Trying to hire and it’s not going well? Make sure you’re not making these 6 mistakes
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers are facing challenging conditions when it comes to securing educators, with regional and rural services having an especially tough time.
That being said, there are six common mistakes that employers of all types, including those in the ECEC sector make, which may stop applicants from even applying for a role.
In such tough times, it’s more important than ever before for ECEC providers to stand out from the crowd, and make the most of their hiring opportunities.
Here are six critical mistakes that may be preventing candidates from applying for or accepting a position with your service.
Communication is everything
One common complaint from job seekers is that they spend a lot of time and energy tailoring their application for a specific job, only to not hear back from the employer.
When they receive little to no response and then their phone rings out of the blue, they find themselves put on the spot to progress their application.
There are a number of automated systems that will send a text message or email when an application is received, and another letting the applicant know they have been moved to a shortlist, or when they have been deemed unsuccessful.
Investing in a system that streamlines this process shows respect for the time the applicant has taken, and builds a sense of goodwill to support the service moving forward.
Another issue job seekers have is “feeling duped”.
It may be that a service is advertising for a room leader role, only for the applicant to be told “actually, we just want to attract some really high-quality casuals,” or stating in an add that the role is flexible to suit the needs of the applicant, only for the job seeker to be informed that they must be available across the full 12 hours the service is open.
This inauthenticity extends to the job advertisement itself. Research from SEEK shows that job seekers are unlikely to apply for a position that doesn’t show the location (47 per cent), working hours (34 per cent) or salary (32 per cent).
Be open to something different
Some employers will go into the recruitment process with a fixed idea of their ideal candidate. For example: “we need a mum who’s finished having children, and who wants to work school hours, but who can do extra if we need.”
Although it can be tempting to hire someone who is similar to your current team, widening the hiring pool can lead to a deeper, richer experience for children, for families and for team members too.
Quite aside from the legal and ethical responsibilities that employers have to not discount an applicant because of aspects like religion, gender, sexuality or age, being inclusive makes solid business sense.
Make the process as quick as possible
While taking the time to find the right person is important, in the current ECEC climate, taking too long will mean that quality educators on your shortlist get snapped up.
Explaining your timelines to candidates, and how long they can anticipate waiting for an answer, can help them to feel more secure.
Seven to ten business days, from start to finish, is a reasonable timeframe to make a decision.
Share the current challenges
In the past, it was a candidate’s role to prove they were worthy of a role, however in the current climate, the employer really needs to prove their worth.
Part of this process is sharing the real story of what’s happening in the service. If you need support with building a cohesive team from your new candidate, express that upfront. If you’re hoping that they will come in and offer new perspectives on programming, share that too.
Candidates typically respond well to transparency, and being upfront saves everyone time, effort and energy in the long run.
It’s an interview, not an interrogation
Interviews should be a two-way street, and an opportunity for conversation. Although there will be some questions on the list which you need answered to assess the suitability of the candidate, the prevailing best practice advice is that putting some personality into the interview can be helpful.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that give an idea of the applicant’s viewpoints and perspectives, or to share a little of your own story.
By knowing what makes candidates shy away from a role, you’ll be well placed to switch them on to the value of the role on offer – yours!
This piece was compiled using information and advice from Seek.
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