5 things to make your FE & training interview process stand out

You’ve got your shortlist and your first interview date is set. You can imagine your candidate now, rehearsing their proudest moments in their further education teacher training, slipping on their dry-cleaned suit and preparing some good anecdotes on when they first realised planning and management of a curriculum was their calling.

But what are the things you should be doing to make your FE interview stand out?

In a candidate-led world, it’s not the interviewee being grilled on their teaching qualifications and suitability. Instead, it’s a two-way street. With the mergers ahead of FE colleges moving into groups or trusts, recruitment will only become more important in future years – so how will you be standing out and offering something extra?

We wanted to look at the 5 ways you can future proof your interview process.

  1. Make it easy to attend

By making it easy to attend, we don’t mean laying on the transport and rolling out the red carpet – but we do mean that you don’t start to make the whole process feel like the last few weeks of the X-Factor auditions. There is enough red tape in FE with the applications before we add poor interview processes into the mix. Now is the time to try and put the personal into personnel, trying to complete the necessary paperwork and due diligence, whilst also adding in some tailored questions to the individual in front of you instead of ‘saving’ questions until the next stage or date. In a LinkedIn survey, 84% of candidates say they are satisfied with the number of interviews they experience, which tends to be about three. Google allows for 4, but bear in mind that with candidates applying for multiple roles, now is the time for your FE institution to stand out by being the place that got to the heart of the interview and had an advanced process that wasn’t akin to pulling teeth!

  1. Talk about culture fit

Of course, people join for a role and a teaching position and discussing that should represent a large part of your interview process, but watch yourself. Talk in too frank terms about the drudgeries of the day to day, or the challenges, or the long hours, and you might not see your sparky new potential hire for dust. People are more interested than ever in a culture fit, especially millennials. According to a survey by Glassdoor for Employers, approximately 80 percent of millennials examine culture fit with potential employers before applying to and accepting jobs. Use the interview to talk about the work-life balance, culture and values, events and how you welcome in new starters.

  1. Help them see the bigger picture

Leading on from culture, how can we expect the future of FE to be inspired when we don’t talk beyond the role they interview for? We’ve all got dreams and aspirations. Sure, some might involve long days in pyjamas watching re-runs of Peep Show at home, but for many people, a college or provider openly and actively discussing their future, aspirations and their part to play in the growth of the economy and its people would be something that well received.

  1. Let them meet the team

Once the candidate has been filtered from a certain pool and is somewhere in the maybe to ‘definitely maybe’ list, introduce them, or allow them to speak to someone on their team, grade level or in their potential future department. Encourage them to ask questions and get real answers about the things that might be on their mind. If you’ve got some super candidates, this can be a real deal breaker if they are offered a variety of positions and can swing your provider to the forefront for the simple reason that their objections have been overcome and they already have a connection with someone on the payroll.

  1. Give timely and honest feedback

Feedback is not only good morally and ethically (helping show the candidate where they might have strengths and weaknesses) but it’s also important for future proofing, so go beyond the standard forms and don’t hide behind a rejection letter.  It’s fair to say in the FE and training space you will see many of the same faces come around time and time again, so give constructive criticism which can help the candidate grow and give them something to build on – it may benefit you in the future when they are even more qualified, experienced – and fondly remembering their pain-free interview process!

Next Steps

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