Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Advertising to Attract Teacher Applicants: Part 4 - Recon Missions

One of the best ways to advertise teaching positions actually involves no traditional advertisement at all. I call this method of seeking to fill faculty openings "recon missions." How does it work? Simple.

Recon Missions - Let's say you have a need for an experienced tuba instructor for the following year. Now let's imagine the State Tuba Instructor Convention is being held in a city to which you could travel without a huge expense or inconvenience. If you or someone trustworthy from within your tuba department (ideally your tuba department chair) could register for and attend the tuba convention, the recon mission becomes realistic... if you choose to accept it.

Such conventions, conferences, state clinics, and the like, often are abuzz with news of which tuba instructors are leaving which school for which other opportunities, which tuba instructors are looking for a change of scenery, which tuba instructors are looking for new challenges, etc. The goal of the recon mission is to find out which instructors are the best and which might be the right fit for your department and/or school. If said tuba instructor is available and attractive (as a candidate of course), you should make contact. After making contact, the rest is up to you.

Often at such gatherings there are job boards placed in a central location. These job boards usually have a space designated for job openings and for job seekers. These job boards may be a great way for you to publicly post your position or to find candidates looking to change jobs.

The upside to recon missions is your ability to work quietly, to operate in stealth mode, if necessary. You can mix and mingle, network, meet new people and reconnect with old colleagues while keeping an eye open for possible candidates to fill your vacancy. Also, you have a better chance of landing a real tuba instructor rather than having to wade through applications from unemployed percussionists and strings players who simply need a job.

The downside to recon missions is that if you don't score some business cards or resumes at the convention, you may need to advertise in a different way, thus incurring additional expense. Additionally, the timing may not always be right. Some conventions are held in the fall or winter. In that case, though, you still would do well to attend in order to put your feelers out in anticipation of future openings.

It's worth noting that many of the best districts and best independent schools have people on staff whose responsibility it is to attend as many of these conventions and conferences as possible for the purpose of recruitment and recon.

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