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Halve recruitment time for sessional educators

By David Bowser 14th February 2018
Higher education has undergone significant transformation over the last three decades, including changes in the number and composition of higher education academic staff. Between 1989 and 2013, sessional academic staff in particular increased by 16% and in 2013 accounted for 56% of the full-time equivalent academic workforce. With this fast-paced transformation still occurring, it is vital to ensure recruitment strategies for sessional educators are efficient and effective in hiring quality educators. Below, we share our experience in recruiting passionate educators.

Clear job posts and detailed requirements
Given the nature of casual work, there is an abundance of applicants that flood through annual expressions of interest and job listings. Although these generate attention, those recruiting find it time-consuming and inefficient to sift through applications to find that one golden nugget! In our experience, writing a succinct job description, inclusive of key criteria, sets expectations of the role from the beginning. 

Ask the ‘right’ questions early in the process
People who recruit for a living know it is important to ask the right questions to find the right people. For sessional educators, this is especially crucial early in the process. Start the interview process with behaviour, passion and personality related questions as those are the most difficult to develop on the job. Finding passionate educators early in the recruitment process will significantly contribute to student learning outcomes that are appropriate for the program—not just in terms of their qualifications—are hired. 

Maintain a talent pool
Despite posting perfect job ads and asking the right questions, educators can be difficult to source at the moment of need. In higher education, institutions often resort to postgraduate students to fill casual positions, but this is not always best for student experience. As such, it is important to maintain a talent pool of educators that can be drawn upon as required. By building a talent pool of potential educators with notes and reviews on each, you can drastically cut down on time spent on recruitment in the future.  

Sessional educators will continue to be an important part of delivering great student learning experiences. Therefore, it is important to ensure recruitment and employment practices are efficient in identifying the best educator for the program. 

Sessions (, developed by education advisory and technology start-up Curio (, is a searchable market of casual academic and educator talent created specifically for universities, TAFE institutions and private providers. Sessions is the only platform for sessional educators in Australia and allows recruiters to search for academics using specific recruitment criteria; add academics to their talent management ‘pools’ and; contact the applicants easily and quickly. 

To learn more about how Sessions can help, click here
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