Since the onset of COVID-19, school districts nationwide have been struggling to find and hire high-quality teachers and staff. Fortunately, virtual job fairs can lend a hand.
On April 30th, we were joined by three TA leaders in the education space for a webinar to discuss virtual job fairs. Our panelists shared their success staffing their school districts with high-caliber teachers and staff by using Brazen’s virtual recruiting platform both during and before COVID-19.
The panelists answered questions on how they’ve used Brazen to overcome hiring obstacles in the education hiring space. And their answers were nothing but impressive!
You can check out a recording of the webinar here or read on for some of our favorite highlights. Enjoy!
– Quiana Peterson, Instructional Recruitment Partner at Lake County Schools
– Leticia Jones, Recruiter and Strategic Partnerships at Fulton County Schools
– Brian White, Executive Director of Human Resources and Operations at Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437
What hesitations did you (or your teams) have at first as you were considering going virtual?
“My hiring manager’s immediate fear was losing face-to-face with the candidate, and ‘virtual’ sounding cold initially.” – Quiana Peterson
“I would also say there was hesitancy around using technology in general.”– Brian White
“There was some questions financial commitment… we had to do some research on how to fit it into budget and get good ROI.” – Leticia Jones
Why did you originally go virtual?
“I really needed a way to be efficient, to essentially clone myself and be in multiple places from the comfort of my desk.” – Leticia Jones
We’ve experienced the tightening and shrinking of the teacher talent pool, so it’s become more competitive…the largest part of the workforce at that time was millennials and this is how they communicate.” – Brian White
“We are considered a medium district, so when we went to these giant job fairs, we couldn’t compete with these larger districts…so for us we were looking for a way to separate ourselves and hold our own events.” – Quiana Peterson
How do you use a virtual career fair without taking away from the candidate experience? Or, can going virtual actually improve the candidate experience?
Our panelists agreed that Brazen provided additional, valuable touch points with their candidates.
“Even getting an invitation send a messages to the candidate, they don’t feel like they’re in this blackhole abyss. So if you invite them to chat for 10-15 minutes I think it says something about our relationship driven recruiting and that you have not been forgotten.” – Leticia Jones
Where does a tool like Brazen fit in your recruiting mix? What are some examples of use cases?
Our panelists mentioned many use cases:
- Beginning of the candidate experience
- Chat during the application process
- Becoming a teacher pipeline/sourcing candidates
- Virtual welcome
- 30-day check in
- Certification pathways
Do you think it will help convince candidates to relocate?
“I think virtual career fairs make it less risky for candidates to explore options out of their area, without having to travel or dress up. I’ve also had candidates looking to move to our general area able to find us because we had a virtual career fair posted.” – Brian White
“We use the platform to do open houses every year and we partner with realtors, they have booths, and that way candidates can ask questions about the area.” – Quiana Peterson
Are virtual career fair cross-generational?
Our three panelists agreed that while they had originally suspected this would be a tool for millennials, they found that all age groups were attracted to the user-friendly platform. User-ship is the same across generations.
What are some other benefits of using a tool like Brazen other than for hiring?
“This is my favorite part of the tool. I have enough opportunity through the touch points to educate, share our narrative, and to make an informed decision on the front end to decide if they’re a good fit.” – Leticia Jones
“For us it has provided a lot of information to figure out what’s on the teachers’ minds because we get online with HR and do an “ask us anything” event. Then we can see where we’re missing some pieces in orientation or in onboarding.” – Quiana Peterson
How are you getting people to your events? What does your promotional plan look like?
Brazen recommends emailing your databases well in-advance of events, then following up with reminder emails close to the day of. We also encourage hosts to post about the events on social media and have recruiters share the posts in their feeds. Customizing the messaging to specific audiences when possible can go a long way!
Additionally, Quiana mentions showcasing your employer brand by incorporating themes into hiring events like hosting an event for STEM teachers on March 14th and calling it “Pi Day.” Leticia emphasizes engaging with interested universities on social media.
All three of you are also combining Brazen’s chatbot (or chatbot like it) with virtual events. Can you talk about how you are using the chatbot features?
The panelists spoke to the chatbot’s ability to highlight communication gaps in the hiring process, as their teams reviewed the chatbots’ most commonly asked questions. Secondly, they allow the hiring teams to take much-needed breaks from work, like over the holidays, when the chatbot can handle responding to job-seekers.
How are you measuring the success of virtual career fairs?
“We measure our turn out from Brazen to all of our other face to face events. Brazen is our number one source for candidates and hires, which I am able to show graphically to our school board. Now we’re starting to measure retention of candidates from different sources.” – Quiana Peterson
What advice would you give a school district forced with picking a partner now under time constraints and stress? What should they look for in a partner or technology?
“Every vendor needs to understand ‘the why.’ I needed them to understand that the kids are the focus. Brazen was able to rise to that occasion every time.” – Leticia Jones
Brian and Quiana also mention that the overall success of the platform, flexibility, and ROI (as budgets in education can be tight) should be key determining factors as well.
Let’s end with something fun. Tell us a specific story about a candidate that you’ve hired through a virtual career fair.
“We hired a teacher straight out of college who became teacher of the year, and I’m hoping my daughter will be in her class!” – Quiana Peterson
“Someone who attended an event decided to become a special education teacher. Finding a special education teacher is the equivalent of finding gold!” – Brian White
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