Recruitment and Selection

Implementation Checklist

  • Delineate clear responsibilities for tutors based on your Value Proposition and Model Design
  • Articulate the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary for tutors to be effective and successful in their role
  • Distinguish between what you will select for and what you will train for and have a clear rationale for your choice
  • Establish clear eligibility criteria based on your value proposition and model design
  • Design an application process to evaluate eligibility criteria and ensure a diverse set of tutors
  • Establish an intentional recruitment strategy for recruiting a diverse set of tutors with the necessary skills

Implementation Tools

(Click on the links below or visit the pages on the lefthand navigation for more information.)

Tutor Job Description Guidance Tutor Recruitment Strategy Tutor Selection Strategy

Key Insights

Proactively develop a recruitment strategy. It will save you time and serve as a roadmap for recruiting tutors.

  • Your plan should cover how you will recruit potential tutor candidates and who is best positioned on your team to reach out to them.
  • Determine multiple application deadlines and set benchmarks for how many applications you’d like to receive at each deadline.

Regardless of how selective a program’s recruitment is, every program should clearly define the essential tutor qualities that it is seeking. These desired qualities depend on:

  • The community served: Community-specific competencies (like bilingualism or familiarity with learning differences) are crucial to a program’s success serving its chosen community.
  • The value proposition: Depending on the niche a program aims to fill, some qualities may be more important than others. For instance, a program whose value proposition is its exceptional academic rigor compared to other programs in the community would need to place a higher emphasis on recruiting tutors who will hold students to high expectations.
  • The training provided: Programs should carefully consider what they will select for versus what they will train for. Some programs select tutors with relationship-building soft skills, then provide training around both content knowledge and pedagogy. Others select tutors with teacher training and content proficiency, narrowing their applicant pool but reducing the need for training.

Make your expectations clear upfront to prevent problems with tutor retention.

  • Prospective tutors need a clear understanding of the program’s expectations and the training it provides right from the start (i.e. during the recruitment and selection process) so that they know what to expect and can prepare appropriately. Programs have struggled to retain tutors when they fail to communicate concrete expectations for tutors until after tutor onboarding.

If you plan to scale up significantly, consider the requirements that are most necessary.

  • The more selective the recruitment process, the harder it will be to recruit enough tutors in a short timeframe, so consider your plans to scale up the program when developing a recruitment and selection strategy. While some requirements are necessary, others may not be; the important thing is to establish which ones are which in a principled way.

It is important to have a cohort of tutors that reflects the diversity of the students being supported. Without a diverse candidate pool, a program cannot recruit a diverse cohort of tutors. To attract a diverse candidate pool:

  • Be explicit about your program’s prioritization of hiring tutors that reflect the diversity of their students: Potential candidates may not assume that this is important to your program. Make it clear on your website and in promotional materials that this is a priority and why.
  • Make the application process accessible: The application tasks might be challenging to complete, but the directions should be easy to understand. The application itself should live on one platform, and completing it should not require too many steps. A convoluted application with confusing directions discourages qualified applicants from getting started.
  • Get input from stakeholder communities on where and how to recruit: Students, parents, schools, and current tutors can be resources for tapping into pools of potential tutors. Some programs involve members of these stakeholder groups in their recruitment process (e.g. by having prospective tutors lead model sessions under interviewer supervision, then soliciting student feedback).

Recruit more tutors than you think you need.

  • Some tutors will miss scheduled sessions. Some tutors will consistently fall short of the program’s expectations (e.g., showing up on time) and may need to be let go. Some tutors may leave the role for their own reasons. Dropoff is normal; plan for it ahead of time by “over-recruiting” at the outset.
  • Consider creating a “wait list.” If you’ve reached your recruitment goals, use your last application deadline to create a pool of tutors that sit on a wait list. Write an offer letter with adjusted language and be transparent about when they can expect you to reach out with an update.