Due to the teacher shortage and dwindling applicant pools, districts are having to think outside of the box to implement more creative recruitment strategies to hire qualified teachers.
Having a strong applicant pool to choose from increases the chance of having a qualified teacher in every classroom—something every student deserves. Many districts are reporting a large number of unfilled positions as the school year is fast approaching, causing some to advertise in competing districts and in other states.
There is no single strategy that will attract more teacher applicants, but there are some innovative and practical recruitment strategies districts can use.
Top Recruiting Strategy
Money is still the number one recruitment tool, even more so today as the cost of living continues to escalate. Offering higher salaries than other districts and comparable to other professions can significantly increase the number of applicants for your district. There is currently an estimated 20 percent gap in pay between first year teachers and college-educated peers in other professions.
In addition to higher salaries, providing significant sign-on bonuses and stipends for hard-to-fill areas can increase the applicant pool. Other compensation strategies include a district contribution to a 403B retirement plan in addition to Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), increasing the district’s health insurance premium contribution, and implementing the Teacher Incentive Allotment.
Communicating these added compensation benefits while recruiting is vital to get applicants’ attention and to set the district apart from its competitors.
In addition to increasing compensation, districts are considering a plethora of recruitment strategies to increase their applicant pool, such as:
- Design eye-catching recruitment materials
- Advertise on social media (e.g., Facebook and Instagram)
- Use online job boards (e.g., Indeed and LinkedIn)
- Develop customized advertisements on multiple medias (e.g., local newspaper, billboards, radio and TV stations, and placing wraps on district vehicles)
- Improve the applicant experience
- Pay current employees for referrals, if hired
- Reconnect with former teachers
- Recruit from the substitute teacher pool
- Partner with alternative certification programs (ACPs) and local college ACPs (e.g., iTeachTexas, TechTeach Across Rural Texas, and Hartwell University)
- Create your own district ACP
- Develop a residency program for future teachers
- Offer affordable housing or a housing stipend
- Increase teacher benefits (e.g., four-day work week, additional leave days, reimbursement for gas, and on-site EV chargers)
- Implement a Grow Your Own program (e.g., GYO Pathway in Greenville ISD, PTECH in Pflugerville ISD, Opportunity Culture in Ector County ISD and Midland ISD)
- Advertise the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
- Promote the profession through the district website and regional media
It is unreasonable for a district to put all these strategies in place. A district must use intentionality to identify which strategies will result in more applicants applying for a teacher position in their district and determine which strategies the district can afford.
Additionally, districts should think about different ways to qualify uncertified applicants through their District of Innovation plan, permits, and certification waivers.
More Recruitment Information
Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.
Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.
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