Strategies for Hiring a Teacher

hiring a teacher
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Because teachers can make or break a school, the process used to hire them is critical to a school's overall success. A building principal typically plays some sort of role in the hiring of a new teacher. Some principals are a part of a committee that interviews and decides who to hire, while others interview potential candidates individually. In either case, it's important that the necessary steps are taken to hire the right person for the job.

Hiring a new teacher is a process and should not be rushed. There are important steps that should be taken when looking for a new teacher. Here are a few of them. 

Understand Your Needs

Every school has their own needs when it comes to hiring a new teacher and it's important that the person or people in charge of hiring understand exactly what those are. Examples of specific needs might include certification, flexibility, personality, experience, curriculum, and, most importantly, the individual philosophy of the school or district. Understanding these needs before you begin the interview process allows those in charge to have a better idea of what you are looking for. This can help create a list of interview questions catered to these needs. 

Post an Ad

It is important that you get as many candidates as possible. The larger the pool, the more likely it will be that you will have at least one candidate that meets all of your needs.

Post ads on your school website, in each of the local newspapers, and in any educational publications in your state. Be as detailed as possible in your advertisements. Be sure to give a contact, a deadline for submission, and a list of qualifications. 

Sort through Resumes

Once your deadline has passed, quickly scan each resume for key words, skills, and types of experiences that fit your needs.

Try to get as much information about each individual candidate from their resume before you begin the interview process. If you are comfortable with doing so, pre-rank each candidate based on the information in their resume before interviewing.

Interview Qualified Candidates

Invite your top candidates to come in for interviews. How you conduct these is up to you; some people are comfortable doing a non-scripted interview, while others prefer a specific script to guide the interview process. Try to get a feel for your candidate's personality, experience, and what sort of teacher they will be.

Do not rush through your interviews. Start with small talk. Take the time to get to know them. Encourage them to ask questions. Be open and honest with each candidate. Ask tough questions if necessary.

Take Comprehensive Notes

Start taking notes on each candidate as you go through resumes. Add to those notes during the interview itself. Jot down anything that is relevant to the list of needs that you created before beginning the process. Later on, you will add to your notes when you check each candidate’s references. Taking great notes on each candidate is essential for hiring the right person and it's especially important if you have a long list of candidates to interview over the course of several days and even weeks.

It may be hard to remember everything about the first few candidates if you do not take comprehensive notes.

Narrow the Field

After you have completed all the initial interviews, you will need to review all notes, and narrow down the list of candidates to your top 3-4. You will want to invite these top candidates back for a second interview.

Re-Interview with Assistance

In the second interview, consider bringing in another employee such as the district’s superintendent or even a committee made up of several stakeholders. Instead of giving your co-workers too much background before the interview, it's best to allow them to formulate their own opinions about each candidate. This will ensure that each candidate will be evaluated without your personal bias influencing the other interviewer's decision.

After all the top candidates have been interviewed, you can discuss each candidate with the other persons who interviewed seeking their input and perspective.

Put Them on the Spot

If possible, ask the candidates to prepare a short, ten-minute lesson to teach to a group of students. If it is during the summer and students are not available, you can have them give their lesson the group of stakeholders in the second interview round. This will allow you to see a brief snapshot of how they handle themselves in the classroom and perhaps provide you with a better feel for what kind of teacher they are.

Call All References

Checking references can be another valuable tool in evaluating a candidate. This is especially effective for teachers with experience. Contacting their former principal(s) can provide you with important information that you may not be able to get from an interview. 

Rank the Candidates and Make an Offer

You should have plenty of information after following all the previous steps to make someone a job offer. Rank each candidate according to which one you believe best fits your school’s needs. Review each resume and all of your notes taking the other interviewee’s thoughts into consideration as well. Call your first choice and offer them a job. Do not call any other candidates until they accept the job and sign a contract. This way, if your first choice does not accept the offer, you will be able to move to the next candidate on the list. After you have hired a new teacher, be professional and call each candidate letting them know that the position has been filled.