Recruit and retain world-class faculty

Issue 52: 2/2/2024 Head of School slider, Leadership

Our recruitment season is in full swing. This week only, I have interviewed five finalists for teaching positions at FIS, we have or will offer four contracts, and two have already been accepted. Research has shown that quality of teaching has the greatest impact on student learning. For example, among John Hattie’s 252 Influences and Effect Sizes on Student Achievement, the following items are among the highest: collective teacher efficacy, teacher credibility, teacher clarity, and direct instructions.

Our FIS strategy promises we will recruit and retain world-class faculty in service of our students. In the last two years, our HR team and pedagogical leaders have streamlined and improved our recruitment processes to ensure we are attracting the greatest talents. This means increasing the pool of qualified candidates, ensuring FIS is perceived as a top-of-mind international school that will be a great place to work at, having consistent and coherent interview protocols, clear decision-making processes, and doing our due diligence on reference and background checks, both in regards to quality teaching and to child protection and safety. In all of these areas, significant progress has been made.

At FIS, every candidate who is screened and selected from our pool of applicants undergoes a thorough process that entails a minimum of three separate interviews with five different persons, as well as three to five confidential reference checks, including written and verbal (we disregard reference letters shared directly by the candidate). Each person is first interviewed by a group of Vice-Principals / Head of Department / Leader of Learning with an HR manager. Most able candidates are then passed to the Principal / Director of HR for a second interview. Finally, I interview all top candidates submitted to me for approval.

Prêts pour présenter le LFI au salon de l’emploi à Londres. | Ready to showcase FIS at the London Fair
Inscriptions pour des entretiens individuels. | Sign-ups for the interviews at the London Fair.

Last autumn, we also ensured FIS would join Search Associates, the number one recruitment collective in international schools worldwide. As a result, our principals have had access to Seach’s database of thousands of applicants, all carefully vetted by the firm and coming with large numbers of confidential references that allow for an effective initial screening. In January, our two International Stream principals and one of our HR managers travelled to London to be part of the Search Associates Job Fair, where they conducted dozens of interviews. This week, we already recruited two candidates from the fair and are expecting one or two more to join. While our needs did not warrant participation of our French stream principals this year, we know that in the future highly qualified anglophone candidates for our French stream program will be found this way.

These fairs are also a great opportunity to showcase and put FIS’s name in the minds of many in the network of international schools, and contribute to making us “top-of-mind”, another promise of our strategy. In both streams, we ensure that all candidates, from application to recruitment (or non-recruitment when the candidate is not selected), have a positive experience with our school. The vast majority of those who will eventually not join FIS will still talk about FIS with their friends and in their professional network, and we want the word-of-mouth to be stellar. I organised a 3-hour training for our principals and HR team in January with an external full-time recruiter to increase our own skillset and ensure we understand the difference between a screening mindset and a recruitment mindset. The training also helped focus on alleviating our own recruiter biases to increase diversity in our faculty.

My gratitude goes to all the FIS employees who work hard all year-long, but especially in this recruitment season, to find the best to join our talented and supportive teams, as well as our diverse and engaged community.

Dr. Emmanuel Bonin
Head of School

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