The mistakes schools make

Recruiting a new Head isn’t easy but you can avoid some common mistakes

What are the most common mistakes made during the recruitment process? This year, TIC conducted research amongst a selection of international school senior heads to find out what could be improved in the headship recruitment process based on their past experiences. This is what they had to say:

Insufficient information

Several people said they felt they had been insufficiently informed of what was required of them in their new role.  Many said that, in retrospect, they wished they had received much more detail about the expectations of the role.

This seems to be a particularly common scenario when an international school hires an experienced Head, but one who is new to the international sector. Such Headteachers may well have colleagues already working internationally and as a result know a little about it – or think they do - but not enough to appreciate the differences and challenges they will face when living and working abroad.

The solution? Provide candidates with as much information as you can about the location, package, benefits and job requirements at the earliest stage to eliminate any likely declines later in the process. Your recruitment partner can also help you to pre-empt the issues that typically cause candidates to decline an offer.

Job vacancy not visible enough to candidates

Some Heads said relying only on looking in ‘situations vacant’ was a mistake, but that some schools use this as their only route to advertising for a new Head. The answer to schools is don’t rely solely on advertising. If you do, you will be at the mercy of the market at that moment in time, rather than sourcing best possible candidates who may not be actively searching, but may well be registered with an agency to represent their recruitment search instead.

Communication is essential

Several Heads said that poor and slow communication can be the most frustrating part of the selection process. Heads said that prompt, clear and honest communication from a school and recruitment partner was very important to them. Not only does this provide reassurance to candidates, but several indicated that this gave them a sense of the standards set by the school.

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