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AI and Leadership Recruitment

Rethinking Recruitment: How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Address the Shortage of Executive Personnel

January 31, 2024, marked the date when British school principals could have submitted their resignations. From that moment, a three-month countdown commenced to find candidates for the now-vacant leadership positions. This situation has become a headache for the administration at many educational institutions. Numerous schools risk being without strong leaders, detrimentally affecting the quality of education and their reputations.

How critical is the situation? According to independent research, as of the end of 2022, there were over 1,400 job openings for senior managers in school education across the UK. Given that there are 32,163 schools in the UK today, as reported by the BESA, this means that 4.3% of them lack proper leadership. Moreover, the situation appears to be worsening. In a survey by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, only 60% of current headteachers expressed a desire to remain in their positions for the next three years, and merely 46% of senior teachers were inclined to take on administrative responsibilities in the near future.

This issue extends beyond the problems of individual schools—it threatens the entire British education system. This dire situation necessitates urgent action. To overcome the crisis, it is imperative to rethink recruitment strategies, acknowledge the changing world around us, and place trust in new approaches. What changes are needed, and which tools will be beneficial? Our article discusses this topic further.

What Caused This Problem?

Leadership resignation negatively affects the quality of British education. According to research by the Wallace Foundation, the absence of a strong leader lowers students’ average grades and significantly worsens their discipline. But why are there more and more principal job openings with no suitable candidates?

The short-term reason is the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Research by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation shows it has led to the dismissal of many teachers and a decline in the popularity of the profession in general. As a result, administrative staff at educational institutions are now dealing with complete chaos in personnel policy. They are forced to make great efforts to keep the situation under control, not always yielding the desired financial returns. That is why senior teachers refuse to advance in their careers for fear of additional responsibility.

We are dealing with a vicious circle. Job openings are not being closed because of the current personnel crisis, which, in turn, worsens the future of education by discouraging potential candidates. It is almost impossible to break the recruitment cycle using traditional methods—the world around us has changed and requires a new approach.

This is where the long-term cause of the problems with recruiting management personnel for British schools lies. 

The conservatism of the educational system no longer fits into the image of the modern world. Some schools continue to look for personnel through newspaper advertisements, just as they did 50 years ago. This does not allow them to engage candidates effectively, especially young professionals looking for work on numerous online platforms. But recruitment on specialised websites is not the ideal solution either—the world is moving forward, and the focus is shifting to social media, which is gradually becoming our second reality.

The problem remains unresolved even when third parties are involved in selecting principals. Ineffective recruitment agencies often search for candidates and use outdated methods, such as outdoor advertising, cold calling, publications in local newspapers, etc. Of course, the persistence of their employees yields certain results, allowing them to close some job openings. However, the extra time wasted in recruitment results in huge losses for educational institutions and the entire education system.

How Can the Situation Be Improved?

So, the root of the problem lies in the conservatism of the educational system and outdated approaches to recruitment. Is it possible to overcome them with one strong-willed decision? Of course not. But any change begins with an impetus, which can be using the latest technologies.

We know it may sound predictable, but one of the top recruitment trends in 2024 is artificial intelligence. It can stop the increasing number of job openings and reverse this process, improving the situation with staffing in British schools. How exactly can computer software solve the problem? To answer this question, let’s understand the principles of AI and its capabilities.

The basis of innovative recruitment strategies using artificial intelligence is nano-targeting. 

Imagine that instead of placing advertisements in newspapers and on websites and ordering outdoor advertising and TV ads, you can simply knock on the door of the ideal candidate for a principal’s position, have a polite conversation with them, and offer them a job. That’s exactly how AI-powered recruiting works: it transmits your offer to a narrow circle of talented teachers and principals using the most effective channels—advertising on social media, mobile apps, and popular websites.

The requirements for the head of an educational institution are quite high, forcing the school administration to work in a high-stress recruitment process, sorting through hundreds of candidates and carefully studying resumes. But artificial intelligence can take over this task. It only needs basic requirements, such as the desired candidate’s experience, certain skills, and ideal location. AI will independently formulate search criteria on social media, analyse thousands of profiles, and select dozens or even a few that meet your expectations and are ready to respond to your offer.

Our example demonstrates that this approach is the future of talent acquisition in education. By rethinking recruitment and entrusting this task to artificial intelligence, you get 11 times more candidates with optimal characteristics, save 30% of your recruitment budget, and reduce time. soccialy produces results at a very high level of efficiency—our top clients close 98% of their job openings, eliminating the development of the personnel crisis and starting the stabilisation process.

To build an effective recruitment policy, you must think not only about today but also about tomorrow. 

A principal or teacher’s resignation should not surprise you. AI can also help with this. Thanks to predictive search technologies, it is capable of building a talent pipeline by selecting ideal passive candidates. They are not looking for a job now but are ready to consider interesting offers. You can contact them when they leave their current position or when a position becomes available at your school. The database compiled with the help of AI is like a dynamic library of resumes sorted by the level of candidates’ qualifications—it is constantly changing to reflect the labour market.

How Else Can We Improve the Way We Approach Recruitment?

Let’s be honest. If AI were the only versatile solution to the personnel problems in British education, the crisis could be solved with a few mouse clicks. In reality, its potential is not being realised to 100% in many cases due to outdated practices. If you really want to adapt to the changing job market, you should consider the following recommendations:

  • Use social media recruiting. It is an ideal platform for attracting top talent because it is honest and transparent. Usually, you can get more valuable information from a social media profile than from a carefully prepared CV.
  • Become an employer of choice. People don’t choose education for big earnings, and the incomes of employees of most educational institutions are roughly equal. Therefore, it is the organisation’s reputation that matters most. To improve it, follow these simple employer branding tips: create official profiles on social media, maintain communication with candidates, students, and applicants, participate in thematic events, and invest in PR campaigns.
  • Monitor current trends. Effective talent engagement strategies should use modern media tools. These can include references to current cultural trends and national events and even humorous memes. You should make a favourable offer to the candidate and show that you understand them and speak the same language.

But the most crucial thing is changing your attitude toward the recruitment process. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not enough to reassure yourself with statements like “We’re doing the best we can with the limited resources we have.” Instead, you need to ask yourself, “What are we doing to improve the situation, and are these efforts enough?”

The changing labour market and the overall economic situation in the 21st century force us to rethink recruitment, looking for creative and innovative approaches. They don’t have to be expensive and time-consuming. On the contrary, using the latest technologies and systematically optimising these processes will bring the desired results, reducing budget expenditures and freeing administrative personnel’s work time.

Conclusion

The current situation calls for urgency in recruitment changes at all levels—from individual schools to the British education system as a whole. The level of teacher and principal vacancies is approaching a critical point, beyond which we may face a complete collapse. At such a time, it is necessary to rethink recruitment by choosing a creative approach to overcoming the personnel crisis.

As the countdown to the official date for the dismissal of executives begins, it is worth considering new technologies such as artificial intelligence and our platform. We have effectively worked with 2,575 educational institutions in the UK, attracting more candidates with ideal qualifications, reducing recruitment costs and relieving managers of their workload. Over the past few years, our AI has recruited candidates for 6,890 vacancies, closing 98% of them.

However, the scale of the problem requires systemic solutions rather than ad hoc ones. Using AI in recruitment, British schools can build their brands and improve their reputations. They can also change their approach to attracting talent by understanding their candidates, speaking their language, and incorporating current trends into their communications policies.