The safe way to recruit staff for your school or trust by IRIS Elements image

The safe way to recruit staff for your school or trust by IRIS Elements

The pressure’s on to recruit staff for schools, and that’s a bad thing. It’s risky.

onFriday, 14 June 2024

The pressure’s on to recruit staff for schools, and that’s a bad thing. It’s risky. 

The more stress you feel when employing staff, the more this pressure can stifle your objectivity.  

And when your choice of staff directly affects the children at your school, this is a problem. 

Criminal record checks raise a helpful red flag, but criminality should never be the bar at which we decide if someone should work at our schools. 

Checking someone is the right fit for your school or trust 

Some things people do don’t break the law, but they can indicate the wrong traits for teachers and school staff.  

Perhaps, for example, a new employee has an aggressive side to their character. Or maybe they have contentious and extremist views. 

It’s time to look at each shortlisted candidate’s personality, then. But it’s essential to go beyond those polished first impressions you get in interviews and understand what someone is like when the spotlight is not on them. 

Screening candidates’ social media profiles is a valuable tool in the recruitment process. Because someone’s social media activity mirrors their offline behaviour, this screening can reveal information often overlooked during other pre-employment checks. The result is a better decision on whether a candidate is the right fit for your school. 

The problem with manual checks 

You might, then, decide to Google someone online. This makes sense on the face of it. 

But the reality is that countless other people will probably have the same name as your candidate. With any online search, you can’t be certain that the person you’re Googling is the person who shows up in your results. Even if you have a photo of the individual to hand, many social media handles have avatars or pictures of the family pet or some other image. The result? You might mistakenly attribute something negative to the candidate or, more likely, miss the kind of details you were looking for. 

The overwhelming scale of manual checks 

Digging through social media feeds to see if there’s objectionable content takes many hours. You’re talking hundreds of posts on each account, if not thousands. And there are several major social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Medium and Tumblr. 

That’s a lot of content. 

With time running out, you will feel even more pressure to complete the recruitment process. In that situation, your guard drops, your memory becomes hazy, and you can’t always see what’s in front of you. 

That means you risk acting rashly or missing something.  

What if the pressure to recruit isn’t getting to you? It doesn’t matter: trawling several people’s social feeds is mentally exhausting, and something could still slip under the radar.  

The manual process, subjectivity and accountability 

A manual search brings with it some other issues. You open yourself up to subjectivity based on your own values, beliefs and perceptions while potentially discovering information that isn’t relevant to the hire and deemed as protected characteristics.  

Finally, you will most likely need to produce a report that verifies you have carried out a check to satisfy an Ofsted inspection. If you haven’t satisfied that criteria and an inspection is underway, it’s unlikely that you can perform a manual search and report on an individual candidate in less than half a day. 

So, how do you avoid all these issues? 

The better alternative: automation 

You need the best of all worlds – an automated system that still lets you sift through the results at an intuitive, human level.  

Social Media Check is IRIS’s go-to solution. It provides a best-in-class example of how you harness the power of automation.  

Why do we work with Social Media Check? 

  • Its sophisticated software uses algorithms and machine learning. 

  • It’s developed with industry experts and psychologists. 

  • It’s partnered with the six top social media channels. 

  • It’s 100% secure, ISO 27001 and GDPR compliant.

How Social Media Check works 

The check is carried out on the interview shortlist – ideally by someone who’s not on the recruitment team. This keeps things impartial. 

The prospect completes a form to give consent, pointing Social Media Check in the direction of their relevant feeds. By getting candidates on board and becoming part of the process, everything is done in a more comfortable, efficient way. 

Social Media Check provides a comprehensive and easy-to-follow interactive report and certificate in under an hour, and it highlights content which might cause embarrassment, harm or reputational damage. 

It searches posts against nine key behavioural characteristics:

  • Toxic language 

  • Extremist groups 

  • Hate speech 

  • Swearing and profanity 

  • Potential nudity 

  • Violent images 

  • Firearms 

  • Weapons  

  • Drugs 

You can also add specific key client words to the search, such as the name of a school or individual.  

The number of posts identified within each category is also displayed in the report. 

Content can be both text or images as it uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to provide a complete and robust solution. The date the image or text was posted is displayed at the bottom and, for convenience, under how many different categories that post was found. 

The interview panel can then raise any issues face-to-face if the candidate seems promising in all other aspects. 

Fine-tuning social media feeds 

As this last point suggests, you might find things in the report that aren’t dealbreakers. Take, for example, a poorly chosen retweet that might come back to haunt someone who goes on to interview for a job at your school. Something fine amongst adults but inappropriate should a pupil find it. 

In such a situation, it might be a good idea to agree to delete the post before the candidate accepts a job offer. 

This process is just the start of the journey 

There is much more to this topic. For instance, what do you do if a candidate says “no” to a screening? Or, what’s the best way to flag any issues with the candidate?  

Let IRIS help with summertime recruitment 

We’ve got the answers to the above and more. 

And that may well prove helpful. This summer, there’s every chance your recruitment activity will hit an all-time high. 

Let us help you: 

  • Streamline your recruitment process 

  • Save thousands on supply cover 

  • Ensure the safety of your students 

  • Build powerful talent pools 

  • Automate complex processes like screening

  • Retain staff  

Click here to learn more – and get our complete guide to social media checks.

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