Technology can help human resources (HR) departments become more efficient and more effective in finding potential teachers and conducting the necessary background checks to assure their credentials and other records are as they claim. At its best, the new information management software available to HR directors will integrate many of these tasks across the entire school district.

Here are some affordable online resources:

  1. Online job applications. If done properly, these forms can simplify the application process and therefore encourage new applicants. Online applications can be electronically shared with all decision-makers within a school or school district—thus speeding up the review process. Also, well-prepared application forms linked to a network will help the people in the applicant review process perform tasks such as ordering transcripts and copies of teaching certificates.

  2. CD-ROM recruitment disks. These can be produced and mailed inexpensively to target groups, such as in-state graduates who have teacher’s degrees. CDs also are great handouts at job fairs. Make sure the CD-ROM includes a way to link the candidate to the district’s web site.

  3. Data scanners. These machines scan and read printed material and convert it to digital format. The machines can greatly speed HR departments’ processing of paper applications.

  4. Teacher candidate databases. Several organizations have developed databases of qualified teacher candidates. The largest today is the American Association for Employment in Education (http://www.aaee.org). Several state education agencies have created their own sites, usually with the name www.teachstate.org (for example, Georgia’s is called http://www.teachgeorgia.org). The U.S. Department of Education launched a promising new site in August, known as the National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse (http://www.recruitingteachers.org).

  5. Electronic fingerprint scans. For districts that check teachers for criminal records, it might be worth investing in an electronic fingerprint scanning machine at the central office. Responses from the FBI’s database usually are returned in seconds.