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    Secret Sauce: What it takes to attract and hire substitute teachers.

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    Substitute teachers are the unsung heroes of education, stepping up to preserve the continuity of learning when full-time educators are unavailable. Yet, the task of recruiting and hiring these crucial players grows more daunting by the day.  

    At Kelly Education, we understand this challenge. As leaders in staffing, we support 10,000 schools across 41 states, amassing invaluable insights over our 25-year journey. We're excited to share our secrets to empower Human Resources teams with effective strategies to nurture a robust pool of substitute talent. 

    Implement a mixed recruitment strategy.

    A mixed recruitment strategy ensures you reach both active and passive candidates. Active candidates are job hunters likely to respond to job advertisements. So, post on relevant job websites, local newspapers, your district website, and participate in local hiring events. 

    Passive candidates may be open to job opportunities presented to them. Reach out via grassroots signage in your community, flyers, partnerships with colleges and universities, and targeted social media advertising. 

    Also, don't underestimate the power of referral programs. Encourage your current staff to refer friends or acquaintances. These candidates often prove high-quality and reliable as your existing employees feel accountable for their success.

    Develop a comprehensive Employer Value Proposition (EVP). 

    To attract quality substitutes, you need a compelling EVP that outlines what you offer beyond just compensation. This includes: 

    • Work environment and expectations: Convey your district's values and how they translate into the workplace. 
    • Benefits offerings: Can you provide benefits to temporary employees like health, dental, retirement, student loan support, EAP? 
    • Career development and growth: Detail how you invest in career trajectories. 
    • Work-life balance: Highlight the flexibility of choosing one's schedule or the stability of accepting a long-term position. 
    • Perks: Do you offer free lunches, referral bonuses, or free admission to school events? 
    • Recognition: Discuss your substitute teacher of the month/year program or other ways you show appreciation. 

    Make this proposition clear and easy to understand. A comprehensive EVP will help candidates understand the value they stand to gain when working for the district, which can influence their decision-making. Be sure to place the EVP in job descriptions, district career webpage, and social postings. 

    Simplify the application process.

    A cumbersome application process can deter potential candidates. Simplify it by asking only for essential information initially. Offer in-person or virtual interviews, including group options. Explain the application timeframe and candidate responsibilities concerning I-9, fingerprinting, and background checks. 

    We also recommend that you or a colleague routinely test the application process, so you know where candidates might be falling off.

    Prioritize employee development.

    Candidates might be considering a career shift to education. Schools can capitalize on this by fostering a culture of continuous learning and providing professional development opportunities. Districts should provide access to resources for certification programs as a way to encourage could-be teachers. 

    Your expert guide to building an effective substitute teacher program. Get it now.

    Offer competitive pay rates.

    Competitive compensation is key. Review your payment model and benchmark against the average substitute teacher pay in the area. Ensure the pay is fair, attractive, and feasible within your budget.

    Conclusion: You've got this.

    While the current labor market presents challenges in attracting qualified and reliable substitute teachers, they aren't insurmountable. Implement these best practice strategies to reach your target candidates and expedite the hiring process. 

    For further assistance in growing, retaining, or managing your substitute educator talent pool, consider a consultation with our Kelly Education team or explore our Comprehensive Blueprint for CHROs: Your Guide to Building an Effective Substitute Teacher Program. 

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    You need the best and brightest.

    We can help solve your most complex talent challenges – both today and in the future – by delivering high–quality talent that moves education forward.

    Contact us at 800.Kelly.01 and one of our agents will administer your request. Or, if you'd prefer, fill out the form to submit an email.

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