Recruiting a new headteacher can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking in equal measure. And with good reason – it’s probably the single biggest decision governors will make to influence the future of their school.

That’s why getting the recruitment campaign right is so important. But we still we see a lot of the same mistakes being made again and again. Here’s a few tips to help things run smoothly….

Advertise smartly

Recruitment advertising is expensive and options are limited. So it’s important to maximise the value and impact you get from an advert. Make it engaging so it stands out from the crowd and try to give an honest sense of the challenges and opportunities at the school. We understand the urge, but our strong advice is don’t talk about the achievements of your former/current headteacher – it’s time to look to the future.

Make it easy for candidates

The top candidates are in high demand, so it’s inevitable that headteacher recruitment is very competitive. Anything you can do to make the process clear and straightforward will ensure you keep your school in the sights of the best candidates. Simple things can help – an application pack accessible online, a phone number (and a named person) to call to ask questions, dates for interviews shared in advance, flexible and confidential candidate visits.

Talk to candidates

There can be all sorts of barriers that candidates encounter as they progress through an application process. Everything from make-or-break questions about the school’s future, salary expectations, unexpected personal crises or diary clashes. Keeping an open dialogue with candidates throughout the campaign (including before the closing date) puts you in the best position to resolve issues at pace and keep more candidates in your process.

Try to get the little things right

Recruiting a school leader is already complicated, with the added stress of multiple stakeholders who all want the very best for the school. They’re often easy to forget, but the simplest things count at times like this - getting back to candidates promptly, professional discussions, honesty, transparent feedback, accurate paperwork and meeting preparation so you and your appointments panel can focus on the right things.

To find out how we could support you, call 01904 567818 or email