Our Top 5 Recruitment Tips for Early Years and Childcare in 2023

9th January 2023
Guest blog by Imogen Edmunds, Managing Director of Redwing Solutions

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During these difficult times recruiting and retaining talent is one of the most important HR challenges that a Early Years and Childcare employer faces. Up and down the country Early Years and Childcare employers are having to try harder than ever before to attract talent to join their team.

Whilst there is deep concern about the recruitment crisis, some are winning at recruiting. We can attest to this as we raise new contracts of employment each week!

Here’s our Top 5 Recruitment Tips based upon what they are doing that’s bringing success.

1. Don’t rely on what worked before working now

The Early Years and Childcare employers who are seeing success have thought carefully about where they advertise and where their ideal candidates will be ‘hanging out’. They aren’t afraid to try recruitment ideas they haven’t tried before. They are holding open days (not necessarily all day), they are using TikTok, Instagram Reels, using Facebook advertising, taking stalls at local shows. They are thinking outside of the box and have designed social media posts using Canva.com which is free.

2. Make it easy to apply – not easy to be selected

Make it easy for people to apply, but not for the wrong people to get selected. Those who are winning have printed application forms in reception, they have incentivised work colleagues to recommend others, they have developed relationships with colleges where Early Years is taught. They welcome work experience and placements from students. As they expect candidates will have questions, they have provided the answers to their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on their website’s careers page.

The way to think about it is to consider what research you would do if you were buying a new television. You will most likely have read lots of information about your shortlisted model on the internet and whether it will do what you want. Taking a new role is much bigger than buying a new TV so provide the information and reap the benefits.

3. Always be hiring

If you wait till you have a vacancy you are then working against the clock and may miss out on talent. Much better is to be always hiring. Banners can be sited on your land, on the front of buildings visible to passing members of the public. A3 Posters in reception can advertise that you are keen to hear from interested candidates for the following positions. Ask candidates if you may hold on to their application form, welcome speculative applications. Something we did in the past but seems to have been forgotten since the Data Protection Act was updated in 2018. Those who are successful find an hour a week to work on their recruitment, all year round, not just when they a vacancy.

4. Be innovative. Use Technology

Those who are winning at recruiting are being innovative as to how they interview candidates. They don’t invite candidates for 2 p.m. on a Thursday by letter or email, they invite them to select their own date and time. Even interviewing after work.

They aren’t afraid to use video interviews, allowing candidates to be in control of this booking (i.e. cancel rearrange themselves). There is software called Microsoft Bookings which can send out reminders by text or email to the person who made the booking which is really useful.

5. Make it personal, no stock images

If your recruitment advertising uses stock images of people working with children from the internet there is a very good chance that the candidate will have seen it before. Instead those who are winning have designed recruitment adverts that feature images of their employees (with permission) and if they can they take it one step further. They use video and record their employees talking about what it is really like to work for the employer. In our experience if you ask one of your existing team what they like most about working for you, it won’t be the answer you expect and it will be something that very much resonates with your candidates.

About the Author

Imogen Edmunds is Managing Director of Redwing Solutions that was established in 2004 and specialises in providing HR support to Day Nurseries, Pre-schools and Out of School Clubs across England, Scotland and Wales.  Redwing was shortlisted as HR Consultancy of the Year in 2020 by Personnel Today Magazine.  You will see us at the Childcare & Education Expo in September.

We were privileged to have Imogen Edmunds as a key speaker at the Childcare & Education Virtual Summit 2022 and we look forward to having Redwing Solutions exhibiting at Childcare & Education Expo Midlands on the 22nd & 23rd September 2023.

Why attend Childcare & Education Expo?

Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years & primary sector who are dedicated to improving their practice and their education settings.

Attend educational seminars and panel discussions to credit your CPD

Meet the experts to have your questions answered

Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts

Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops

Network with peers and industry players

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And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues

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