Creating Wow Experience Interviewing

Attract talented teachers from the very beginning of the recruitment process.

Does your process for hiring new teachers make a good impression on candidates? Are they getting a good sense of what they can expect from you if they were to become an employee with your company?

It’s easy for directors and administrators to forget that the candidate is interviewing the center as much as the interviewer is evaluating the teacher. The candidate is observing how organized the process is, what the atmosphere in the main office is like, if they are greeted properly, and interactions throughout the recruitment process. Is an Amazing Culture obvious for new recruits?

Having a process for hiring is just as important as your onboarding. In fact, your onboarding process begins all the way at the job description. Is your childcare business recruiting top talent from the very start of the inquiry for the position?

Planning the Interview

Here are some tips for making sure your recruiting and interviewing process shine a positive light on your centers.

  • Prior to inviting anyone to an interview, have you identified critical knowledge, skills, and abilities the candidate must possess in order to be successful? Only invite candidates who would succeed if hired.
  • Select key team members to be part of the interview process.
  • Establish consistent interview questions based on skills for the job, past experience and education, and key behavioral qualities that identify traits of a successful candidate. Review these questions with all interviewers ahead of time.
  • Coach interviewers on appropriate responses and behaviors during and after the interview.

Conducting the Interview

  • Plan to conduct the interview in a quiet space with no distractions.
  • Upon arrival, provide the candidate with a brief overview of the process.
  • Take notes, ask questions, and listen attentively. Consider using an interview assessment form for all interviewers.
  • End the interview with how long the decision making process may take and avoid making promises for future interviews or offers.
  • Collect candidate interview assessment forms or notes from all interviewers and compare.
  • Make sure pre-employment assessments are legally compliant with the factors of the job.
  • Schedule second interviews or pre-employment assessments.

As you are interviewing for teachers, interaction in the classroom becomes important—and that can’t be determined solely through a conversation. It is good practice in the childcare and early learning industry to allow for classroom observation as a part of the recruitment process.

This stage should be saved for the top candidates as a way of validating your initial thought to hire the candidate. Tell your teachers in advance that they will have a new hire prospect in their classroom and give the lead teacher an observation log. At the end of the process, collect and review the completed observation log. Take a moment to ask the teacher if she felt the potential new hire was a culture fit.

Arrange for an interview with one of your other locations if possible. If all of your locations are aligned, this step should also validate your instinct to hire this teacher.

Making an Offer to a Teacher

Should you want to hire a candidate at the end of this process, do not stumble with the job offer. Just because you have decided on her does not mean that she has made a decision about working for your childcare business.

  • After conducting all of the steps, review the application for references, salary, and hire date information. Call references if you have not done so already.
  • Finalize the details of the job offer, including salary or wage rate, how many hours each week, and job title. Make a verbal job offer to successful candidate. Do not email the candidate with the offer—this moment deserves a phone call.
  • Follow up the verbal offer with a written job offer and include the following:
    • At-will statement
    • Possible start date (contingent upon successful background, drug, and other applicable screenings for the childcare industry)
    • Work location and supervisor information
    • Schedule, if known

After the Offer

  • Once you receive the written acceptance of the offer, send the teacher background and drug screen authorization paperwork.
  • Review unacceptable results with legal counsel if adverse action is legal and appropriate. Restart the process with the next finalist.
  • If all screens are acceptable, contact the candidate to confirm the start date and the new hire orientation time and location. Assign a mentor and notify the candidate.
  • Contact all remaining finalist candidates to notify them the position has been filled. You will also keep their information on file. Having a go-to list of teachers you have already put through the process is a great idea.

This may seem like a lot to do for hiring a new teacher, but when you are trying to attract top talent in your community, it is worth it. Potential teachers will be happy to wait for a chance to work for your center when positions open up.

Over time, if you repeat this process for every teacher candidate across all of your locations, your company will earn a reputation for being the premiere childcare business to work for.

And when the teachers in your community want to work for you—parents will want to send their children to you as well!


Bivette Stodghill is the Learning Coordinator at Inspire! Care 360. Biv spearheads the development of curriculum, career paths and online learning environment. Overseeing the IC360 Online Learning Management System, Biv delivers efficient training opportunities in early education, customer service, human resources, operations, and labor issues.