Recruitment• 3 Min read

10th June 2020

What To Look For When Hiring Graduates

When looking at recruiting, there are hundreds of qualities that make a great teacher, and you’ll be familiar with what sort of personality works well with your current faculty, but do you know what to look for when hiring graduates?

For our partner schools, we manage a lot of the process of recruiting graduates through our Teacher Training Programme, but we can’t make the decision on who would be right to teach within your organisation. That knowledge is best gained through interviewing and we can help to arrange both remote and in-person interviews with applicants that have been through our unique application and assessment process.

We’ve put together a list of some of the things to look out for during your graduate hiring process, whether you work alongside Engage or manage the process directly, we hope these pointers will be of use.


One of the first things that most schools consider when looking at teacher training applicants is their degree classification. As a deputy head at one of our partner schools recently stated; “a 1st/2:1 is great, but we do appreciate that everyone has had different educational journeys and don’t believe that a degree grade fully defines someone’s intelligence and subject knowledge”. This is why we look at applications and CVs with a more rounded approach and accept strong applicants who have 2:2 classifications alongside strong experience in industry or in schools.

We pre-qualify all applicants who want to join Engage’s Teacher Training programme before presenting them to our partner schools. Our consultants spend time getting to know exactly what our schools are looking for to fill their staffing needs so we are able to make great matches!


Many applicants coming through our graduate program will already have academic experience of the subject that they want to teach.  Applicants with experience, either academic or professional, perhaps if they are changing careers, are invaluable to most schools, in particular in STEM subjects. With schools that have a particular academic focus, experience in this subject may also be beneficial – when interviewing, try to draw out an applicants true passion for a subject with scenario-based questions. People become more animated when they talk about things they have a passion for, so watch body language closely and prepare questions that give them a chance to talk for a while.


It’s expected that all teachers would have a good degree of literacy, spelling and grammatical accuracy in their writing and speech. Passing these traits down to children in the process of learning how to use language correctly is a vital part of the curriculum so we expect all teachers to have a good level of both verbal and written English. Working with Engage means access to a high calibre of applicants that have already been through our assessment process. As well as telephone interviews and assessment days, applicants also complete a written essay before we look to place them in a school.


As with any recruitment process, what the applicant does with their spare time is useful to know to help build a full picture of an individual. Having several other interests outside their chosen subject is a real bonus, teachers who actively participate in activities outside of the school can bring a more rounded education and promote a varied lifestyle to impressionable children. Softs skills learnt from hobbies and sports, including leadership, being a team player and self-motivation are vital skills in the classroom. We can help you get to know applicants better – promising applicants to our Teacher Training Programme are invited to an assessment day, where they take part in group tasks and face-to-face interviews.


Other than the academic qualifications, requirements for new graduate teachers will vary from school to school. Communication skills, ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and creativity are often ranked among essential soft skills for teachers and others working within schools.  Anyone responsible for recruitment within an organisation knows that applications forms and CV’s can’t always put these skills (or lack of!) across. There’s no substitute for having a face-to-face conversation, whether that be remotely or in person.  Many of our partner schools know exactly what they are looking for when it comes to recruiting teachers and they utilise our services to narrow down the field of applicants and perform the initial eligibility checks so they can focus their recruitment time on getting to know applicants through remote or direct interviews.

To book a consultation with one of our expert team, please visit our registration page here , where you’ll also find more information on Engage’s Teacher Training Programme.

Work With Us To Make Impactful Grad Hires

Our innovative Teacher Training programme supports both schools and graduates through qualifying to teach. Book a chat with the team to find out more:


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