I find myself frequently talking with childcare operators about the biggest day-to-day challenges they face. While there are many things that come up, I have found that finding, hiring and keeping quality staff are the most frequent instigators of headaches.
Managing staff is an unpredictable job. You don’t always know which staff will be a star player, how long a staff member will stay with you, or how long the hiring process will take to replace them if they leave. While there are some factors that are out of your control, there are a few ways you can make hiring childcare staff easier, more predictable, and less stressful.
Where to Look for Childcare Staff
You are ready to start interviewing and training a new childcare staff member, but where do you go to find the best candidates? Not all job site are created equal, and different types of centers and schools may find some resources a better fit than others. Below you will find a list of some of the best job sites for childcare staff:
Craigslist– While there are many sites to post jobs on today, Craigslist still remains a great site for new job postings. They allow you to target your postings based on the industry and location at a very low cost.
Colleges with ECE Programs– Most colleges have an internal job board for college students. Universities with ECE programs are a fantastic place to find ambitious candidates that are currently looking for a job in early childhood education.
CCR&R– Most communities have a local CCR&R network that provides resources and referrals for the child care community. If you haven’t checked out your local CCR&R get on it ASAP. They provide tools that go far beyond hiring.
Indeed.com– A favorite tool to find qualified teachers and staff. It’s fairly simple to use and gives you the opportunity to search through resumes posted for candidates interested in early childhood education jobs.
LinkedIn– LinkedIn is a helpful tool for networking with other people in the childcare industry, as well as finding new hires. Not having luck with a LinkedIn job posting? Search for candidates with a childcare background, and try recruiting candidates yourself instead of playing the waiting game.
Idealist.org– Is your center or school a non-profit? Idealist is a job site for nonprofit companies only, and is an outstanding place to find passionate candidates committed to making a positive change in the world.
Ask your best Childcare staff for referrals
Amazing childcare staff tend to know other amazing people that would be a perfect fit for your child care center or preschool. If you are lucky enough to have a star staff, let them know often how thankful you are to have them. The only thing more important than hiring quality staff is keeping them.
Let your staff members know that you are always interested in hearing about other spectacular staff and teachers that would be a wonderful fit for your center, even if you are not currently hiring.
Offer a referral bonus to staff
As we just mentioned, quality childcare childcare staff are priceless. Your current team is a great resource for finding other staff and teachers, but sometimes they need that extra push to reach out to their friends and let them know about the opportunities at your preschool or childcare center.
Try offering a referral bonus incentive for each new hire who stays with your center for a minimum of 3-6 months. Make sure your incentive is large enough to peak your team’s interest.
Ask parents too
Parents can be another helpful resource when you are looking for new staff and teachers. They share a similar interest of wanting to see amazing teachers and staff work at your child care center, as the staff they bring to you will be the same ones that work with their children.
Have a job fair
Hosting a job fair gives you the opportunity to bring candidates right to your door, talk with a larger amount of candidates at once, and help in expediting the hiring process. A successful job fair requires some preparation and planning to ensure candidates show up to the fair.
Publicize the job fair by posting the event on online job boards and social media platforms like the ones mentioned previously. When creating your job fair posting, be sure to input keywords that are related to the job you are hiring for (ex. preschool teacher, childcare staff, children). This will ensure the right candidates find you.
Never stop hiring
Ever felt a moment of panic after someone puts in their 2 week notice? Ever hired someone you possibly shouldn’t have? When you are desperate for new staff you will have a much harder time finding quality staff, and may not be as critical about who you do hire.
Most of the time it takes much longer than 2 weeks to hire someone. It’s good practice to not hire only when you need someone, but throughout the year. This gives you time to post jobs, screen candidates, and have an extensive selection of candidates to interview and choose from.
We also suggest hiring a floater staff who is available to cover vacancies or help out when staff are sick. It alleviates stress for you and your team, and allows you to take the time to choose the perfect candidate for your center or school.