Canyons School District is a public school district located in the southeastern part of Salt Lake County, Utah, USA. It’s one of the largest school districts in the area, serving 34,000 students in 42 schools: 29 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and five traditional high schools. It also offers an alternative high school, as well as educational services for adult students at the state penitentiary. All employees aim to help students graduate college- and career-ready.
Canyons School District was feeling the effects of a nationwide teacher shortage. “The number of people going into education is significantly lower than it once was,” says Stephen Dimond, director of human resources, Canyons School District. “Fifteen years ago, we’d have 800 applicants just for social studies positions. Now we have maybe 30.”
To recruit top talent, Canyons’ recruiters were conducting in-person interviews across the country, as well as at the District office between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to accommodate more people’s schedules.
The District typically hires about 200 educators each year. More than 100 people are involved in the hiring process, from the initial screeners to school principals and directors. They needed a way to consolidate dispersed team communication, and ensure everyone was evaluating candidates based on the same criteria.
Furthermore, Canyons wanted to streamline its hiring process. Recruiters were using multiple software providers, which was costly and disjointed. Oftentimes the software did not work as well as it should.
Canyons now uses VidCruiter to screen applicants for all its K-12 teachers, special education teachers, counselors, school psychologists, social workers, speech language pathologists, as well as its school administrators.
“We issued an RFP, and VidCruiter had by far the strongest platform to do what we needed to do, and it was reasonable in cost,” says Dimond.
Educators seeking employment at the District complete an applicant-friendly, custom-branded online application to kick off the interview process. They’re greeted with an embedded video featuring real teachers explaining what they love about working at Canyons. “The goal is to help people genuinely connect, even at a distance.” says Dimond.
The online application is thorough and includes:
- An uploaded resume/CV
- A copy of the applicant’s teaching or administrative license
- Recorded responses to a set of questions asked via video by members of the District’s recruitment or leadership team. This introduces school administrator candidates to the individuals who they’d be working alongside should they be offered the job, as well as candidates to hiring personnel, helping humanize one-way video interviews.
- A short written response is also used to assess the writing ability of school administrator candidates
The District uses pre-recorded video interviews for their screening, then reviews the videos to identify who advances to the next step. This type of interview provides candidates with total flexibility, eliminating scheduling challenges and empowering people to take the leap and apply.
Canyons’ recruitment team is using structured digital interviews, which means all candidates are asked the same interview questions in the same order. This keeps the hiring process fair. “Our screeners rate each applicant using a pre-established rating rubric. Everyone is evaluated the same way. It’s all based on finding great teachers.”
This modernized, streamlined approach to screening applicants helps Canyons build its talent pipeline for the future: administrative applicants remain in the candidate pool for three years, and licensed school personnel stay in the candidate pool for one year. References are all collected via an automated reference checking system, resulting in even more time savings.
“We absolutely love the system,” says Dimond. “It’s been an incredible tool for us, and VidCruiter’s support has been above and beyond what we ever anticipated. Everything is seamless.”
Dimond was initially nervous about rolling out this new technology. “When we were first introduced to the concept of video recruitment, I thought, ‘This is way outside of our comfort zone.” But adopting the new recruitment process has proven to be easier than he originally thought.
Younger generations are particularly open to video interviewing. “They’re already so comfortable on camera because of social media. And now, teachers who’ve been teaching online are used to being on camera, too.”
“We are also a very technologically-savvy District. Candidates need to be able to demonstrate that competency, and the video interview is the first part of that screening,” explains Dimond. “If they can’t navigate this simple system, then they may not be able to navigate the systems we use here in the District.”
Physical location is no longer a limiting factor for finding top talent. Recruiters don’t have to travel across the country to meet with candidates or work late to accommodate multiple time zones. “We have always recruited nationally. However, with VidCruiter, it has made our search so much more efficient,” says Dimond. “Thirty-eight percent of people we hired last year were from out of state.”
Dimond notes how helpful the automated reference checks are, too. “Adding the automated reference checks has been wonderful. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s so much better for the references themselves. Since some of the references are within our district, we asked them what they thought of the experience, and they all said they found it exceptionally simple.”