|One of the most important responsibilities you have as an administrator
involves hiring new teachers. Having highly effective teachers in
each of your classrooms is vital to student learning and success.
Yet, interviewing teacher candidates can be challenging. Your hiring
practice should reflect the culture and needs of your school district.
Each new hire should have skills and experiences that complement
those of other teachers and help to move the district in the direction
it needs to go.
Hiring the best teacher candidates can be challenging because good candidates choose the most appealing district. Recent studies also have shown that the interview process plays a key role in the ultimate retention of the teacher in your building/district (Clement 2008). Though it is necessary to represent your school and district in an appealing way to prospective hires, it is important to communicate accurately the responsibilities and expectations of the position to the teacher candidate. If a candidate is told that this position will involve three preparations each day and on the first day of school, he/she finds out that there are now five preparations per day, the disillusionment begins.
The hiring process is often lengthy and time-consuming. It should include the involvement of classroom teachers, human resources representatives, and others who have shown themselves to be effective in selecting quality educators. Each person involved in the hiring process brings a different perspective that can help in the selection process.
Applications and resumes provide you with your first opportunity to assess your applicants. If you find errors, misspelled words, or an unprofessional format or presentation, discard those applications! If the applicant didn’t take the time to be sure that his or her very best was represented on the application, how will that candidate present him- or herself on a daily basis to students and parents?
Before beginning the interview process, check with your personnel/human resources department for a list of questions that cannot be asked of candidates, such as age, race/ethnicity, citizenship, physical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. The hiring process must be fair and lawful.
Asking the right questions is an important part of the interview process. Serious candidates will have considered their answers to classroom management and curriculum questions. Using behavioral questions that require the candidate to reflect on past actions or consider a new situation will often reveal a wider scope of response that often includes an emotional element, such as pride, frustration, or satisfaction. Here are a few examples of behavioral questions:
• How would you handle a new ELL student who has behavioral problems?
• How would you arrange your classroom for activity-based learning?
• Describe how you have used technology in the classroom.
• How do you or how will you communicate with parents?
Also, consider other kinds of questions that can provide insight into the person’s values, work ethic, and resourcefulness.
In addition to the standard interviewing process, other interviewing techniques—such as providing an on-site writing sample, delivering a lesson, or doing an activity with a group of students and then having the students evaluate the teacher—can provide additional insights.
At the end of the interviewing/selection process, you should feel confident that you have chosen the right person and not just the best person from the available candidates. Bob Marzano (2003), author of What Works in School, stated “It is the clear that effective teachers have a profound influence on student achievement.” Be certain that this person is the right person for your school and your students, who deserve the very best.