The Recruitment Rut 

Having worked with schools all over the country I am often amazed by the lack of care and attention that goes into the staff recruitment process. We all know the one thing that will ensure a school delivers an outstanding education is high performing staff, yet having a well-designed recruitment strategy that ensures we attract only the best talent is often missing. 

All too often I find the recruitment process in schools looks something like this:


  • Staff member resigns.
  • An out of date job description is retrieved from a disorganised personnel file and has no person specification to accompany it. Sometimes there is no job description in place at all.
  • There is a quick rush to update it, usually involving a bland generic job description from a LA website. The vacancy then looks like everyone else’s and does not reflect the actual role that needs to be filled.
  • The advert is then hastily prepared and placed in all the usual places such as the LA website.

Does this sound familiar? If so, read on.


With recruitment becoming increasingly challenging, alternative approaches to finding the best staff for your school is becoming essential. The whole process should be designed to ensure your advert stands out from the crowd, leaving a lasting impression. People, quite rightly, are selfish when it comes to job hunting. Your school may be outstanding with state of the art facilities but at the end of the day all job seekers really want to know is what is in it for them. What are they going to personally benefit from by coming to work in your organisation and will they enjoy it?  

With this is mind, here are my top tips for making sure the early stage of your recruitment process stands out from the rest.


1. Ensure job descriptions are up to date

Way before you even need to recruit anyone ensure everyone has an up to date job description and person specification that is reviewed at least annually. Not only does it make the recruitment process efficient, it ensures all staff know exactly what is expected of them in their roles, supports with the performance management process and assists with salary evaluations and training.

2. When recruiting you are marketing your organisation?

Ensure all recruitment paperwork is professionally presented. Leave comic sans type font where it belongs, in the classroom. Prepare a comprehensive recruitment pack. This is your sales document and should leave the potential applicant with a strong desire to apply.  Ensure the pack contains a welcome page from the post holder’s line manager, a structure chart so 

the applicant knows where in the organisation the role fits as well as the usual details about job role, salary and hours.

3. Develop an Employee Brand

Brands make people want to buy something and feel good about buying it for a long time afterwards. Feeling good makes you want to tell other people about it, turning you into an unsuspecting brand advocate. An employee brand should be developed for your school and your current employees should be your advocates. What are you offering that is different and special and how will you communicate this? What is the culture of your school that makes people want to come and work there? Look at this employee brand offering from Harris Federation; it’s creative, energetic and certainly catches your interest.

Harris Federation - 20 Reasons to Work for Us


4. Think of new places to advertise

Don’t always advertise in the same places. Make use of your networks, including social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Whilst recruitment agencies are expensive, consider whether for some posts the investment is worth it. Here at SBM Services, we use an agency for all our recruitment. They have got to know exactly what we look for, which they call the ‘SBM Services Sparkle’. They interview everyone before we see them and to date we have appointed every candidate they have sent us. It’s expensive but we have already established people are what make an organisation special so to us that investment is one worth making.

It goes without saying that the rest of the recruitment process from selection to induction must also be well planned but by getting the lead up to advertising right you will ensure you have the right calibre of people applying.


By Justine Berkeley - May 2017