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How to advertise your MAT and schools when recruiting
Find out what to include in your recruitment adverts and where to post them so that you stand out and attract the best candidates. Look at examples of how other trusts advertise roles.
To write this article we talked to Simon Hepburn, school marketing consultant/trainer and founder of Marketing Advice for Schools, and Gareth Thyer-Jones, managing director of social media recruitment service Talented Teacher Jobs.
The inclusion of commercial organisations in this article doesn't constitute an endorsement from The Key.
Advertising as a trust vs advertising as a school
Before preparing your advert, think about whether you want to advertise and showcase:
- Your trust as a whole
- Individual jobs at individual schools
- Or do both
For example, if you're recruiting as a trust, celebrate how it's different from other MATs and how the trust's values are consistent across all schools. If you're recruiting for a specific role at one of your schools you might emphasise the unique nature of the school, and downplay its position within the MAT.
The approach you take is completely up to you, and approaches vary from trust to trust. See the last section for examples of how others do it.
Think about what makes you unique and lead with that
School recruitment is a competitive market, so make sure your advert stands out from the rest. Many adverts use language such as "outstanding or passionate" but applicants get tired of hearing the same old thing.
Ask yourself these questions
- What's your trust's core values and ethos?
- What's your trust's unique story and journey – how did you develop and what's your vision for the future?
- What's special about the culture of your trust and individual schools?
- What are the unique challenges of working in your trust? Be honest about where you're looking to improve and how candidates can be a part of this journey
- What can your trust offer to candidates that they won't find elsewhere? See the next section for ideas
Communicate these aspects in the job advert, on your website, and across any other platforms or sites you use.
What can your trust offer?
Compared to single schools, your trust is likely to have a greater variety of benefits to offer staff, such as:
- Career opportunities across different schools – offering flexibility and variety, career development and faster progression towards leadership roles
- Better CPD training, support and induction – especially attractive to newly qualified teachers (NQTs)
- Access to a large professional network, peer support groups and collaborative working opportunities across the trust
- Practical things you can offer – a choice of locations, better resources and facilities, accommodation, private health care schemes
- Additional allowances, reward bonuses and financial incentives
Make sure you express these clearly, and don't just say what you can offer, but show evidence. An effective way to do this is through case studies of existing staff. For example, if your trust prides itself on staff development, have videos on your website of staff who have progressed from NQTs to leaders, talking about how the trust supported them to do this.
Find out what your staff value most about working in your trust
These are likely to be the same things that'll attract new candidates. If you're not sure what your staff most value, use this survey to ask them.
Use the responses to give you:
- An idea of what to focus on in recruitment advertising (e.g. if staff like the opportunities for staff development, mention this in your advertising)
- Great testimonials/case studies to use on your website
What not to include in the advert
- Focus on your Ofsted rating or exam results – this may sound counter-intuitive, but candidates aren't interested in the same things as parents. These things won’t tell applicants what it’s like to work in your trust, or appeal to their desire to make a difference to children’s lives
- List too many specific details of the job – teaching jobs don't vary much between schools, so it's unlikely that this is what'll make you stand out
- Raise the bar too high – of course you want the best candidates, but saying you only want 'outstanding teachers' can backfire and stop good candidates applying if they think they're not good enough
Make sure your online presence is appealing
This'll be a big factor when prospective applicants decide whether to engage in a lengthy hiring process. A smart website is a sign that you take yourselves seriously, and will therefore take candidates seriously.
You'll want to make sure your website:
- Works properly and is engaging and easy to use. This means:
- All links work and go to the right places
- Images load properly and are of high quality
- There's a 'menu' or other clear way of navigating around the site from the homepage
- Text is succinct, clear and free from typos and errors
- Looks good and works properly on phones and tablets – whoever created your website should be able to advise on this
- Includes attractive photos of your school and trust
- Has a permanent 'work with us' page, selling your trust as an employer and place to work. Use this page to include what makes you unique and what your trust can offer candidates (see above)
Pick your platforms
Advertise online for free
- Email all staff across your trust – this'll encourage internal candidates to apply and gives staff the chance to develop their careers
- Use the government’s free recruitment website, which is gradually being rolled out across the country
- Use social media to reach a wider range of people:
- Post the advert on your trust or school's Facebook page and Twitter
- Tweet using popular hashtags when advertising posts, such as #teacherjobs, #teachervacancy or #teachingvacancyuk
- Put the vacancy on your trust and the school websites and promote it – encourage parents to share it with anyone they know who might be interested
- Ask staff to share the vacancy with anyone they know who might be interested – you could even offer a small financial incentive for staff who refer someone you end up hiring
- National general recruitment sites like Guardian Jobs or Monster
- National education recruitment sites like Tes, Eteach, Schools Week and Talented Teacher Jobs
- Local websites or local papers
- Subject associations
Who's your advert aimed at?
Teachers at different stages of their careers will use different platforms to find their next job. So don't put all your eggs in one basket, diversify your strategy so you reach people you wouldn't normally. Take out a series of adverts in a variety of places, rather than one big advert.
For example, NQTs are likely to go to schools they've had a relationship with during their training. Forge links with your nearest university or training provider if you're looking to appoint NQTs.
How other trusts advertise their roles
Harris Federation – large MAT adopts 2 approaches
- Central careers website for the whole trust, which can be found here. It advertises all vacancies across the trust, highlights the benefits of working for the trust, and has a careers blog that includes case studies
- Personalised career pages on individual schools' websites. Harris Academy Greenwich uses staff testimonials, a video about working at the school, and a brochure on 'How we ensure a positive life/work balance' to sell the school to candidates
Discovery Schools Academy Trust – teacher training centre
- This trust opened a teacher training centre in partnership with another local MAT
- It emphasises the benefits offered by the trust, such as salary sacrifice schemes and working with local schools
LEAP Multi Academy Trust – a career brochure that showcases each school
- This smaller MAT has a career brochure that gives an overview of the main differences between the trust's 3 secondary schools
- It emphasises that 'we recognise, value and embrace each school’s uniqueness'
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