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4 ways technology can improve the hiring process

The right technology is the perfect sidekick for hiring managers to find candidates best suited to meet a specific school’s student achievement needs

Joel SackettIn many districts across the country, the process for hiring teachers could stand to be improved.

While there are many facets of the process that could be changed, a few key areas standout: there is a lack of multi-dimensional data on individual candidates, the hiring process is either overly manual, creating inefficiencies, or too automated, leaving out quality candidates, and technology and process are difficult to integrate.

Student achievement should be top of mind during teacher candidate selection and interviews. Research shows that quality educators are the most important school-based factor for student achievement. Since measurement and student success have become even more important in recent years – and in some cases actually impact district funding – having an effective hiring process is increasingly vital.

Unfortunately, far too many existing processes still fail to achieve benchmarks of success including efficiently sorting through teacher candidate data, identifying high-quality teachers that can impact student achievement and cost-effectively meeting budgetary demands.

Districts must consider a few common criteria when looking to fill in the gaps with technology. In today’s landscape of squeezed budgets, limited resources and higher hiring stakes, HR Directors must consider these critical benchmarks for using technology as part of a successful hiring process:

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1. The More Data the Better: One of the key criteria when evaluating hiring technology is the richness of the data that the software provides on candidates. Hiring tools need to offer a comprehensive view of candidates, incorporating qualitative and quantitative aspects. Cognitive and behavioral data and qualities, which don’t often emerge until one-on-one interviews, must become part of the data collection further upstream, and as such, an integral part of the selection process.

2. Integration is Critical: Given limitations of some technologies, districts are often faced with the necessity to rip and replace existing technologies and processes to best utilize the new software. This is the wrong approach. Technology must be an enabler, and fit into existing processes and criteria for evaluation. Look for an application that can easily integrate with existing tools and processes

3. Automation for Faster Decision-Making: Technology must empower hiring managers to quickly hone in on top-tier teacher candidates. This step can and should be automated. The software must incorporate specific research into what affects a teacher’s propensity to impact student achievement, going beyond basic qualifications, into its algorithmic evaluation and recommendations. As a result, hiring managers will have the insights they need to make faster decisions about a large candidate pool, and greater efficiency and effectiveness.

4. The Human Touch Where Needed: Dedicating time to get to know the teacher candidate personally is the key to filling any position. So, not everything should be automated. It is important to keep the human component in the hiring process and to select the right technology to enhance personal evaluation techniques, not automate them. The path to finding the best teachers to impact student achievement is different for each unique school and opening. Simply put, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or simple hiring formula.

Software that allows for free-form answers that help shed light on a candidate’s personality, thought process, philosophy and more, are valuable. Hiring managers understand better than anyone how details like personality, culture and so on should impact the decision. This is the step where the human touch needs to play an important role.

The right technology is the perfect sidekick for hiring managers to find candidates who are best suited to meet a specific school’s student achievement needs. Technology that provides the best data, is easily integrated with existing processes, is automated where needed is essential to help meet the demands of leading districts.

Joel Sackett has been helping organizations realize their digital visions for almost a decade. Joel has worked on numerous high-profile projects, including PBS Student Reporting Labs, and 2012 Olympics coverage for AP. Joel joined Hanover Research to help expand its product offerings in the eager, under-served education market. He tweets at @joelstweets.

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