If you're a talent professional in the education sector, things are likely a bit slower (read: more manageable) for you right now as all the people you hired for this school year settle into their new roles. Still, I always say that education talent recruitment is like working in retail - to be successful you always have to be at least a season ahead. So now with the season officially turned to fall, a good recruitment strategy for your next hiring season needs to start now. But where does one begin?

Evaluate the previous season
Most schools are data-driven environments these days, and the HR/talent team is no exception. Begin your talent strategy planning by looking at all the important data from the previous season. From where did most of your new hires come? Which events or marketing initiatives were most successful? How successful are your newest hires in their roles? What were the candidate pass-through rates for each phase of the selection process?

Begin with the end in mind
Particularly for anyone working in a growing charter school or network, you'll need to know what new positions are anticipated for the coming year. Is your organization adding a new grade? Are new positions being added as part of the transition to Common Core? Connect with whomever is charged with the academic program to find out what they have in mind. (But keep in mind that it could change!)

The talent shuffle
Take a current faculty and staff list and sit down with your school's leaders to determine who they anticipate will return to their same position next year. Is anyone being promoted to a new role? Who is considering a cross-country move, planning to be a stay-at-home mom, or planning for grad school? Use the fall season to start identifying these potential transitions to help you assess what openings you'll need to fill. You'll start to identify some definite openings and some possible ones.

Survey and Interview staff
Want to know what people like about working at your organization, what made them choose your school over another offer, or what candidates most liked and disliked about the selection process? Just ask your staff. This information will be invaluable in putting together a talent recruitment marketing plan, figuring out where to recruit, and tweaking your selection process. Don't forget to use the opportunity to ask them what educator rockstars they know who might be interested in future openings!

Review your selection process
When I was Chief Talent Officer at DC Prep, I called this "reflection and refinement" in honor of one of our organizational values. Ultimately, you want to be sure the steps you take to select staff in different roles are efficient while also being aligned with your values and expectations of staff. You can get even more bang for your buck if it is well aligned with your performance management system and observation/feedback cycle. Further, it is important to get clear about what you're looking for in staff before you start recruiting them to ensure both processes are aligned.

Review your marketing materials
Have you updated your website, social media sites, and print materials since the last hiring season? Make sure these properly reflect what's happening in your schools and promote your school in the best light. Think about how the sites reflect what you value most in staff. For instance, if you want data-driven and results-oriented staff, include student achievement data and examples of the kinds of results your teachers and leaders have garnered for students. As much as possible, try to show and not just tell the things that make your school great by including videos, pictures, and graphic representations.

Candidate cultivation
Plan ahead, get clear about your hiring needs, and make sure your materials are a good reflection of your organization, but don't wait another minute to cultivate prospective candidates already in your database. Remember that awesome candidate from last season who decided not to move at the last minute? Or that leader you didn't have the right role for last year but think you might next year? Send them an email or give them a call just to check in, include them on your organization's e-newsletter, or invite them to an event at your school. They'll love that you remember them and who knows how circumstances might change for you and them in the next cycle.

Our team just loves coaching and consulting with talent professionals to support these proactive components of talent strategy. Let us know how we can help you get ahead of the game. Talent strategy is all about planning and it takes the talent professionals at your school or organization to lead the way in securing the best talent pool. Don't delay!