When I go out to meet with schools and ask them whether they use social media for their recruitment efforts, it’s usually a resounding yes. But when I dig a little deeper, I usually find that they are indeed using it, but not in the way they think.
But let’s rewind slightly. We all know that attracting and retaining excellent teachers is increasingly difficult. We also know that teacher recruitment is equally tough. By 2025 there will be an estimated 3.3 million secondary school students, but will we have the teachers to teach them? Currently, the rate of entry into teaching and those leaving the profession is equal. It’s a bleak picture isn’t it? Combine that with unemployment at its lowest for decades and it’s enough to give Headteachers a constant headache. This then leads to panic buying and increasingly large agency bills.
With this in mind, it’s very important that are doing everything you can to secure quality talent at every touch point – be it paid job boards, your website, your employees by way of referrals or social media.
Looking at social media specifically, it’s playing an increasing part of a candidate’s job search. Latest studies show that over 79% of job seekers use social media in their job search and this figure increases to 86% for younger job seekers who are in the first ten years of their career. Facebook leads the way with 67% of people using it for their job search, followed by 45% for Twitter and 40% for LinkedIn.*
Your school may already utilise social media, but this is likely to be channelled more to their pupils, parents and friends of the school. Are these your target audience when it comes to recruitment? Probably not! Hence why so many schools I speak to ‘think’ they are using social media in their recruitment marketing mix, when in fact, all they are doing is posting their jobs out to a largely irrelevant audience. Granted, you may get the odd application from someone that was sent this link by a friend, but is that really enough to get you your new Teacher of Physics? Unlikely.
There’s also the risk that by posting recruitment related messages via your school accounts, your messaging becomes diluted and users are left confused by a mix of communication from your school. There’s also the outside chance that prospective parents could be put off by recruitment related messages and think that the school has high turnover of staff, this is especially important when it comes to the independent sector.
How can you use social media for recruitment?
Social media is a fantastic platform to engage with audiences outside the sphere of your school. However, in order to do this, you really need to consider a targeted, paid ads. You will have seen this in your own feed – it will be any post where something is being advertised as included ‘sponsored’ in the post title. You have specifically been chosen to see this post as you are within the target demographic. You may be served an advertisement featuring a new restaurant opening, as you follow food and recipe content on that platform. Likewise, by the reams of information individuals give to the social media channels at sign up and through daily usage, we can target potential candidates via location, job title, interests etc. The list is endless.
We can also tap into the passive marketplace – those who may not have even considered jumping ship into a new role but would for the right opportunity. Targeted ads also have ability for ‘digital word-of-mouth’ where if you’re not the right fit, you can tag someone who is.
‘Is it expensive?’ is usually what I am asked when it comes to schools with limited budgets. Actually, it’s very good value as you can set your budget up front. The back-end reporting is also really useful; not only to give you accurate ROI data, but it really gives you a sense of the ‘make-up’ of your audience.
Next time you need to advertise a role externally, consider using paid social media advertising in your recruitment marketing mix and see if you can find that hidden gem of a Physics Teacher!
*Sources: 13 Stats HR Pros Must Know in 2016, CareerArc, 2016 Social Recruitment Trends Forecast, Workable.