In 2014, San José Unified School District, like many other large urban school districts, struggled to fill all of its classroom vacancies by the start of school. There was too much complexity in the recruitment process; combined with a highly competitive labor market, this meant that SJUSD would sometimes lose high-quality candidates. Believing that talent is key to providing a high-quality education for all SJUSD students, their HR team was determined to transform their hiring practices, ensuring they could compete for top talent across their region.
SJUSD began this journey by defining its recruitment strategy through research, focus groups, and data analysis. Much of the data pointed to the need to streamline the hiring processes. Too many candidates noted delays or a lack of communication in their recruitment experience; some slipped through the cracks entirely. One prior candidate shared that they had received an offer to join SJUSD, but when they replied with clarifying questions SJUSD never replied back. Implementing a series of new processes to track candidates through the hiring funnel and developing a detailed system for ensuring that top candidates got regular outreach throughout the process became a priority. At one point SJUSD brought on a seasonal teammate during peak recruitment season whose core responsibility was to track and follow up on the status of each applicant, using one of many Google sheets. While this manual and time-intensive process worked, it was not sustainable and the team recognized that something better was needed.
In 2018, Jacqueline Murphy, SJUSD’s Director of HR, turned to Nimble. After spending months vetting the product and providing feedback on feature development, Jacqueline signed on as a customer that winter. Now in their third hiring season with Nimble, SJUSD has substantially reduced their applicant processing time, while impressing internal stakeholders with the speed, transparency, and professionalism of their new hiring process. According to Jacqueline, “Nimble has been an outstanding partner and the improved automation is allowing my team to focus on conversations with candidates instead of processing paperwork.”
Leveraging Nimble has allowed SJUSD to refine their processes and prioritize their time. For classified hiring, they’ve used data reports to accelerate candidate selection; a process that used to take days now takes minutes. Because of the usability of the system, hiring managers also take action more quickly. “In the past, it was more work to review applications so hiring managers would sometimes procrastinate because the task was too daunting,” Jacqueline explains. “During that time, the best people would get other job offers.”
Also critical to a lean team like SJUSD are accessible insights to drive strategic decision making. Nimble’s vacancy dashboard has allowed them to quickly look at their openings by school site or position, so that they can better understand where to focus recruitment efforts. “Seeing where candidates are in the process and how long ago they arrived in that stage allows our team to take action and give candidates the high-touch experience they deserve.” This efficiency has impressed not only candidates, but also internal stakeholders. “I got an email yesterday from a principal who was amazed by the process and how smooth it was,” Jacqueline shares. “What I’ve heard from principals in general is that Nimble is intuitive, looks clean and professional, and they’re excited to have something more user-friendly than the standard HR tools we have access to in education.”
Even given the impressive strides San José Unified has made, Jacqueline and her team aren’t done yet; they have big plans for the future and are optimistic about the role Nimble will play through its predictive modeling tool, which boosts efficiency by highlighting top tier, diverse candidates at the start of the process. “The way Nimble has incorporated our feedback has fed our constant improvement — I’m particularly interested to see how the new analytics tools will push us even further,” Jacqueline says. “Every child deserves a high-quality education and our team is dedicated to making sure that vision is a reality for every SJUSD student.”