The first day of February 2023 was also the first day of nationwide teacher strikes. With over 100,000 teachers joining the National Education Union’s strike, up to 85% of schools were left with no choice but to fully or partially close.

Now that the demand for pay increases has turned into disruptive action, there’s fuel on the retention and recruitment in schools fire like never before. So, is there anything schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) can tangibly do to lessen the pressure of empty vacancies?

Avoiding staff vacancies in the first place

Any school or MAT would like fewer vacancies in the first place. If you can prevent a vacancy being created, that’s obviously the most efficient way of reducing cost.

It might be an obvious place to start, but it’s true. The more holistically you combine staff’s wellbeing, career progression, and attendance, the more supported your employees will feel. And it’s that element of support that we set out to achieve with our Recruitment & ATS module in our HR software!

End-to-end by nature, it streamlines a school or MAT’s entire recruitment process. Meaning you can be creating a job advert one minute, then sending out a job offer the next, from one single place. That’s without having to rifle for information in multiple spreadsheets or remember multiple log ins for different HR software!

Just by making all information for your recruitment operations more central and accessible, you’re already starting to reduce some of the stress and hassle that’s often associated with recruiting for new positions. And that leaves you more time to focus on the real job at hand: securing talent for your school or trust in an increasingly competitive candidate pool.

Attracting applicants to your school’s vacancy

And the first piece to complete the recruitment puzzle is to attract. Generally, applicants will see your advert on a job board next to similar vacancies you’re competing with. Or, if your school or trust is somewhere they’re already aware of and interested in working for, they’ll head straight to your website.

With a continuous stream of new roles appearing before applicants daily, speed is of the essence. Reducing the time between an open vacancy and a new starter begins with how quickly you can get an ad out.

Thanks to our in-built template, our recruitment module generates adverts simply and quickly that can be automatically displayed on your vacancy webpage, with the opportunity to link from various job boards. That’s just the start of what Every HR does for you! 

Proactively reviewing applications

In an ideal world, you’d be walking into a bank of fully completed applications the next morning. But we all know how it goes – some applications are started and never finished, and some are submitted with gaps in crucial information. Let’s prevent that. And let’s also reduce the time spent chasing the tails of applicants who are yet to fully complete their applications.

‘Proactive Applicants’ is one of our handiest features when it comes to keeping tabs on applications. From one place, you get an instant overview of your most proactive applicants – and those that are struggling with a particular part of the application. This enables you to proactively encourage a larger pool of applicants to review and shortlist from.

Omitting gaps in applications

Back to those gaps in applications, then. Any information submitted by applicants is securely stored on Every HR, giving you a complete, rolling audit trail. That’s things like personal data, qualifications added, communications between your organisation and the applicant. 

All of this data contributes to the mandatory exercise that takes place every Autumn Term: the School Workforce Census. How many of your current processes support the task of ensuring all employees’ data is up-to-date and ready to be inputted into the Census?  

Speaking of applications, Every HR stores templates that can be quickly activated when a post goes live. Generic applications can be used across the board, with the ability to customise certain parts to each role. Or, you can make individual applications for each role, department, school – the power’s in your hands to chop and change depending on what works best!

Removing the risk of unconscious bias when shortlisting

Before you can shortlist your applicants for interview, you need to be sure you can do so without the risk of unconscious bias. Our module anonymises applications to those at risk of unconscious bias, so your recruitment panel can make shortlisting decisions that aren’t influenced by certain characteristics. 

What’s more, you can set each question in the application to a certain status – i.e. mandatory or sensitive. Take equality, diversity, and inclusion – these three elements can influence unconscious bias. Application questions on these topics can be tagged as ‘sensitive’ and automatically removed from any of the information provided to the shortlisting panel, working to uphold a fair and consistent recruitment process for all applicants.

Streamlining the interview and offer process for recruitment in schools

Once the shortlist has been made, it’s time to invite to candidates to interview. And when you’re a large MAT recruiting for multiple roles across numerous trusts, it comes back to identifying the steps that can be automated to make the process more efficient.

Internal prep is quickened, with interview questions pre-populated in Every HR. Customisable for each role, these can be accessed on the platform or printed off, leaving you set and ready for a busy day of finding your next superstar.

The last stages in the recruitment process

From the first to the last piece of the recruitment puzzle: new employee contracts are digitally signed and uploaded within Every HR, supporting the all-important audit trail. 

Once the candidate has accepted the role, a click of the ‘Convert to Employee’ button starts the transformation of their personal information into an employee record. Once again, you’re not needing to allocate time to enter details like five years’ worth of addresses. It’s already been pulled over for you, and it’s as accurate as it can be given that the applicant filled it out themselves! 

You can better spend time getting to know your new employee and ensuring they’ve got the support they need to start their new role as they mean to go on, including training and CPD. Relevant groups of training documents and courses can be assigned to different roles, then automatically distributed when the role’s accepted. Your newest member of staff feels as prepared as possible for their first day of term, and you can begin the process all over again.

Recruiting Every HR for your school or trust

When your recruitment cycle is streamlined, you’ve got more time to spend valuably in this competitive recruitment space. A more efficient recruitment cycle largely increases your chance to fill vacancies, and fast. That helps you save on supply staff, improves continuity for students, and gives a morale boost among staff – much needed during this time of turbulence in the sector.

Ready to recruit Every HR to achieve an end-to-end recruitment cycle in your school or trust?