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7 steps to (successfully) hire the right teachers for your studio

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

The right mix of teachers is vital for the success of your studio but all too often studio owners end up hiring out of desperation. Here's how you can ensure you find the right fit - every. single. time.

Setting your studio up for success includes getting the right team on board.

Teachers and staff who are on board with your goals, have the right experience, are team players, continue to educate themselves, align with your studio values and can create valuable and genuine relationships with your students and their families.

But where do we find these unicorns? Too often, studio owners end up 'making do' and happy just to have someone standing in front of the class. But there are ways to make sure you're attracting the very best candidates out there!

1. Advertise with attitude

Creating compelling and thorough advertisements for your studio will really help you attract the candidates that are best-suited to your role. Your job ads don't have to be lengthy but should be imbued with your studio culture. Start by outlining your studio mission and then describe the role and how it fits in to the big picture.

Eg. [Studio name] and our team of fully qualified staff are committed to creating a safe and nurturing environment where students are encouraged to work hard and develop a love of the performing arts. We believe that dance training encourages young people to develop a positive self- image. Dance classes give children the freedom to express themselves through movement whilst learning valuable lessons about respect, commitment, discipline and team work.

We are looking to expand our teaching team at our studio in [studio location] to include a teacher for [style] classes. In this role you will be responsible for planning and teaching [number of classes] classes per week for students aged 7-18. We seek an experienced, inspiring and reliable teacher to take full ownership of these classes including choreography for end-of-year performances and assisting with exam preparation.

The ad should then move on to outline (in dot points) any qualities and qualifications (both formal and informal) you're looking for.

The more you can personalise this initial document with what you are specifically looking for and the skills, attitudes and work ethic they will require, the more likely you will be to find the perfect match.

Finish with listing details such as the hours of work, remuneration, start date and a link where they can apply.

2. Cast your net wide

Think outside the box when advertising positions at your studio. Don't just rely on Facebook groups (although they can definitely provide some great candidates) but also try traditional employment sites, posting to your own studio's social media accounts, sending out to your mailing list and getting in touch with syllabus associations and asking them to forward your job ad to their database. Basically you want to cast your net as wide as possible - even if you think it won't result in any leads, you never know who might wind up seeing your ad.

3. Create a killer application form

A headshot and resume should never be enough to hire a dance teacher. In fact, if a potential teacher sends you a dance resume in response to a teaching job, it only serves to show they don't fully understand what you're looking for.

What you're really looking for is someone who has connected with the role and one of the best ways to determine that is to get applicants to complete an application form. Create one using a tool such as Google Forms or JotForm and, instead of asking about their experience, try value-based questions that might give you a little more insight into their character and suitability to your studio.

I love questions such as:

  • List 3 ways you have cultivated a sense of community within your work life in the past.

  • Provide an example of when you went above and beyond to put a smile on someone’s face. What was the situation and how did you impress them?

4. Intentional interviewing

Once you've short-listed candidates it's time to set up an interview! Prepare questions in advance and use in-person chats to 'get a feel' for if the candidate will be a good cultural fit at your studio. Some recommended quetsions are:

  • Why are you interested in joining our team?

  • What styles and ages do you most enjoy teaching and why?

  • Are you currently teaching anywhere else?

  • What is your favorite part about teaching dance?

  • Least favorite?

  • What are your weaknesses when it comes to teaching?

  • Strengths? What are your long term goals? What are you looking for in a dance studio? Do you have any questions for me?

5. Watch them in action

It might not always be possible but where you can, invite your preferred candidate in to teach a casual workshop/class at your studio. Watch how they interact with your students and other teachers, how they present themselves and the content of the class.

6. Put it in writing

Having formal agreements in place with your admin and teaching teams is absolutely vital. Whether you've employed them 'on staff' or as a casual or contractor, make sure you provide a well-written contract for your new hire to sign before they start work.

Make sure that your contract clearly communicates the vision and culture of your studio. You work hard to create a place with just the right vibe. Not all newcomers are going to get that. You must spell it out for them. Talk to new hires about what your studio families expect, what you expect, and what your students expect, and be sure to write it in your contract.

Compensation details should be clearly laid out. Will your instructor be an employee or a subcontractor How much will they be paid? When will they be paid? By what method will they be paid?

Your contract should also give both parties a peaceful way out if things don’t work. How much notice will you require if they wish to terminate their time as an instructor at your studio? What will happen if they don’t give you the amount of notice that you have requested.

Need to overhaul your team contracts? Check out our comprehensive four-page Teacher Agreement that can be easily customised to suit your studio.

7. Don't forget the onboarding

A thorough onboarding system is absolutely essential when welcoming new team members to your studio. This will give you the opportunity to set your expectations when it comes to how early you expect your teachers to arrive before a class, how they take attendance and the actual material that you expect them to teach.

Your onboarding system should also clearly lay out how you will communicate with staff and how you expect them to communicate with you. Do you have a schedule of meetings that will be mandatory for them to attend?

A team handbook is a great solution for effective onboarding as is a comprehensive email sequence that can be drip-fed to new hires over a period of weeks after they join your studio.

Want to hear more about the importance of onboarding? Listen to this fab episode of At The Barre with Jane Grech.

Need some help onboarding new team members to your studio? We've created a The Ultimate Team Bundle for your studio that includes everything you need when welcoming new staff. It includes a team agreement template, 'done for you' team handbook, a 12-email onboarding sequence, a 'getting to know you' onboarding form, three team review meeting agendas PLUS 3 VIDEO TRAININGS. Click here to find out more and get yours today.


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