Unleashing the Power of Storytelling in Teacher Recruitment

Picture of Kerra Seay

The power of storytelling is a recognizable tool in the marketer’s arsenal, one that can be wielded to great effect in a number of beneficial ways. While its potential in student recruitment is well-established among international school marketers, its power extends far beyond that, including the recruitment of highly sought-after expat teachers for the purpose of teacher recruitment. 

The challenges in international school teacher recruitment have reached new heights in recent times, with the shifts in our global political landscape and unique regional challenges. In this environment, faculty recruiters and HR teams find themselves at the forefront of the fray, grappling with the responsibility of finding exceptional talent worldwide. This quest not only involves finding teachers who resonate with the school’s mission and values but also ensuring the school fulfills the promises made to families and the wider community. 

Now for the big question: How can international school recruiters harness the power of storytelling in teacher recruitment to bolster their teacher recruitment efforts? Fear not, for here are six steps to guide you along the path toward using storytelling in this ever-evolving and fiercely competitive market. 

Understanding Your Target Audience 

Before dazzling readers with beautiful, useful, and generous content, one must establish and understand the intended audience. In marketing, this is accomplished by developing a persona - a fictional, generalized character that encompasses your customers' needs, goals, and behaviour patterns.

A too broad and generic message risks losing its relevance and impact. It is essential to recognize that different teacher personas have distinct needs, wants, and behaviours, from an inexperienced expat teacher to a seasoned veteran teacher. By identifying the unique attributes of your school’s priority personas, you can craft content that speaks directly to their questions and concerns and ultimately recruit the best teachers for your school. 

Effective persona development for teacher recruitment involves research, data, and direct interactions with HR teams and faculty members who embody your persona.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to harness the power of storytelling in teacher recruitment efforts, crafting compelling stories that speak directly to the needs and aspirations of your target audience. 

The Basics of Storytelling in Teacher Recruitment

What does it take to write an engaging story? With an overwhelming amount of content out there fighting to occupy the brain space of prospective teachers for whom we seek to communicate, how does one write stories that people actually want to read? 

Weaving facts, messaging, and narrative, an engaging story hooks readers in with a powerful headline and, through beautiful, useful, generous, and human content, invites the reader to stick around to read the entirety of your story - and leaves them wanting more.


Minimal Writing Experience? Fear Not!

Whether you are an experienced copywriter or have been thrust into the role, some simple strategies can make the writing process easier and more efficient, even for the uninitiated. 

Here are six quick tips for writing powerful stories for the purposes of teacher recruitment:

  • Use quotes sparingly but strategically: A great quote can effectively condense complex concepts into an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Cushion your quotes: Use an introductory sentence explaining why the following quote is important and relevant to the reader, or the quote may feel disconnected and out of place, like a jump cut in a movie. 
  • Break up large blocks of text with smaller paragraphs: No one wants to read a giant text block. Keep your thoughts short and concise, or you’ll lose your readers' attention.
  • Utilize subheadings to build a natural framework and flow for your story: Is the story you are telling sequential? If you are writing a story about a faculty member’s journey from their home country to your school, plan it out so that follows the story in a natural progression; jumping around too much can leave readers confused and disjointed.
  • Don’t feel pressured to include every detail: A great story can be bogged down by extraneous detail or take a direction that doesn’t align with the strategic goals this content was intended to fulfill. If one of your sources gets lost in a ramble about the challenges of bringing their cat overseas with them, for example, there is a strategic component to sharing that experience without it taking up half your blog post. Keep it simple. 

So you’ve written your first blog post - congratulations! But now you see that no one is reading it. Click here to discover IMPACT’s Essential SEO Tips for Writing Blog Posts.


Using Storytelling to Showcase Your School and Brand DNA

Incorporating storytelling into your teacher recruitment strategy is a powerful way to authentically communicate your school's message. It opens the doors to creating beautiful content that conveys your brand DNA; stories share a genuine experience of what it might be like to teach at your school and be a part of the school community. 

Defining the school’s brand clearly and using strategic, persona-driven content attracts the best-fit prospects to your school and helps to avoid potential misalignment with the school’s mission and values. By spreading the school’s brand DNA through targeted content for teacher recruitment, it’s possible to connect with those who seek your message and establish a stronger reputation for the school.


Telling the Stories of Your Teachers

With a focus on teacher recruitment for international schools, your best stories will come from your existing pool of teachers and staff. With their unique backgrounds and experiences, taking the time to have a conversation with them and share their stories can attract more like-minded candidates and positively impact your school’s teacher recruitment efforts. 

