This article is an excerpt from The Childcare Director’s Complete Toolkit for Hiring Great Staff. Download your free kit today!
Finding and hiring great teachers for your childcare center and preschool isn’t easy right now. A December 2020 study from NAEYC revealed that 69% of childcare providers are having more difficulty recruiting staff during COVID-19. If you’re experiencing hiring challenges right now, you’re certainly not alone!
The good news is that there are a growing number of resources available for employers looking for qualified candidates. At brightwheel, through our work with thousands of childcare and preschool directors, we’ve learned some of the most effective ways to find great teaching candidates.
Here are tips on which job websites to use, how to leverage your community and network, and how to proactively reach out to promising candidates.
Post your opening to a popular job board website
If you want to reach as many job seekers as possible, post your opening on one or more job board sites. Many childcare and preschool directors have found success through the following platforms:
- Indeed: posting a job on Indeed is free and you can pay to boost your post.
- Craigslist: job posting fees will vary depending on the areas you’re targeting.
- Glassdoor: if you pay to post a job opening on Indeed, it will automatically be shared on Glassdoor as well.
- Monster: you will need to pay a monthly subscription rate to use Monster, but they also offer a free 7-day trial.
- LinkedIn: you can pay to promote your job posting using a budget that you set.
Because more and more childcare employers are using job board websites to promote their open positions, it’s important to create a compelling and descriptive job posting that will stand out and attract qualified teachers.
Follow these steps for writing an effective job description:
- Use a descriptive job title. Include the level of experience and any other special requirements you’re looking for in the job title. For example, “Childcare Teacher (1+ Years Experience, Part-Time)” will attract the attention of qualified applicants and uses more search terms than a title like “Childcare Teacher” does.
- Use empowering words. Avoid using terms like “worker” in your job description. Instead, choose words like “teacher” and “educator” to show applicants that you value what they’ll bring to your program.
- Don’t list too many must-haves. It’s important to set a high standard for the teachers you hire, but only list your requirements that are absolutely essential. Some of the best candidates may not have all of the skills or credentials you’re looking for, but could easily be trained (and could possess important qualities that can’t be taught, such as patience and creativity)!.
- Make the job description enticing to candidates. In the same way that you’re looking for teachers that are a great fit for your program, teachers are also looking for programs that match their values and career goals. Tell candidates why they’ll love working at your center or preschool. Here are some examples of what you could highlight about your program:
- Your center’s mission statement
- Your supportive team culture
- Professional development opportunities
- Any benefits you offer, such as flexible hours, supplemental pay, and technology that will make their jobs easier and more enjoyable
Note: brightwheel can help simplify your teachers’ day-to-day tasks so they can spend more time with children and less time on administrative duties. This could be an appealing benefit for many teaching candidates!
- Outline your COVID-19 safety protocol for your staff. Many people are nervous about returning to in-person work during a pandemic. Include the ways you’re proactively keeping your staff safe. This can go a long way in making candidates feel like they can trust you!
Tap into your local community and network
As a childcare or preschool director, you don’t need to do all the hard work of finding candidates by yourself. In fact, your community can be a great partner in spreading the word about your open positions. Many providers have found great candidates by posting about their job openings on community bulletin boards, local job boards, and in their local newspapers. You could also reach out to community colleges in your area that offer degrees in ECE and ask their department administrators to share about your openings with their students. Your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency may be able to connect you with hiring resources or help you promote your job listing as well. You can find your local CCR&R agency here.
You can also find qualified candidates by asking for referrals from your families and staff, both past and current. Share your job postings with them so they can easily forward them to people they know who could be a great fit with your program. If possible, offer referral bonuses for anyone who recommends a candidate who ends up joining your program and staying for an extended period of time, such as 6 months or longer. Many directors have found that $100 in cash or gift cards are effective incentives!
Proactively reach out to promising candidates
Sometimes it’s better to go out and find great candidates instead of waiting for them to find you. Try looking for teachers through websites like Indeed Resumes, Craigslist Resumes, and any relevant local Facebook groups (such as communities interested in early education). Once you’ve found a promising candidate, reach out and start a conversation.
Here’s a template you can use for your message:
Subject Line: Are you interested in joining our team at [Childcare Business Name]?
Hi [Candidate Name],
I’m [Your Name], the [Your Position Name] at [Childcare Business Name]. I’m currently looking to hire a [job role], and I came across your [resume/profile/information] on [where you found them]. Based on your experience in [skill or background], I think you could be a great fit for the role!
At [Childcare Business Name], we value [center’s mission or values statement], and I’d be excited to share more about what working at our center could look like.
If you’re interested in learning more, I’d love to connect. Would you be available for a quick phone call at [time] on [date]?
We acknowledge the very real challenges of hiring early educators during COVID-19, and we hope these tips provided you some new ideas about how to find great teachers for your program. Thank you for all your continued hard work and perseverance during this difficult time!
If you’re looking for more ways to make hiring easier at your childcare center or preschool, download our free resource, The Childcare Director’s Complete Toolkit for Hiring Great Staff!
Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at mybrightwheel.com.