Looking for a new headteacher for January 2016?

As if a lack of supply in the school leadership market wasn’t challenge enough, recruiting a new headteacher is also a matter of careful timing. Governors know that they have to plan recruitment campaigns so as not to get caught out by resignation deadlines – go too early and you might find the market slow to respond, too late and you’ll miss a great candidate.

But it you are looking for a new leader for January 2016, here are 5 simple ways to make your campaign more effective.

Get your story straight

In such a competitive market, successful recruitment is about telling a compelling story. Candidates need to understand you and your school – where have you come from? What’s most important to you looking ahead? Crucially, what opportunities are you offering your new school leader? Taking the time to get some consistency with these messages (and how you communicate them) can make all the difference.

Dates and diaries

It might sound simple, but come September they’ll be lots to do. Diaries will get more complicated and last minute scrambles to set interview dates can be a real headache. So, work out which stakeholders and colleagues you’ll need to be around and get this finalised before everyone disappears. If you’ve got someone in school who can start thinking about logistics on the interview day itself, even better.

Talk to the market

If you can fit them in, conversations before the summer can be very revealing and give candidates space over the holidays to reflect.  You might want to run a “teaser” advert early in July and offer conversations to anyone interested.  Make sure whoever is speaking to potential candidates is fully briefed and, if possible, arrange some visits prior to the holidays.

Be available

Thankfully this isn’t about cancelling your summer holidays – but it is about making sure that potential candidates can speak to you during the summer break. They may have questions to ask or want to explore something before working on their application. From your perspective, engaging with candidates keeps momentum in your campaign and hopefully results in that application appearing in September.

Advertise first week back

Finally, make sure you get your advert booked in for the first week back in September.  If you let it run for a couple of weeks you should still have plenty of time to agree your shortlist and interview before the deadline on the 30th.