ACE Charter Schools is a high-performing Bay Area charter school network. With a student body that is 92% low-income, 50% English learners, 93% first-generation college students, and 20% students with Special Needs, ACE is focused on providing the best possible educational experience by ensuring they hire and retain outstanding educators and staff.
Although ACE has always prioritized talent and human capital, at the start of 2019, the Talent team was leveraging a corporate applicant tracking system to manage its recruitment and hiring process. Because this tool wasn’t built with schools in mind, ACE’s Talent Manager, Giannina Murphy, spent significant time working to engage principals in the hiring process through manual efforts (read: sending lots of individual text messages and emails). Giannina and her team also spent a huge chunk of their time crunching hiring data in spreadsheets — time which might have been better spent on the important work of cultivating and engaging candidates.
As an education-specific hiring tool, Nimble allows organizations to add unlimited school-based users and has several features meant to meet school principals where they are. Nimble’s asynchronous school applications feature means that even if ACE posts a pooled job with numerous vacancies across the network, each school principal can track the status of a given candidate independently for their particular school site. It also gives principals direct visibility into where the candidates are in the screening process for other ACE schools. Because ACE encourages candidates to interview at multiple schools to find the best fit within the network, the visibility across schools allows principals to coordinate easily, saving precious time for both the Talent team and hiring managers. Giannina and her team also leverage Nimble’s easy-to-use tagging feature to trigger email notifications to principals when they identify candidates who may be a particularly strong fit for a given school.
Nimble has also helped ACE’s Talent team build buy-in across the organization for a more structured hiring process. Research has shown that having a structured interview process can reduce bias in hiring and help organizations identify stronger applicants. However, convincing principals across school sites to adopt a shared, structured process is a challenge. Because Nimble’s interview scorecards are designed specifically around school-based hiring — with easy-to-use rubrics and the ability to gather feedback from a panel of interviewers at a school site — ACE has been able to build momentum behind a new structured interview process as a driver of data-driven and equitable hiring.
So what has been the ultimate result? According to Giannina: “Nimble has been instrumental in our efforts to streamline communications between our Talent team and our principals. Our principals love using Nimble, and are even looking for ways to improve their own site-based interview processes using Nimble's tools. Principals are more engaged because it's clear that this system was built with their unique challenges in mind."
In addition to helping ACE streamline the school-based components of its hiring process, Nimble has also made data dashboards readily available across the organization. Because ACE’s old system was not structured around education hiring, they previously used numerous google docs to track and visualize hiring data. Today, Giannina and her team use Nimble’s automated vacancy dashboard to track fill rates by school and subject area, as well as to analyze year-over-year hiring data. Giannina also uses these in-system visualizations as the basis for her status updates with principals and organization leaders. With Nimble, even those who aren’t engaged in recruitment every day can access data to understand progress at any time. The availability of real time data has led to more informed resource allocation conversations across the organization, while allowing the Talent team to prioritize its time in driving toward ambitious hiring goals.
In just one year after switching to Nimble, ACE was able to reduce its time to hire by a massive 20%, ensuring that they are attracting and cultivating the strongest possible candidates with a high-touch screening experience! Overall, according to Giannina, switching to an education-specific and data-driven tool like Nimble has been a “game changer” for ACE as they continue pursuing the strongest possible talent for their students.