1 Extraordinary Channel to Good Hire
Following the last post, I want to tell you more about a special advantage if you teach part-time. We all know the conventional recruitment channels: job sites, employment agencies, and your network. Though students are also people you know, i.e. making up part of your network, there are a number of reasons why they deserve your serious consideration when you need to hire.
You meet your students a few times
Unless you lead a one-off training session, usually a course has several lessons. This means you will see your students for e.g. 10 lessons. Surely it is not a 1-on-1 scenario, like an interview, but on the other hand, you can screen through in-class interactions, questions and answers at the break, or even informal chat after class. It is easy to narrow down to some students that you think may be suitable to the vacancy you need to fill.
You know their progress
Because what you teach is usually related to your work, knowing how your students are doing in the course means you have a projection of what they can do at work. While all of us are aware that subject matter is not the only thing affecting performance, you feel more confident in determining the skill level of your students through monitoring their progress. It is way better than an interview. Interview is an unfavourable setup to decide whether the candidate has a certain skill (other than social skills), since you just sit in a room with the candidate and talk. A supplementary measure is of course to give him/her a written test, but still the assessment is less effective than looking at someone’s progress in a course.
Communication & character
As mentioned above, you do not recruit a person just based on his/her technical skills. You know students’ communication skills when they talk to you. And more importantly, they do not just talk to you, they talk to each other (hopefully just at appropriate times, e.g. group discussions). Compared to the stiffness often encountered in the interview, more and different interactions are available for you to assess their communication skills. Additionally, you may have a slight impression of their character, and find out some of the personality traits. Such information helps you to judge if any of them will become a good match to your team.
The leading position
Being the teacher and standing in front of the students already poses yourself in a leading position. Students readily accept you to be the supervisor at work. If you want to achieve this, please prepare properly and teach well. Otherwise, when students find it difficult to follow what you say in class, they will relate that to the possible future, when they will not know what you want from their work. The opposite effect takes place.
If you are not hiring when you are teaching, it is fine. Just exchange contact with your students. They will be glad to know that you may find them a job later. Alternatively, you can help your colleagues out if another team is hiring. Your friends may also be in need of a candidate. If your students have relevant skills, why not refer them to your colleagues and friends?
Another benefit is that, after you teach in a college, you are likely to encounter candidates from that college applying to the opening you need to fill. They may have taken another course, or the same course taught by another instructor. Even though you have not taught him/her directly, you will have bit more information about him/her. Clearly every person is a unique individual and should be considered on his/her merits. Even if you think you should avoid stereotyping, at least you have more topics to talk about during the interview due to the common background. Personally I met numerous candidates who studied at colleges I taught. Some of them felt surprised or excited when I told them I taught at where they studied, and that was enjoyable.
(post from my earlier blog in 2017)