Hiring staff members is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. At first, it’s likely that the only staff you’d consider hiring is another teacher. You’ll likely be doing the back-room work of accounting and paperwork yourself, with the help of the systems you set up. Hiring another person can be a great help, but it can also be a large expense.
Go it alone or hire help?
Deciding whether you want to bring someone on is a huge decision. In general, if you have a very small handful of students, you might be able to go it on your own. Once your enrollment numbers increase, bringing on a second teacher becomes a better idea. The good news is that as enrollment increases, so does your revenue. Go back to the financial projections you made as part of your business plan, and play with the numbers. Add in more students (which increases revenue), add another teacher’s salary to your list of expenses. See how many students you would have to enroll before another teacher’s salary becomes a financial option, and then honestly think about how many students you can expect to enroll in the first year.
Finding the right teacher
If you decide to bring on one or more additional teachers, you’ll want to make sure they’re the right fit for your school. That responsibility can be intimidating, so it might help to think of it as a step-by-step process.
- First, you’ll have to attract a pool of candidates. Think about what kind of person you want to hire. Is it someone who’s taught before? Someone who’s homeschooled before? Or would you rather start working with someone who doesn’t have much experience, so you don’t have to worry about habits they’ve formed that don’t support your method? You might also want to consider looking for someone who has a complementary background to yours. Whatever you decide, who you’d like to hire affects where you advertise the position. If you’re looking for a homeschool teacher, reach out to local homeschool groups. If you’d like someone with less experience, see what connections you can make with universities in the area.
- Next, review their applications and resumes. Decide on what information you want to initially collect from each of your candidates. This will probably include a resume. You might also have a few questions you’d like them to answer as part of an application they email to you. Careful not to make this process too difficult, or you might turn some of your best candidates away.
- Once you’ve found a promising candidate, interview them. If there are a lot of candidates or for candidates who don’t live in your area, it might be best to start with a phone interview. Ultimately, though, it’s best to have an in-person interview before you make an offer. As you talk with potential teaching partners, you’re looking for someone who aligns well with your school’s philosophy of education. You’ll want to understand why they’re interested in a school like yours, what type of system they’ve working in before, and why they’re looking for a change. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish, here, as well. This is someone you’ll be working closely with every day. You need to get along with them!
- Make the offer. Based on your business plan and financial projections, know what you’ll be able to offer before you go into the meeting, especially if the candidate asks about benefits. Know how much wiggle room you have in your budget, and don’t be surprised if you need to negotiate a little. If you have decided to run a background check and a drug screen, you can ask for that at this point and make the offer pending acceptable results.
- Sign the papers and celebrate! You’re that much closer to opening your school.
Onboard teachers sooner rather than later
As you move through the process and are getting closer to the opening of the school, you’ll want to onboard any staff you’ve hired. If you’ve established trust with them, and they’ve bought into the vision of what you want your school to be, they can be your most valuable resources as launch day approaches. You’d rather have someone help you bring families and students on board, rather than trying to onboard everyone at once. Your launch day will be here before you know it!