Finding the right person to fill an opening on your team for your after-school program requires substantial consideration and effort, especially when working with or around children is part of the job description.
There are many strategies you can use to increase the reach of your job posting, speed up the recruiting process, and ultimately hire a candidate that’s qualified and excited to help you achieve your goals.
We’ll cover the top six strategies in this article, which range from using a variety of recruiting channels, to finding candidates who’ll connect easily with the children in your program.
- Use Different Recruitment Channels
- Search for Candidates From Within
- Find Candidates in Your Local Community
- Shortlist Applicants With the Right Credentials
- Evaluate the Applicants’ Commitment to the Program
- Look for Staff That Can Connect With Youth
Use Different Recruitment Channels
Spread the message about the job opening using multiple advertising channels, both print and digital, to attract candidates.
Place ads in the local newspaper, post the job on job boards like Indeed, and share it on social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter.
Using a diversified approach ensures that you reach a wider audience of candidates, lowering the chances of someone who’s a perfect fit for the job not seeing your job posting.
It’s also smart to place job postings on your career page.
Most people won’t find it organically, but you can share the link in social media posts where you give a brief 1-2 sentence explanation of the position and encourage people to learn more on your career page.
For example, here’s a recruiter doing exactly that on LinkedIn:
Further, consider posting the job on your town’s Facebook page if it has one. That’s a great place to find people in the area where your program takes place.
And even if viewers don’t take the job, they’re likely to share the opportunity with people they know who are currently out of work and a good fit.
When you advertise the staff position across a variety of mediums, you increase the chances of quickly finding the perfect employee for your after-school program.
Search for Candidates From Within
According to a survey from Joblist, around 2/3 of respondents believe that hiring from within is better than hiring externally, and 56% think that it’s better for morale.
Managers hired from within also tend to be more productive and loyal:
There’s a good chance that the talent and drive necessary to execute the job function you need to fill is already present in one of your volunteers or employees.
Plus, they already know your business, your processes, your code of ethics, and the needs of your company, and they’ve already shown loyalty, so give them a promotion and a chance to flourish.
For example, you could extend a full-time offer to a part-time contractor who’s already helping you with part of the job, or a volunteer who you can easily train to excel at the position.
An added benefit of hiring from within is that you indirectly prove to your other employees and volunteers that sticking with your company could result in a promotion or full-time position.
This belief that they have a future at your organization will make them want to continue working for you and doing their best.
They want to put themselves in a favorable position to receive an offer the next time there’s an opening in your staff.
Find Candidates in Your Local Community
Another great way to find candidates for your after-school program is to get active in your local community.
This can involve participating in community outreach opportunities and attending local events, such as job fairs.
It’s also smart to form partnerships with organizations that cater to talented individuals who’d be an excellent fit for the position.
For example, you could partner with a local high school or college and ask their administrators and teachers to spread the word about the job opening.
Places of worship, libraries, and community centers are other wonderful places to connect with staff that can refer qualified candidates to your after-school program.
And as always, use your connections. Text and email colleagues and friends about the role and ask them if they know of anyone who’d want to apply for the job.
It’s crazy how quickly job information, not just gossip, spreads throughout a community.
If you network with a few well-connected people, it won’t be long before the right person hears about the job and applies.
Shortlist Applicants With the Right Credentials
When selecting the right staff for your after-school program, it’s critical to focus on each applicant’s credentials, including their level of education and previous work experience.
A background working in education or a history of jobs that involve working with children are good indicators that the candidate is a proper fit for your program.
If your after-school program is learning-centric, as most are, consider prioritizing people with college degrees, or candidates who have some sort of proof that they’re well-equipped to teach minors.
If your program caters to older children who want to develop in some technical or intellectual area, be it writing or math, to improve their future, it’s especially important to find candidates that have demonstrated expertise in that discipline.
For example, say you were running a math program.
Indicators of math expertise could be experience teaching or tutoring algebra, stellar grades in university, or a remarkable score on the math portion of some standardized test like the SAT or GRE.
If the program taught high school students, a candidate with a degree in math or math education would be best:
Whenever you come across a candidate with the appropriate mix of credentials and experience who isn’t open to new work at the moment, shortlist them for future positions you have open.
Perhaps they’ll be looking for work next time you reach out. It’s always prudent to save names for the future.
Evaluate the Applicants’ Commitment to the Program
Staff who believe in your organization’s mission, values, and objectives are doing to put more effort into their work than those who are there simply for the paycheck.
They’ll also be more willing to abide by your rules and guidelines and take the time to learn the necessary skills to excel at the position.
Recruiters should therefore institute procedures to measure each applicant’s dedication to the after-school program.
One way is to ask them interview questions designed to gauge commitment:
|Why do you want to work for an after-school program?|
|Why do you want to work for our company in particular?|
|How do you think our program can change our students’ lives for the better?|
|What aspect of this job are you most excited about?|
|Do you have any questions for us?|
Sometimes, the candidate’s questions for you will tell you more about their commitment to the program than their answers to your questions.
If they ask questions about the nuts and bolts of the work, on-the-job training options, and your company’s goals and current issues, it shows that they’re looking for a place where they can really flex their skills and make a difference.
Also, if they ask a lot of questions, it suggests that they’re giving serious thought to the position and will only take it if it’s something they’re enthusiastic about.
Another way to gauge a candidate’s level of commitment to your program and the work is to review their job and volunteering history, and identify work they’ve done that indicates they will care about your company’s mission.
When you hire people who are committed to your after-school program, you’re going to have less turnover, greater productivity, and a more successful business.
Look for Staff That Can Connect With Youth
Find applicants who have the right mix of qualities, skills, and knowledge to form bonds with the young people in your program.
This will ensure that your attendees are excited to come to your program and to interact with your staff.
They’ll also receive personalized mentorship from the program, which will make the experience all the more beneficial to their overall development.
Below are five core competencies that people working with children should have:
|Decision-making skills||When something goes wrong, as it inevitably will, the candidate should be able to quickly make a smart decision about what to do.|
|Patience||Children sometimes take a while to understand a topic or to agree to directions, so patience is key.|
|Communication skills||Your staff should be able to teach children using stories and concepts they can relate to.|
|Monitoring skills||Staff should note when a child is excelling, struggling, bored, or enthusiastic about a topic so they can take appropriate action.|
|Enthusiasm and energy||Enthusiasm about what you’re teaching is contagious, and kids have a lot of energy, so staff needs to be able to keep up.|
On top of that, you should also look for people with more program-specific qualities.
For example, if your program involves young children and a lot of play, look for someone who can still make believe as they did when they were kids.
In sum, throughout your recruiting process, you should be evaluating each candidate on how well they’ll be able to relate to the wide range of children your program supports.
Finding the right person for your after-school program’s team takes a lot of work.
First, you have to find proper candidates, and then you have to evaluate them and convince them that this is the right job for them.
To streamline and enhance your recruiting process, try using a variety of channels, promoting from within, shortlisting applicants with the right credentials, and other methods we covered in this article.
Of course, hiring a great team is only part of succeeding in the after-school program business.
To learn how to boost your program’s enrollment and revenue, check out our article on after-school program management tips.