Teacher Recruitment: The Influence of Recruitment Processes on Candidate Decisions

Smith, Mark, Administration and Supervision - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Young, Michelle, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Attracting the most qualified teacher candidates has become quite challenging for school divisions around the country. Literature regarding the national and regional teacher shortage highlights several of the reasons teachers are in high demand (Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, Carver-Thomas, 2016). For example, the Learning Policy Institute (2016) cites three such reasons: increased student growth, reinstating courses that were reduced during the recession, and workforce attrition. Coupling these factors with the shrinking teacher candidate pool, it has becoming increasingly important for school divisions to employ effective practices for teacher recruitment. According to Odden (2011), active recruiting is the most important tool that schools can use to increase their talent pool.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the teacher recruitment process in Eagle City Public Schools (ECPS). Given the extensive resources devoted to attracting candidates to the school division via recruitment, this study investigated how the ECPS recruitment processes influenced candidates’ perceptions of ECPS and their decision-making process, and sought to provide insights into why candidates either accepted or declined offers of employment from the district. In addition, this study examined the school division’s recruitment process vis-à-vis its goal of recruiting the highest quality employees. Job Choice Theory (Behling et al., 1968) was used as the conceptual framework for this research. To bolster the insights into the effectiveness of ECPS’s recruitment process provided by Job Choice Theory, it was supplemented by the inclusion of division strategy (Breaugh & Starke, 2000) and organizational fit (Chatman, 1989). Two data collection strategies were utilized in this study: surveys and qualitative interviews. Teachers who were hired by ECPS for a three year period (2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school year) along with teachers who interviewed with ECPS, were offered a position but declined that position during this same time frame were included in this study, along with division-level recruiters and ECPS human resource personnel. Survey responses from division-level recruiters provided insight into the implementation of the recruitment processes and interviews with ECPS human resource leadership highlighted division-level vision and strategy related to the recruitment process. Data was analyzed for themes, trends and patterns to answer the research questions.

The themes from this study indicated that teacher recruitment is a multi-staged process that begins with candidate interest and culminates with his or her decision on the job offer. ECPS relies heavily on recruiters to provide information for candidates as they move through the process. Interviews at individual school sites continue to provide information for candidates to create a fit with the school or school division. Candidates were drawn to subjective factors such as climate and pleasant work environment and indicated that organization fit, the alignment of their values with the organization, was a critical factor when deciding whether to accept or decline a job offer. When candidates evaluated offers from ECPS there were varying views of the influence of the recruitment process on their attraction to apply to the school division as well as their decision to accept or decline a job offer. Based on these themes, four recommendations were made for Eagle City Public Schools: 1) Investigate candidate’s decision making process to determine additional reasons for acceptance and declining of job offers; 2) Maximize organizational fit during the recruitment process; 3) Provide training for recruiters to provide feedback from the recruitment process, share perspectives from teacher candidates, and develop future action and strategy; and 4) Target subjective factors to enhance teacher recruitment strategy for ECPS.

Eagle City Public Schools devotes extensive resources to recruiting teachers. ECPS also finds itself in competition with surrounding school divisions for the same pool of teachers. As such, it is important for ECPS to have a keen understanding of recruitment from the perspective of teachers who were recently hired by as well as those who recently declined offers from the district. Analyzing this data against the vision and strategy set forth by division leadership offered a robust picture of the recruitment process used by the division and provided direction for future recruitment practices. Eagle City Public Schools aspires to recruit, develop, and retain the highest quality employees and this capstone provides guidance for ECPS to reach this goal.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
teacher recruitment, job choice theory, organizational fit
Issued Date: