How do you hire great employees for your childcare business? It’s no secret that the childcare industry faces some of the highest employee turnover rates, so how do you ensure you’re adding the right people to your daycare team and cultivating a relationship with your team members that will encourage them to stay with your company long term? In the following guide, we offer tips for effective hiring practices, from finding the right candidates to nurturing your relationship with new and existing employees.
Where to Look for Job Candidates?
You know you need to hire for an open position at your daycare, so where do you go to find the right candidates?
First, look to those in your daycare community. Let your team members know you’re hiring and ask them to help you spread the word to friends and associates in their personal spheres of influence who may be looking for a childcare position. You may even want to ask a few of your trusted parents to keep their eye out on your behalf. If the people you count on know what you’re looking for, they may be a great help in finding potential candidates.
Second, post your job ad on job sites, like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Make sure you put together a thoughtful job description. Include important information, like who you are as a company, what kind of position you are hiring for, a list of essential job duties, and preferred qualifications. Include a request for a job application with a cover letter and resume. This requirement will help weed out candidates who aren’t serious enough to put in the work needed to include a quality cover letter and resume.
Finally, spread the word on your social media channels. Letting your followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter know you are hiring helps you get the message out to a large network of potential candidates who may already be interested in your business or know someone who is. You may even want to include a “Job Opportunities” section on your daycare website.
When to Hire?
Maybe it’s more important to emphasize when not to hire; you don’t want to hire when you are desperate. If you are going through the hiring process when you are desperate to fill an unexpected vacancy at your daycare, you are much more likely to hire the wrong candidate. Don’t lower your expectations because you need to get somebody—anybody—to fill a job opening.
Instead, implement an ongoing search for candidates by keeping tabs on potential applicants. For example, if you receive an inquiry about a job opening at your daycare at a time when you are not hiring, store the person’s contact information in a paper or digital file that you can return to when the time is right. Continue to do this whenever you receive candidate recommendations, references, and applications. This way, you will have a generous pool of strong candidates at the ready for your next hiring initiative.
How to Screen Applicants?
When the job applications begin coming in, you will want to have a plan in place to effectively screen applicants to determine the “No” candidates, the “Maybe” candidates, and the “High Potential” candidates.
Use your job application to screen those initial applicants who don’t make the cut. Did a candidate include a sloppy cover letter? Does another candidate have too little experience? How about the candidate who wants a salary you know you cannot pay? Add to your “No” pile.
Next, schedule phone interviews with those candidates in your “Maybe” and “High Potential” lists. Phone interviews are a great way to evaluate potential candidates without jumping ahead to in-person interviews. Use the phone interview to ask high level questions, such as why the candidate is interested in the position, why she is leaving her current place of employment, and whether you would like to clarify any questions about her resume. As a first test, ask the candidate to call you at a pre-scheduled time for the phone interview and see if he or she follows through.
Keep phone interviews brief, no more than fifteen minutes. Basically, you are trying to gauge the seriousness of the applicant and determine whether he or she still seems like a potential good fit for the role.
Once you have determined the three or so strongest candidates, arrange for a formal, in-person interview. Do your best to bring another team member whose opinion you trust into the interview to help you process the interview and make a well-informed decision. Some daycare owners even opt for a parent-representative whom they trust to sit in on the interview. After all, parents and especially long term clients, have a vested interest in your next hire!
Plan on a one- to two-hour interview so you have plenty of time to get to know the candidate. You’ll want to ask the right interview questions to give you as much insight as possible.
What Interview Questions Should You Ask?
Here are some sample interview questions that will help you get to know the candidate better:
– Tell me more about yourself (or similar icebreaker-type question).
– What do you love about working in early childhood education or child care?
– Share one professional accomplishment you are proud of.
– What was your favorite part of your previous job?
– What was your least favorite part of your previous job?
– Describe a few of your favorite activities that you like to do with children in your care.
– How would you handle…
A child who refuses to take a nap?
A child who has separation anxiety at parent drop-off time?
An angry parent complaint?
(Asking a few situational questions is very important as it helps you gauge how well the candidate is able to think on his or her feet and problem-solve.)
– Where do you see yourself in five years?
– What is your teaching philosophy?
– Do you have any questions for me?
Other Important Hiring Considerations
When you get to the later stage in the hiring process, be sure to complete a comprehensive criminal background check on your candidates. Also make sure you follow up on the professional references the applicants provided. Call their references and read between the lines to assess how strong of a recommendation they are really offering. You want to make sure you evaluate the candidates from every angle available to make the best decision.
Initiating and Nurturing the Employee Relationship
Once you have made a final decision and made an offer to your chosen candidate, you have the opportunity to begin the new employee relationship on the right foot. Here are some ways you can initiate and grow a great employee relationship:
– Provide a warm welcome and introduce your new hire to your team.
– Encourage your new hire to ask questions and provide lots of regular check-ins the first few days and in the weeks to come.
– Initiate a probationary period (90 days is standard) to make sure your new hire really is the right fit.
– Foster team unity by promoting an atmosphere of support and enthusiasm over the new hire.
– Continue to give and receive regular feedback from all of your employees. The more you invest in the well-being of your team members, the more likely new (and old) employees will stay.
We hope this guide is a useful reference as you evaluate your own hiring practices and make changes that will help you build a stellar daycare team!
Here at Honest Buck Accounting, we love helping our clients streamline and optimize the financial side of their business. Schedule a call with us today to learn how the Honest Buck Accounting team can help you increase your profitability and grow your business.