how to find the best early childhood educators

How to Find the Best Early Childhood Educator Job Candidates

The following is an excerpt from The Complete Guide to Finding & Retaining Early Childhood Educators. Click here to download the full eBook.

To hire the best early childhood educators, you need to make sure that your opportunity is discoverable in the right place at the right time.

Creating a Job Posting

A well-written job posting is one of the best gatekeepers you can have during the hiring process. Done correctly, it will encourage only qualified candidates to apply; done poorly, you will have to sort through a larger mix of candidates — or worse, those best-suited for the job won’t apply for it.

Ask for a cover letter. Experience is great, but you should also hire for passion and potential. A cover letter allows candidates to explain why they think they will excel in this role. For those who do not include one, this will also be an easy way to screen for those who don’t follow instructions well or only want to do the bare minimum, which are definitely not qualities to look for in potential new hires.

When writing your job posting, don’t feel like you need to make it overly formal. Try to make the tone reflect your company culture. If you have a fun and light-hearted environment, have that reflected in the job posting so you attract like-minded individuals.

Qualifications & Skills to Look For

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or related field
  • CPR training
  • Knowledge of early learning philosophies/frameworks
  • Patience
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • People skills
  • Passion for children & early learning
  • Observation & documentation
  • Flexibility
  • Dedication/loyalty
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Judgment & decision-making
  • Understanding diversity

Leveraging Your Network

Networking isn’t just handing out business cards at a conference. All of your daily interactions with other people are a form of relationship-building and can be useful for hiring.

If you don’t already know of potential candidates, share the job description with friends and ask them to forward it to anyone they think would be a good fit. Even better, share the posting with parents and staff. They will be especially careful to only share with qualified individuals since they have a vested interest in having top talent be hired.

To up the ante, you can create a referral program where you provide a bonus after your new hire passes a certain milestone (usually their three- month probation). It may seem like a substantial extra cost, but a $500 bonus compared to the time and effort of staff turnover will be money well-spent.

Where to Post Your Job

If a job is posted in a forest and no one is around to see it, does it really get posted? Make sure you list your job posting where the right candidates are the most likely to find it.

Job Board Websites

These days, the #1 place for job hunters to look for employment is on a job board website. Post your opportunity on all of the major job websites that teachers use to find their next role.

Examples of popular sites include:

To make this easier, there are also services like ZipRecruiter that allow you to create your job posting once and then distribute it to all of the major job websites automatically.

Social Media

After your job posting has been created, share it on social media and encourage others to pass it along to whoever they know that may be a good fit. If you have a company page on Facebook then share it from there, and also share it on your personal profile to reach even more people.

If you’re having a hard time getting applications, LinkedIn is an often overlooked tool that can be a really valuable asset. Search for qualified early childhood educators in your area and send them your posting. Since you’ve already qualified them, you can invite them to a phone interview in your intro message. For even more networking, you can also ask them to share the listing with anyone in their own network who may be interested.

Local Organizations

There are likely community centers, associations and schools in your area that have programs for early childhood education professionals. Chances are they will be very interested in helping their members find employment. You may be able to post a notice at their location, or they may even email your job posting to their community.

Making Your Short List

As you receive applications, it is helpful to divide applicants into three general categories:

The Clear Nos

There is something fundamental about this applicant that makes them unqualified.


  • Don’t have a required certification.
  • Not enough experience.

The Maybes

They don’t wow you, but they might be good enough if no one more qualified comes along.


  • Minimal details on resume.
  • Partial experience.

The Standouts

Any of these candidates have the skills and experience they’ll need to excel (at least on paper).


  • Great & relevant cover letter.
  • Meets all requirements.

Want to read the full eBook? Download your free copy below!

download the complete guide to hiring & retaining early childhood educators ebook

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Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.