Navigating New Beginnings: Recruiting, Interviewing and Inducting Staff in Schools

Has a resignation (or two!) recently landed on your desk? Is your school expanding, offering a variety of enticing new positions? Perhaps restructuring has created new roles and opened fresh opportunities? Regardless of the circumstances, the task of recruiting and finding the perfect candidate to fill vacancies can seem overwhelming.

So let's break it down so the school recruitment process is a little easier to navigate.

Where do I begin when recruiting for a school vacancy? 

When it comes to recruitment, there are a lot of factors to consider to ensure compliance with the necessary pre-employment and safeguarding checks.

When beginning the recruitment process, you may find it helpful to create a recruitment timeline outlining the key milestones and activities involved in the appointment of a new staff member.

A typical recruitment timeline may include the following stages:

  • Job advert creation
  • Job advertisement period
  • Application deadline
  • Application screening
  • Shortlisting
  • Pre-interview and reference checks
  • Interviews
  • Reference checks (if not sought before interview) and background verification
  • Decision and offer
  • Induction

We advise working backwards from the date you will need the successful candidate to start in the new role so you have adequate time to complete all of the tasks involved.

You'll also need to work with the recruitment team to:

  • Select who will be involved in the interview and recruitment process
  • Create an application package that includes:

    • Job role description
    • Person specification
    • Application form
    • Links to policies referenced
    • Safer recruitment processes and procedures
    • Clear deadline and return information
  • Decide where to advertise the position and organise advertisement

It's a lot to work through, isn't it? 🤔


To help you navigate all there is to do in preparation, this comprehensive guidance pack with accompanying templates will support you to plan and prepare the entire recruitment process for any role in a school setting, from shortlisting and interviewing, to pre-employment and appointment. Explore how to design your recruitment timeline, consider what to include in the job description and person specification for the role, and more!  

What interview questions should I use? 

The interview questions you select will vary depending on the role and requirements as outlined in the job description and person specification. You’ll likely want to tailor the questions and make them unique to represent your setting, school culture and ethos, and expectations for the role.

We have a large selection of interview packs including role-specific interview questions available. Some of the roles are included below. You can explore the full range here.



Some top tips when considering creating your own interview questions include:

  • Incorporating a variety of question types to assess different aspects of a candidate’s suitability.
  • Identifying the core competencies necessary for success in the role and using this to develop questions that target those specific areas.
  • Ensuring questions are free from any bias or discriminatory language. Questions should be fair, respectful and related to the job requirements.
  • Crafting questions that align with the values and culture of your setting.
  • Utilising starter questions to demonstrate a genuine interest in the candidate’s individual qualifications, such as asking them to share a little bit about their experience or previous role. This allows them to provide relevant examples.
  • Phrasing questions in a clear and concise manner to avoid confusion. Avoid complex or overly technical language that may hinder a candidate’s understanding.
  • Including questions that assess a candidate’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Present them with real-world scenarios or challenges relevant to the job and ask them to articulate their thought process in finding solutions.
  • Asking open-ended questions that prompt candidates to provide detailed responses. This allows you to gain deeper insights into their experiences, thought processes and problem-solving abilities.
  • Using a consistent set of questions for all candidates to ensure fair and objective evaluations. This allows for easier comparison and helps maintain consistency throughout the interview process

How can I decide which interview task is best to use? 

When selecting an interview task for a position, it’s important to consider the qualities and skills required for the role. Review the candidate’s application materials to identify relevant experiences and achievements and create a task that simulates real-life situations a staff member in this role might face, tailored to your school’s specific needs. Choose a format that allows the candidate to showcase their abilities effectively, such as a written response, presentation or role-playing exercise, and assess their problem-solving skills, strategic thinking and communication style through how they respond to the task.

We have a range of role-specific interview tasks available in our recruitment and interview packs here.

How can I effectively plan new staff induction? 

Once you've successfully appointed a new member of staff to your team, you'll want to move your focus to effectively and efficiently inducting them.

Staff induction is crucial for several reasons, including:

  • Aiding a smooth transition and reducing the stress or uncertainty often associated with starting a new role.
  • Enabling the new staff member to understand their responsibility and role expectations from the beginning.
  • Fostering a sense of belonging for the new staff member, feeling welcomed and supported from the start.
  • Understanding the school’s vision, goals and ways of working.
  • Building relationships with new colleagues.
  • Ensuring necessary training and information is shared appropriately.


There's a lot to consider when designing your induction programme and we've created a Staff Induction Pack with this in mind. You'll explore how to design your induction programme, consider what to include in your induction policy and handbook, and the benefits of being mindful to the needs of existing and new staff members during integration into the team. We’ve also included some elements to consider when appointing an induction co-ordinator and what the role will entail. 


In addition, you'll want to demonstrate commitment to their ongoing professional and career development. Our skills audits are a great starting point to open up discussions about the future.



Once the process is complete, you can enjoy developing your team and build upon this work the next time a recruitment window comes around in your setting.

Wishing you and your new team every success!

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