In the continuing crisis of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, school districts and education leadership are bombarded with applications for any available position(s). This can mean sorting through hundreds of qualified applications with minimal staff to help in the process. If you are feeling overwhelmed after the application sorting process and have found yourself, head-in-hands, exclaiming, "What do we do now?" –fear not! These successful interview techniques will allow you to come up for air, move forward with confidence and hire the right teacher leaders.
5 Successful Interview Techniques For Hiring Teacher Leaders
- Keep this in mind: Education leadership is being interviewed as well.
Obviously you have the upper hand in an interview. However, the environment you create and the energy that you and fellow interviewers transmit is being evaluated by the interviewees as well. Is the environment welcoming? Make sure all prospective teacher leaders are greeted in a friendly manner. Try to keep to strict interview time limits so candidates aren't waiting indefinitely. Provide a comfortable interview area. Remember, this is a potential colleague, so first impressions are important for future relationships.
- Get on the same page with the interview panel.
If you are not alone in conducting the interviews, make sure that your panel has come to a consensus of sorts. What type of teacher leader are you are looking for in terms of credential(s), background, and teaching experience? Are you all on the same page about the school's philosophies and short/long term goals? Your prospective teacher leader might have questions for you, so it is important the panel is on a similar playing field. Consider a list of routine questions that are scripted and allow each panel member the opportunity to interact with the candidate.
- Remember what education leadership should not to ask.
Sometimes the most successful interview techniques involve omissions. There are questions and topics that should never be a part of an interview process. Consider keeping a list of what topics are off-limits so that you won't make a legally detrimental mistake. Unfortunately, some of the best ice breakers are off-limits: Do you have kids? What are you doing for Christmas? Did you buy or are you renting? This 25 Off-Limits Interview Questions resource is a great interview guide to study beforehand.
- Ask in-depth questions that allow your candidates to shine.
Now the part you've been waiting for: What questions should I ask prospective teacher leaders?!? While we can't tell you exactly what to ask, we can offer suggestions as to themes:
- Inspiration: What inspires the teacher? What inspiring things/activities/curricula do they do/use in the classroom? Do they inspire their co-workers?
- Conflict Resolution: With students? With parents? With colleagues? With administration(s)?
- Discipline/Classroom management: What's their policy? How is it enforced? What methods have they tried/failed?
- Strengths/Weakness: How do they shine? Where do they need to improve? What kind of support do they need?
- They should provide examples for any of the above!
You can learn a great deal about a person by the things they want to know and the questions they ask. This is one of the best ways to learn about a candidate's personality/creativity/humor/process/or lack-there-of.
Interviewing an abundant list of teacher leaders provides a remarkable opportunity to select the very best candidate on the market. Armed with a handful of successful interview techniques, you and your education leadership cohorts can easily sort through the "Who's Who" of applicants. This isn't to say that you will come to an easy decision on the final candidate. But that is just a sign of how many amazing teachers there are out there. May the best teacher win!
More than ever, educational leadership is expected to successfully manage the institution and also improve teaching and learning. The modern administrator or principal also needs to be a visionary! Marygrove College offers a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, a program that will give you the tools, advanced knowledge and skills necessary to lead the modern school.
You should also know that as of March 26, Marygrove College has reduced tuition rates for our Master of Arts in Educational Leadership Program by 19 percent! This is one step—amongst a few others—that the college is taking to ensure that a Marygrove education is an achievable, financially-sustainable investment.