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Understanding School Recruitment Software

A simple Internet search for School Recruitment Software uncovers countless recruitment systems, but are they all appropriate for schools?

Unfortunately, many don’t meet the challenge of recruiting for a school. That is because schools are socially responsible and regulated and that means that they must observe safeguarding and safer recruitment obligations. Schools different to many other types of employer for which recruitment is often simpler.

Let’s review School Recruitment Software and why it is different from other types of recruitment software.

We’ll take a look at:

Types of recruitment software

A Recruitment Software system is more commonly known as an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS for short. A key ATS goal is to make recruiting easier to manage and less costly. The aim of most employers is to save on recruiting budgets and to hire successfully without hiring external agents.

There are 2 broad types of Applicant Tracking System:

  • An ATS for employers.
  • An ATS for recruitment companies.

An employer ATS helps it to team around the whole recruitment process. Most allow HR and line managers to advertise their vacancies, shortlist applicants and manage every step through to start date.

By contrast, a recruitment company ATS helps it to market candidates to customers and prospects. For that reason, this type of ATS includes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions and it ignores some internal teaming requirements.

What recruitment software gives most employers

Generally speaking, an employer ATS helps it to advertise vacancies, shortlist applicants and manage interviews and offers. A condensed list of recruitment software requirements for private sector employers might look something like this:

  • Automated vacancy advertising on employer website, job boards and social media
  • Simple online application process capturing a CV, introduction and some personal details.
  • Shortlisting support and applicant management by a central recruiter(s).
  • Quick applicant communications at various stages of the recruitment process.
  • Help with interview scheduling and employment offers.
  • Some management reporting.
  • Perhaps some bells and whistles for diary management of video interviewing.

These are sophisticated systems and they do a lot for the employer. However, most employers focus upon an applicant’s CV or sometimes a video interview.

The differences with school recruitment software

Schools are socially responsible, meaning that fairness is often baked into their recruiting processes. They are also regulated, so they must observe safer recruitment guidelines. This means that Schools must avoid common recruiting shortcuts used by many other employers and agents.

How does this affect a school’s recruiting practices when compared to other employers?

  • Information requested from applicants is much greater.
  • CVs are often avoided for at least teaching roles.
  • Applicants are often reviewed by more than one person and scored for fairness.
  • Some applicant information is withheld from those performing shortlisting.
  • On-boarding and ensuring compliance is essential.

So, School Recruitment Software requirements may look something like this:

  • Vacancy advertising on school website, or websites in the case of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
  • Fast upload of jobs to job boards.
  • Versatile application process. This includes a letter of introduction / personal statement, criminal convictions, full work history with gaps, equal opportunities info, referees and more.
  • Scored shortlisting, sometimes by more than one person and often including the line manager.
  • Disguising applicant information during shortlisting to tackle bias.
  • Quick and easy method to personally message every applicant.
  • Auditable management of employment checks.

School Application Form

Schools require a lot of information from applicants. CV submissions are not recommended under safer recruitment guidelines. Photos or videos are not recommended because they can introduce bias. Instead, schools should gain all of the information they need via an application form. That form can be online or offline, just so long as the school can process the information securely.

School may ask for information like:

  • Personal details.
  • Letter of introduction.
  • Criminal convictions.
  • Full work history with employment gaps explained.
  • Education.
  • Whether the applicant is friends with or related to a member of staff or a student.
  • Equal opportunities data, including disability.
  • Referee details.

Withholding some application details from managers is important, so each section of an application form may have to detach easily. That is harder to achieve with Microsoft Word or PDF application forms than it is with a school recruitment software system.

Fair recruitment and removing bias

Most schools want to remove bias from recruiting and selection. Bias is a complex subject with both conscious and unconscious bias in the mix.

Schools understand most points of potential bias. They include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual preference
  • Religion
  • Disability

But what about other forms of bias? Could a candidate’s school or university introduce bias? Can a prestige past employer elevate an applicant, regardless of that person’s role or level of success? Could a person’s name affect shortlisting outcomes? The answer to all of these questions is ‘yes’.

You can find some 1970’s research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Check out Volume 10, Issue 2, March 1974, Pages 109-120. These are classic tests conducted in the US. They showed that white interviewers often sat farther away from black applicants than white applicants. The interviewers made more speech errors, smiled less genuinely and ended the interviews 25% sooner. These actions were shown to diminish the performance of any interviewee. We have moved on from the 1970’s, but these experiments highlight how bias can affect recruiting outcomes.

Eliminating bias in recruitment is hard, but this is where School Recruitment Software should help by hiding certain information during shortlisting. That could include a person’s name, places of education, dates of employment, employer(s), criminal convictions, disability and so on.

Some School Recruitment Software options

Options seem limited, but other than CVMinder ATS check whether the following systems meet your needs.