Asking the Right Questions

A story is only as good as its source material. When conducting interviews with teachers to gather source material for stories, it’s important to ask open-ended and emotion-based questions instead of practical ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no. By doing so, you’ll be able to elicit richer and more engaging responses that will help you develop compelling, engaging, and relatable stories. This approach helps to establish a connection between prospective teachers and your school, leveraging the power of storytelling to attract the best candidates for your teacher recruitment efforts. 

Ideas for blog posts and stories for teacher recruitment

To kickstart your teacher recruitment storytelling efforts, here are some story ideas to spark your creativity and get the ideas flowing:

  • A “Day in the Life Of” series, particularly if you can extend it across divisions
  • Profiles and faculty features
  • Professional development opportunities current staff have participated in
  • Teaching couples, how they met, the life they have built in their new home together
  • Full circle: have any alumni returned to your school in a faculty or administrative role? Sources like this are highly valuable in their storytelling potential - who doesn’t love a throwback photo?
  • Faculty innovations, on or off-campus
  • Mentorship opportunities

Storytelling for the purpose of teacher recruitment is as fun and creative as you want it to be. Get to know the interesting characters on campus and start writing!

Crafting Story-Based Job Postings

It is not a secret that job-hunting can be a laborious and exhaustive process; if you are on an HR team, you know this truth intimately. Adding storytelling to your job postings can make them stand out and have a lasting impression on prospective candidates. 

Consider your job posting one of the first digital touchpoints a prospective hire might have with your school. What message do you want them to take away from it? Of course, practical things need to be communicated in a job posting, but what will differentiate your job posting from competitors? You know the answer already; it’s storytelling. 

  • Outline some of the benefits new faculty experience once joining the community. 
  • Highlight professional development or mentorship opportunities.
  • Get creative - candidates have come to expect bland, straight-to-the-point job postings. Highlight your creativity and spirit as a unique place to work, learn, and grow. 

Measuring the Impact of Storytelling

When it comes to utilizing storytelling in teacher recruitment, it’s essential to track the success of your campaign and the impact each individual piece of content plays in the overall strategy. The power of storytelling does not come from creating a large mass of content but rather from creating strategic content to fulfill a specific goal, and you can’t know the success of a campaign without tracking its performance. 

Depending on the resources available at your school, you may already have access to blog publishing software like Hubspot, WordPress, Finalsite, etc. Utilizing software like this can help you easily track the clicks, views, and other performance metrics from one dashboard. 

If your school does not have access to this kind of software, there are other manual processes you can use to track the success of your teacher recruitment campaign:

  1. Set up tracking links: Using a unique tracking link for each piece of content, you can track the number of clicks and views each piece generates. Google’s Campaign URL Builder is a free tool you can use. 

  2. Google Analytics: GA4 is a free tool that tracks website traffic and user behaviour. You’ll be able to track the number of visitors, how they found your site, and how they engage with your content.

  3. Social Media Analytics: Most social media platforms have built-in analytics tools to help you track the performance of your posts. You can use these tools to track likes, comments, shares, and clicks that each post generates. 

Using Data to Refine Strategy

Analyzing data and performance metrics can be valuable in informing future content strategies and making data-driven decisions for teacher recruitment. It highlights what type of content resonates with your audience, the most effective distribution channels, and how to optimize content for maximum impact. Once your content has been live for a few weeks, there are many opportunities to analyze the data and review the most successful content. 

By using data to inform your storytelling strategy, you can continually improve and refine your approach, leading to more effective teacher recruitment efforts and a stronger, best-fit applicant pool. It’s an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation to ensure you’re reaching and engaging with the right people in the right way. 

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in Teacher Recruitment

With these six steps in mind, your team is equipped to leverage the power of storytelling in teacher recruitment. 

See the results of storytelling in action!

Discover how IMPACT helped one school incorporate content into their faculty recruitment strategy.

Download the Case Study


Kerra Seay

Kerra is an incredibly talented writer who fearlessly pursues her passions wherever they may lead. With a degree from Carleton University's School of Journalism, she has honed her skills in investigative reporting, creative writing, and strategic communication. Kerra joined IMPACT as a freelance writer and quickly rose through the ranks, serving as a Lead Content Writer and later as the Manager of Content Strategy. Now, in her current role as a School IMPACT Consultant, she brings her expertise to help schools achieve their goals, reveling in developing creative solutions. As a military spouse, Kerra understands the challenges faced by the expat community and the courage required to embrace change and adapt to new environments. When she's not writing, you'll find Kerra exploring her neighborhood with her dog, Finnegan, hanging out with her cats Max and Oscar, or indulging in her love for horror movies with her husband.