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How to find the best staff for your team…

Tips for finding “Your People”. 

Need new staff and don’t know where to start?  Finding new staff to fit your service can be like trying to find a comfy pair of shoes.  Your service has its own unique qualities, its own unique needs and most of all, a culture all of its own.  So how do you find the right pair of comfy shoes for your service?

Screen your applicants first.

Review your applications and categorise into a short list. Then take advantage of phone screening! Phone screening is a great place to start your recruiting process.  You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first. Right?  Then ask yourself, why would I interview without screening??? And the honest truth of it is, you’re going to know after talking with people for 10-15 minutes if they could potentially be your ‘comfy shoes’ for your service.  Phone screening creates opportunity to talk with your applicants, ask them questions to find out if they are potentially ‘your people’.  Having a custom form with your unique screening questions is vital. Don’t forget to take notes.

Preparation is the key.

Now we all know that interviews can take up a whole lot of time. Even more so if you didn’t review with intention. Define what you want. Know what you want.  And then, make a shortlist from your phone screens.  Preparing for an interview isn’t just for candidates.  It’s for the interview panel too!  No one wants to work for someone who hasn’t a clue who they are interviewing.  Believe me it happens more than you think or would expect.  Centre Managers and Approved Providers are busy people but it’s no excuse for lack of preparation for interviews.  Remember you are looking for ‘your people’ for your service and you are setting the bar right from the moment you begin recruiting.

The Interview.

So, you’ve found your potential ‘comfy shoes’ but where to now.  Scheduling your interviews needs to be done effectively and by that I mean managing your time.  Childcare centres are busy places.  So schedule the time that best suits the needs of your service.  Drop off and pick up times may not be ideal as these are in general, the busiest times of the day.  Remember, you want your potential shoes to feel like they fit in too.  Take an opportunity to tour them around your service. Take note of how they interact with the children and educators. This can sometimes be a good ice breaker.  Whether it is intentional or not, poor time management can make your applicants feel like they’re an afterthought.  This is not where you want to start. Be ready before they arrive. Take 5 minutes to go over their resume and your notes. Get your service interview questionnaire ready and take notes. Get that jug of water and glass ready for the interview space; and make sure your interview space is clean and comfortable.

To offer or not to offer.

You’ve finished your shopping and there are a number of ‘comfy shoes’ ready for action. This is where you will feel like the Prince in Cinderella.  All these feet for that one glass slipper! It’s likely that you will like more than a few of your applicants but you can’t have them all.  Go back to the initial steps you took before screening and review all over again. Go and ask your team what they thought of the applicants when they toured the centre with you.  Go over your notes from the screening and the interview. Look for any red flags. It can sometimes be helpful to make another short list and sometimes even another interview or, get them in for a trial.  Try not to overlook applicants who may not have interviewed that well as they may have been nervous and more of a practical interviewee.  When it comes to finding ‘your people’ a lot of consideration and reflection needs to happen; not one shoe fits all!  It takes a village to raise a child and your families want to know that ‘your people’ are their people too.  Take the time, be thoughtful and intentional and you may just find ‘your people’ for your service.

If you’re feeling stuck and need help with your early childhood centre or leadership team then reach out to us at hello@weareastute.com.au, we’d love to help. Find out more about how Astute can help your service here.

Contact us today and let our team of early years specialists work their magic.