The Department for Education is set to recommend that schools carry out an online search on candidates shortlisted for interview, including checks on their social media.
The DfE is currently consulting on proposed revisions to Keeping Children Safe in Education, the statutory guidance that sets out what schools and colleges should do, and the legal duties with which they must comply, to keep children safe. The new guidance is set to come into effect from September 2022.
But, let’s be honest, a lot of schools will already be running these kinds of checks as part of standard recruitment practice.
So, what is it that recruiters DO and DON’T want to see?
They DO want to see you engaging in EduTwitter
Ever heard of EduTwitter? It’s one of the best resources online for teaching tips, tricks, resources, and advice.
If you follow the right accounts and hashtags, you can pick up a whole load of great new classroom and curriculum insight from education leaders – all for free, of course!
Why not get involved in the discourse, and offer up some of your own tips and resources? Recruiters like to see a teacher who’s actively engaged in their profession (outside of school) and trying to better themselves.
They DON’T want to see your weekend antics
Contrary to what some students might think, teachers have a life outside of school, too! In fact, it’s actively encouraged that teachers go out and have some fun at the weekend – they certainly work hard enough for it.
But, consider what information and pictures you make public. You really don’t want prospective employers – or pupils and their parents for that matter – to see you living your best life at a stag/hen do.
The best thing to do is to adjust your privacy settings, so that personal posts are only viewable by your personal friends.
They DO want to see you tagging your colleagues
Social media is a great way to extend those working relationships. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with tagging your colleagues into something you think they might find interesting or entertaining.
Just be mindful of what exactly it is you’re sharing with them. The recruiter might not have the whole context around what’s been posted, leaving open the possibility of the post being misconstrued.
On your professional accounts, keep things just that: professional.
They DON’T want to see you engaging with pupils
This is the last thing any recruiter wants to see from a candidate. It should go without saying that teachers should not befriend, or socially contact, current pupils on social media. To do so is usually viewed as professional misconduct by the teaching regulators.
Schools will often have policies prohibiting teachers from contacting pupils on social media. The reasons for this should be obvious. Any incident of this nature would be a clear safeguarding concern.
If you’re looking for a way to collaborate with pupils on a school project, there are other, more suitable virtual learning environments dedicated to education.
Give your social media a spring clean
Ahead of applying for your next job, it might be a good idea to give your social media profiles a welcome spring clean – getting rid of anything that could scupper your chances of nailing the position.
Having a social media presence can boost your chances of getting an interview – but only if the recruiter likes what they see!