4 Steps to Recruiting & Retaining A-Grade Dance Teachers

It’s hard to forget, when you get to that point in your studio, when you first start needing to employ more teachers.

Now, you may be reading this and thinking: “Clint, I’m not ready for teachers” or maybe, “Clint, I have a faculty of 20 teachers already.” Either way, today’s article is for you.

Hiring your first or twenty first teacher is exciting as it generally means you’ll be doing less teaching and get more time to grow the business.  It’s also scary because you may be thinking “what happens if the students don’t gel with the teacher and they leave or what happens if they are amazing and open up their own studio and take all my students?”

I know the stories you play in your head – these are the same stories I played in mine when it came time to expand my studio and bring on new teachers.

The truth is, if you want to grow your dance studio, you need people to help you and a great addition to any dance studio is fantastic teachers!

Easier said than done…

Building your A-Grade faculty has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with having a killer recruitment plan in place.  This is JUST as important as having a solid retention strategy running all year round to keep those important teachers who keep your students coming back.


Just the other day, in our members group, we were all discussing what qualities make up an A-Grade teacher.  Although there are common traits that most studio owners look for in a teacher, there are some unique ones too, depending on what you need specifically for your studio.

First Things First

If you haven’t identified the values your studio operates by, this is the first thing you need to get clear on. You see, many studio owners don’t have a list of values that their business has been built on.  Therefore, they recruit a teacher who has completely different values and then wonder why it doesn’t work out (often the same thing happens with romantic partners, too).

So, start by getting really clear about what you stand for and what you want your studio to be known for. I’m a big fan of having our members create the 10 commandments for their studio. These are the 10 things that make their business unique to them. When creating your commandments, you can start with the words: WE’RE COMMITTED TO…   This sets a great foundation to work from when looking for any new hires, including teachers.

Where Are Your Teachers…

You’ve heard me talking about being a “Go To” Studio, right? Well, when you’re a go to studio, you get sent CV’s from teachers because they want to work for you (more on that in another article).  However, most studio owners don’t have that happening just yet, so how do you find these A-Grade teachers?

GOOD question.

I hear excuses every day from studio owners about why they can’t find good teachers which include…

  • Clint, you don’t understand, our studio is in a tiny area with no dance teachers!

  • Clint, you don’t understand, there are so many studios in my area and not enough great teachers to go around!

  • Clint, you don’t understand, teachers in my area want huge money! I simply can’t afford it!

  • Clint, you don’t understand…. the list goes on and on and on.

Now, I’m not making fun of any studio owner, but what I’m trying to highlight is that if you’re saying these things then you’re standing in your own way. If you in anyway believe in the law of attraction, and I do (attraction + action = results), then you’re attracting exactly what you’re putting out there…a lack of teachers.

First, you want to shift your mindset on this by doing something studio owners rarely pair up with finding a good teacher – and that’s MARKETING!

Yup. You need to market for your teaching positions as well.  Just the other day I saw a post from a dance studio looking for new teachers.  Honestly, it couldn’t have been more uninspiring if they tried: “Teacher wanted, jazz, studio name…”  Blah, blah was it ever boring!

If you want the BEST then your studio needs to present itself as the BEST – as the GO TO studio in your area. Here’s a quick 6 step outline to follow when it comes to writing your teacher wanted advert.

  1. What We Do

  2. About the Studio Owner

  3. We Believe In (Our Philosophy)

  4. Why Join Our Team

  5. Position Details

  6. How To Apply

You want potential teachers to read this and say WOW, YES…THIS is where I need to be teaching.

In terms of where you can place the advert, you can post it on social media, at colleges, at dance companies, on local job boards (offline and online) and through emails.

Once you get your candidates, it’s time to set up interviews. You generally want to do a 3 step interview process with a phone interview, face to face, then for them to teach a range of trial classes. We go deeper into this process in the Studio Success Formula Program.

Don’t Let Them Go

Ok, so now you have your awesome teachers on board, but your job has just begun.

Too often I see studio owners find their A-Team and then either:

  1. Suffocate them so they feel like they can’t make any decisions without consulting you and they feel like you’re watching their every move, or…

  2. completely leave them to fend for themselves and you become a distant memory.

Both are dangerous. One means they leave and tell everyone you’re a control freak, the other means they leave and potentially open up their own studio and take your students.

So what do you do?

This is my secret sauce right here. If you want to retain your A-Team of teachers, then your role is about being a MENTOR to your faculty. As you may know, after selling my dance studio I started teaching classes again a few years later at a few dance studios because I missed it greatly.

During this time, I really got to see what makes a studio owner sink AND swim when it comes to their staff. I vividly remember one of the studio owners I was working for because I felt like I was in a complete partnership with her. She had my back, she came in to view my classes regularly to see how the students were progressing, but she also came in to check on how I was personally. We spent time outside of teaching hours brainstorming competition routines and I gave her ideas on growing the studio. She gave and I gave. It was a beautiful working relationship.

I later found out that she didn’t just have this relationship with me, she had it with all of her teachers. She invested heavily in her staff (time wise) and it paid off. She had about 700 students at her studio and the business model she had was highly profitable.

She went on holidays, paid off her mortgage in just a few years and had time with her family regularly. She built an A-Team that worked and still does today.

Your Turn!

Right now, when you look at your relationship with your staff, are you:

  1. A Control Freak

  2. Hands Off/Absent

  3. A Mentor

The great thing is, it’s never too late to turn this around. You can start being a mentor to your teachers today.

Take your leadership to the next level today!

Clint :-)

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