Talk to Us 
Have a Question?
Get answers  

6 Ways to Weather the Labor Market Storm

Human Resources

Corvallis School District in Oregon faced a problem that is almost certainly familiar to you: a changing labor market. Districts face tough competition for a limited number of teaching candidates, as well as a younger workforce with changing priorities.

But as a result of a thorough recruiting and hiring audit, Corvallis uncovered and implemented a number of opportunities to better attract, hire and retain great talent.

Check out the full Field Trip podcast episode here, or if you’re just looking for the quick hits, read on.


1. Understand changing career norms

“When people first were going into teaching, [teachers] would get to a district and…stay for [their] whole career[s], and we’re not necessarily seeing that anymore. They’re coming, and maybe they’re staying for a few years.”

It’s easy to see this as a negative—districts are under constant pressure to find more great talent. But this also means that the greatest talent is not necessarily sticking with your neighboring district—they might be open to moving on to your district if you can prove you’re worth making a move. And it has potentially positive implications for your culture as well: if you can retain your best employees in 2019, that means they probably want to be there.

2. Share pride in your district

“We’re here, we know it, but [that came] loud and clear from our new teachers.”

Tell your district’s story with pride. Corvallis felt proud of their district and the work they do, and their teachers felt it too. But they weren’t sharing that with the world, and it took an audit for them to realize it. Even if your district hasn’t overhauled or implemented an entirely new program, take pride in the changes, big and small, that have taken hold. Time set aside for teachers to come together and support each other—on everything from curriculum to situations with students—is something worth talking about.

3. Validate assumptions: how do your applicants find you?

“LinkedIn was something we were going to spend quite a bit of time in trying to get our presence up-to-date. But through the audit, we found that that’s not where people are looking for us.”

How do your applicants find you? You may know your district well, just as Corvallis did. Still, once they started to dig into the data they realized that some assumptions couldn’t tell the whole story. Looking at your district, are there assumptions you’ve made that you might need to reevaluate? Perhaps your assumption regarding your applicant pool was valid a few years ago, but needs some updating.

4. Be proactive: applicants want to be wanted

“When [a potential applicant] gets a message saying, “Hey, we’re interested in you,” that makes people feel good, and so they might spend a little bit more time taking a look at you.”

Never underestimate the power of proactivity! What may feel overwhelming (how could I ever find candidates and reach out to them??) may not be as manual as it sounds. Software streamlines most manual processes. If you take a look at opportunities for your district, don’t dismiss the ones that seem like a lot of work, or think, “We’re already so behind, how could we ever get to a place where we can be proactive with that?” Instead, think about the value of your actions. What proactive moves can you make now that will save you time in the long run?

5. Put all that data to use!

“[I’m] starting to look at how I can use the data to make a difference in our candidate experience.”

Data, data, data. It’s a bit like “the cloud.” Everybody’s talking about it, but how do you find it? If you think about it, each of your current employees represents a still-shot of your hiring process at the time they were hired. Take advantage of their first-hand experience and have them fill out a survey to start somewhere.

You may enjoy this hand-picked content:

Survey Results: The Teacher Shortage and Recruiting with Data
Only 22% of all districts have data on which recruiting methods work and which don’t.

6. Know how to navigate change (it’s hard!)

“If I [make changes] and I don’t take the time to bring [educators] along to get the information right, then it’s not going to work very well.”

Remember, change is hard! You might get excited to implement new ideas in your district, but keep in mind that not everyone adapts at the same pace. Transformation sticks when it happens slowly, and when planned communication surrounding the change is as robust as the change itself.

You may enjoy this hand-picked content:

Change Management in K-12: What You Need to Know
Get the guide to evaluating the need for change – and how to make it happen.

Check out Corvallis School District’s presentation from Insights Summit 2019 (and more!) in the Insights Summit Video Vault, open for a limited time!

Elise Ozarowski

Elise is a writer and member of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. A former member of Frontline’s events team, she is passionate about making connections, whether that be in person at events, online via social media or directly in her writing.