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The job application revolution

A recent development in job-seeking technology has revolutionised candidate attraction across all industries, but it is schools who stand to gain the most. 

Every week, nearly 3,000 educators join eteach.com to find their next role in the school sector. The site’s advanced algorithms match them to specific job roles and even more advanced A.I. tailors their experience even further based on their behaviours, to ensure they are served exactly relevant vacancies. 

Nonetheless, what is the biggest definer of how successful a recruitment advert will be?  The type of application form offered. 

School recruitment has undergone a shift for two reasons: (1) the breakthrough in digital application forms and (2) and the increasing cost-effectiveness of online advertising. 

What is a ‘digital’ application form?

Digital application forms are a job application form which displays perfectly on a mobile screen without requirement for the user to move to a program like Word, or download any document. These forms are the sort you might already use when paying for things online.  The beauty of these forms is that if that site is enabled for ‘Fast Apply’ the entire form can be pre-populated with the data on the users’ candidate profile, or even import the information from their choice of social profile, like Linkedin. 

This is a massive benefit for schools because it means they can offer a digital form which can be fully completed instantly in just a few clicks. 

Our surveyed teachers told us that they prioritise applying to schools who have a form they can finish in reasonable time, second only to choosing ones with a career site detailing benefits of working there. 

The national figures back that up – the standard failed completion rate for downloaded job application forms is 60% across all industries.

Our annual candidate survey revealed that in teaching, a downloadable form takes more than 2 hours to finish properly. They are also too long – eTeach data shows that for every 5 questions, an advert receives 15% fewer applications and for every 30 questions, an advert receives 50% fewer applications.

Even if your advert is eye-catching and you’ve correctly used a multi-channel approach to publicise it, with a poor The job application revolutionapplication form, you’ll never hear from them. 

How long typically does it take you to fill in one school application form?

Why now?

The mobile revolution

70% of job seeking activity on eteach.com is via mobile screen now so it’s obvious why schools offering the mobile-optimised adverts and a digital form are receiving typically twice as many applications per advert.

The moment you ask a candidate to move to a PC to complete or download a form, they start to fall away. Some schools are still asking teachers to download and print and post forms! 


Digital forms are much easier for the employer because the data in each field feeds directly into your system. A great many schools got a handle on their data processes last year and (wisely) upgraded to cloud-based Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), instantly giving them the recruiting edge over other schools. As well as countless other advert-writing and reporting tools, the advanced versions of these systems are able to ‘pars’ up CV content directly into your database, or take data directly from a digital application form.  If you’re easy to apply to, the application drop-off rate falls away. 

Add this to the incredible reach of online adverts now that parents and school staff are sharing them so freely, and the combined effect becomes apparent. 

But we don’t have power over our forms

Several LAs have worked directly with eTeach to develop their own form digitally, for the use of their schools. If your LA is restricting you to a sub-standard set of recruitment tools, you need to lobby them to move forward. 

Around a third of our school business managers tell us that they are trapped using the question set and the format of form dictated by their local authorities. These schools are notably disadvantaged compared to neighbouring academies and independent schools who have had more freedom to evolve into modern practices. 

Here are five steps to dramatically increase your flow of inbound applications:

  1. Offer a mobile optimised digital application form – it typically doubles the application rate per advert.
  2. Share your advert on eTeach’s social media and train parents and staff to take responsibility for sharing too – this too typically doubles the audience per advert.
  3. Feature the benefits of working for the school first on the advert and signpost clearly to the career page/site. 
  4. Respond immediately and personally to individual applications. If you wait for 3 weeks then responding to everyone, you lose the best ones to competitors.  
  5. Only use very knowledgeable school advocates for the tour, preferably the Head or Deputy. Remember, you’re competing for them so ‘impress while you assess’.

Why digital forms increase the quality of your staff overall. 

The real gem when introducing digital forms is how easy it suddenly becomes for talented teachers and school staff to approach you even when you have no current vacancies. 

Experienced teachers or those currently working may be ‘passive’ in their job-seeking, but if you can invite local professionals to apply to you year round, and make it easy for them to do so, you can start collecting an incredible waiting list of future staff, all waiting to hear from you when a vacancy does arise. 

No one already happy at work will spend over two hours filling in a form for your school if they don’t need to. They will, however, notice your great brand mentioned on social media, or seek you out themselves as they look for local career progression, and drop you a line if it is easy. If they can register their interest with you to join your Talent Pool in a few minutes, you could find yourself with a pool of great people to call when that next maths teacher vacancy pops up. Imagine what that would save you in agency fees. It is this ‘proactive year-round’ recruitment strategy that has cause so many eTeach schools to halve their total recruitment costs in their first year. 

Put simply, be the school that’s easy to apply to. 

The eTeach annual licence to advertise comes with the industry’s most advanced Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which includes digital forms, your own bespoke career site, Talent Pooling functions and mobile-optimised adverts

 as standard (unlike some of our competitors). The total cost is shockingly low compared to our competitors.  

To find out more about how eTeach can help connect with more teaching talent while cutting your annual recruitment costs significantly, why not have a chat with one of us today

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