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“What one piece of hiring advice would you give to your younger self?”

In the run up to launching Diverse Apply Recruitment, I asked 10 headteachers I know one simple question:

“What one piece of hiring advice would you give to your younger self?”

The result: Profound pieces of advice everyone who conducts interviews should avoid in their career. There were 5 more, but they were too rude to share on a professional platform!

Let’s get cracking:

Lesson 1: What kind of hole?

There are two types of holes to think about on your staff team, according to one head; “a hole and an a**hole.”

They described the pressure of filling a post as 'like being cornered into a difficult decision of body or nobody' at certain points of the school year.

But they now apply a new approach - finding a temporary solution and buying time to find the right fit for a role. Not easy but in the long run, this produced better outcomes for pupils.

"A hole is easier to fix than it is to get rid of an A***hole." Poetry if I've ever heard it.

Lesson 2: "I have a type! My type isn’t always good for me!"

We all have stereotypes and preferences -we can prefer people who remind us of 'great teachers' we admire, or dislike 'bad teachers' who don't.

One head I spoke to combatted this by regularly mixing up the voices on their interviewing panel. "A fresh pair of eyes and perspective can help you make more rounded decisions that provide the insights and range of voices your team might be missing"


Lesson 3: Recruitment never sleeps

Being fully staffed for September on May 31st feels good. I remember the feeling well. But how long will it last?

One head borrowed the words of NHL legend Wayne Gretsky “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been” by which I think they are talking about succession planning, and not actually playing ice hockey.

Put simply, great heads plan ahead and develop their staff team accordingly.

"My life is 10X easier if I have the right people, in the right roles, at the right time." Facts.

Lesson 4: Advertising doesn't have to cost the worl

"I spent 6K on advertising and got 3 unsuitable applications."

Traditional wisdom says more expensive adverts = more views, more applications, more chance of great teachers. Solid logic - but the cost of advertising on traditional platforms is increasing rapidly.

If it works for you, great. But with our school budgets getting tighter and tighter, creativity is key; social media, networks and word of mouth were all cited as affordable sources for great hires.

Lesson 5: Give DA a shout.

Ok, this one is from me. I've been involved with the interviewing and hiring of 100s of teachers and leaders in the past 5 years - and I've become obsessed with school recruitment.

That's why Oliver Gardiner and I launched Diverse Apply Recruitment. We want to disrupt how schools recruit new staff with an affordable, viable matchmaking service and a never-beaten-on-cost supply model.

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