Recruitment can be a tricky beast, whether you’ve done it for years or are just starting out. Most of the time, an experienced Early Years professional can assess a candidate’s suitability to the role pretty easily during an interview, but there’s always that one person you just can’t pin down. To take some of the difficulty out of your recruitment process, we’ve put together a simple checklist of what positive personality traits to look for in a potential new recruit:
Patience is probably the most important aspect of any Early Years practitioner’s personality. Children can test you to the limits of your capacity, and then beyond, so having patience by the bucket-load is invaluable.
In childcare, you know how necessary it is to have all members of a team working to the same capacity. While everyone has an ‘off day’ occasionally, you need to know your employees are giving their all. Otherwise, someone else needs to pick up the slack, and that’s when disgruntlement starts to show.
The best EY workers are always thinking on their feet, ready to find a solution to any issue and adapt to any situation that may arise. You need dynamic thinkers on your team to make sure you don’t fall into the ‘same-old, same-old’ pattern of working.
We all know that any job can get you down sometimes – never mind one where you’re putting your everything into caring for a bunch of, sometimes very unappreciative, Early Years children. With this in mind, positivity is a key personality trait in any new hire. You need people to bring the mood up as much as possible!
You know the feeling – it’s a Friday, you’re frazzled, the weather’s terrible and the children just aren’t cooperating. Being able to stay motivated in times like these is a skill many people don’t have, but a motivated team member could be just what you need to get everyone through to home time!
Early Years is all about relationships; relationships within the team, relationships with the children and relationships with parents/guardians. These can sometimes be difficult to build, so an easy, personable demeanour is a great asset in breaking down those walls and building trust.
Children are never straightforward. Neither are families, for that matter, and sometimes situations require extra time and attention. You need employees that are willing to go the extra mile when needed; completely dedicated to their work and the wellbeing of their EY children.
Having an excellent team member is one thing, but you need to make sure they stay happy and, therefore, stay excellent. Communication between you and your employees is essential for ensuring a happy, harmonious workplace and you need to know that your employees can (and, more importantly, will) raise any issues or concerns.
Parents. They can be appreciative, understanding and helpful or they can be the bane of your life. However, as much as we’d like it, there is no avoiding them. Sometimes all an Early Years practitioner needs is resilience to get through interactions with difficult parents, being able to shake off any unpleasantness easily, so they can carry on with their day as normal.
Between obtaining supplies for activities, preparing snack time, toilet trips and disputes over who had what toy first, it can be tricky to keep up with everything else you need to do (namely paperwork). Organisation and the ability to prioritise is a key skill in an Early Years new recruit.
Working with Early Years can sometimes be an eye-opening experience. You are brought into contact with people from different cultures, financial situations and moral backgrounds and are not always going to agree with the children’s families’ beliefs or actions. But we are not here to judge and, when employing somebody new, make sure an open mind and a non-judgemental attitude are on your ‘essential’ list.
This is in no way a complete list and there are no set rules – experienced recruiters may see the potential for these personality attributes in people not currently showing them or know how to nurture and mould an employee into the best EY practitioner they can be. But when it comes to your next job advert, make sure to use this list to inform your interviewing technique and decision-making process. It might be the key to your next successful hire!