Connection and Speed

Posted By: Brian White AASPA Blog,

Connection and Speed

Let’s talk about connection and speed. At first glance, you might be thinking about your internet connection and whether or not your latest binge is streaming without interruption. In a teacher and staffing shortage, connection and speed are critical to hiring success. So how can you help your organization, distinct, or school positively impact successful hiring? Season 1 is inspired by a true story.


Candidates have a choice in jobs. They have a choice in employers. They even have a choice in changing professions, perhaps more than any other time in modern history. There are many more opportunities than candidates, and that creates a candidate’s market. This is where speed becomes vital to your recruiting and hiring process. If your application takes too long or is too complex, the candidate will find somewhere else to apply. If you take too long to communicate with a candidate, they may shift interest to another employer. If your overall process takes too long, they will move on. How can you speed up your process to differentiate yourself from other employment opportunities?

Apply for one of your jobs and put yourself in a candidate’s shoes. Is the application easy to understand and complete? How long does it take to complete? Do you really need all the information that is requested, or are you asking for the same information more than once? If you don’t respect a candidate’s time in this market, they will just stop completing the application and go elsewhere. A key metric to help evaluate your performance is application drop-off rate. How many candidates start the process but don’t complete it? At what step in the application process do they drop off? Obviously if you have 100% completion, then you are doing things right!

Ask for information when you need it. Take more of a just-in-time approach. Ask yourself if all the information requested in the initial application is actually used at that time. If not, ask for the additional information as it is needed for progressing through your process. This also helps a candidate to feel as if they are moving forward in a process, achieving success by moving to a next step, and increasing your communication and connection with them. If you ask for too much, they may not have everyone at arm’s reach, and may never return to complete the process. If you say “Congratulations, you’ve made it to the next step in our process and we are excited to continue learning more about you” and then ask for additional information, that will take your hiring process to the next level!


It’s personal right now. If you don’t connect in a way that resonates with a candidate, another school district or industry will. If faced with two equal choices, a candidate will more often than not move forward with the option that they feel more connected to. So how do you improve your connections with candidates?

Communication is key in connecting with a candidate. The most important part of communication is actually doing it. Don’t leave your candidates in a communication black hole after application or during the process. Candidates want acknowledgment that their application has been received, want to understand where they are in the process, what next steps are and when, how long until they hear back, and ultimately they want closure. A good rule of thumb for communication is that no candidate should go more than a week without getting some sort of information or update, even if that communication is that there is no news to share, but that they have not been forgotten!

Candidates are looking for opportunities that connect to their wants, needs, and passions. If you don’t connect on that level with a candidate, then you are no different than any other job posting or opportunity in the candidate’s eyes. It is important to learn more about the candidate and what they are looking for in order to connect them to what you have that matches. Look for opportunities to learn about the candidate during the application process. An excellent technique is to look at their resume and include connected information in your first communication with the candidate. One example to illustrate this concept could be “I noticed that you volunteer at XYC and volunteerism is a huge part of our culture and in supporting our communities. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences when we meet.” You have to admit that sounds a lot better than “Thank you for applying and we’ll be in touch if we’re interested.”

So hopefully you’ve enjoyed Season 1 of the Recruitment binge. Increase your speed and your connection, and chances are there will be a Season 2 renewal.