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Talk Data to Me: Good News for K-12 Recruiting and Hiring

Recruiting & Hiring

Previously on Talk Data to Me, we used data from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute to explore how COVID-19 has impacted K-12 hiring. In short, though January and February of this year looked almost identical to the same months in 2019 and 2018, the data quickly and markedly departed from the previous years immediately following the president’s March 13 National Emergency declaration.

Far fewer applicants applied for jobs, fewer jobs were posted, and far fewer districts chose to post even a single job. It appeared that some facets of the K-12 hiring market came to a screeching halt. Almost every hiring metric we track dramatically diverted from the patterns we expected based on those from previous school years.

School districts and job seekers have had more time to grapple with how best to navigate the job market during a pandemic. Many changes have occurred over the past three months, so we rolled up our sleeves and dug deeper for more insights. What we found is some good news for job posters and job seekers.

In March, the raw number of applicants fell by nearly 50% compared with the weeks before. Though it has ticked up since then, the overall number of applicants still tracks slightly lower than it did in previous years. However, as the chart below shows, in most weeks since the shutdown began, there have been more applicants per job posting this year than in previous years.

Good news for job seekers: the number of jobs being posted, the number of districts posting jobs, and the number of jobs being filled have all rebounded. The shutdown brought on a ~30-40% decrease in these totals as districts instituted hiring freezes, cancelled job fairs, and postponed job postings all together. But some districts seem to have reversed these policies, and in the past few weeks, these totals have approached their expected levels.

In a survey Frontline Education conducted in April, 46% of employers (out of 240 responses) said they have seen delays or had to push back their hiring efforts. The recovery shown here indicates that districts that have chosen to resume recruiting and hiring have done so with success as jobs continue to be filled faster than ever before with more applicants per posting than expected. Though there are still a lot of unknowns for the upcoming school year, our data indicates that districts are posting plenty of jobs, plenty of applicants are applying, and plenty of districts are finding success in their recruiting and hiring.

Real-Life Success: Online Job Fairs

Natasha Wright, Director of Human Resources at Berkley County School District in South Carolina, was faced with a difficult task after school closures spread across the country. She still had schools to staff, even with canceled interviews and job fairs, and potential hiring freezes. Natasha decided to try something new — she utilized tools within Frontline Recruiting & Hiring — such as online events, proactive campaigns to qualified job seekers, online applications, integrations to support online interviews, and remote onboarding — to create a virtual online job fair.

Not knowing what to expect, she started by posting for one specific position: a math teacher. A fantastic potential candidate from another state joined the job fair, and she was able to validate his credentials easily and get the principal involved. They were able to move him through the process quickly and confirm the hire. The candidate — one who Berkley County would likely not have found otherwise — relocated to their district in South Carolina, as not only a middle school math teacher but also a coach.

Natasha shared that the virtual job fair process was very easy, and she wants to pursue this option more. She said she loves new ideas like this, especially when they are cost-effective and maximize the systems that they currently use.

The ability to proactively send campaigns to qualified job seekers also helped Berkley County SD find a Special Education teacher from out of state who was interested in their opening — another potential candidate who they likely would not have found without the Proactive Recruiting tools in Frontline Recruiting & Hiring.

What Can You Do to Enhance Your Hiring Efforts?

  1. Have confidence! Seeing hiring data steadily returning to expected levels over the past few weeks has made us feel more confident in the current state of K-12 hiring, and you should, too!
  2. Don’t just recruit — focus on retention as well. Teacher turnover can be very costly, which is one reason why retaining your current staff is so important. With nearly half of all new teachers leaving the profession in their first five years and a diminishing supply of teachers entering the profession, education leaders are forced to focus not only on recruitment but also on retention.
  3. Strengthen your recruiting. Broaden your recruiting horizons and check out these tips for teacher recruitment.
Looking for help managing your district virtually. Check out these tools designed to support the entire employee life cycle — even when you’re operating remotely.

Kevin Agnello

Kevin is a Data Analytics Engineer for Frontline Education. He is a former high school mathematics teacher and holds a Master's Degree in Educational Curriculum and Instruction, a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology, and is working on a dissertation toward a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.