic, it’s fair to say that the attention and focus on thinking about your individual school’s employment value proposition (EVP) was probably not a top priority. The reality at the end of such a year is that many of you will not have experienced the rate of staff turnover typically seen in teaching ahead of a new year. Unlike almost any other profession that we support from an HR perspective, teachers genuinely do think about and embrace the ‘new year, new career’ mantra.

So, back to your EVP. I’ve discussed this subject in a previous article: “An EVP comprises the unique qualities of your environment, culture, job content and remuneration including benefits. The things that make your organisation a desirable place to work.” It is definitely something that should be on your radar regardless of whether you are actively hiring or not. The reason I say this is because an EVP takes time to develop and it also takes time to communicate effectively to the particular audience you want to target.

The independent school scene is quite traditional in terms of how it reaches potential candidates for opportunities, and this is often done in a reactive fashion after somebody has resigned. We typically observe a process that follows the usual pattern of accepting a resignation, a Head of Teaching talking to the HR team and the HR team unimaginatively posting an ad in the newspaper and on Seek.

What is wrong with this process? Well, this reactive process only focuses on those who are actively seeking a new employment opportunity at a particular moment in time, and it’s questionable whether this represents the best candidates in the market. My observation of some of the best hiring practices across independent schools has been where the leadership team focused well ahead of time (that is, before someone resigns) on mapping out a plan and engaging with potential talent who could be a fit for that particular school environment, either immediately or in the future.

Some of you may be asking, “How do I identify someone who is not actively looking for a new opportunity?” This is where social media comes in. Over the past ten years, digital marketing through social media channels has become a mainstream way to specifically segment and target particular audiences. If you ask your teachers what social media platforms they spend time on outside of school, you’ll go a long way to understanding the channels that might be applicable to identifying great talent ahead of time.

A great example I’d like to share is an independent school that was searching for a Department Head of Mathematics for their senior school. It was identified that a particular cohort of mathematics teachers had created a specific Facebook group that covered both the Australian and United Kingdom markets. Working in conjunction with employment branding experts, this school was able to target the teachers in that Facebook group with a broad message describing the features and benefits of working at their school. Once their target audience had learnt about and understood the unique benefits of working at the school, they were able to use additional activity in the group to present the specific opportunity. Interestingly in this case, the successful candidate was based in the UK and it is extremely unlikely they would have been found by this Australian-based school through traditional means such as press advertising and job boards.

So, as independent schools overcome pandemic challenges and look to the next horizon, take some time to revisit your unique EVP. Work with your digital marketing expert and your HR/People and Culture team to get the message out there as to why your school could be the place to be from a career perspective.

Simon Meyer is the CEO of Compono Talent Solutions, uniquely combining a bespoke approach to people strategy with talent optimisation. Simon sits on Advisory Boards for the National Basketball League (NBL), UTS’ Advanced MBA Program, Task and LifeChanger.

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