At this point you would think things would gain traction and the real excitement would start. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.
As we sat in our air conditioned computer lab and interviewed candidate after candidate I was simply amazed. Each one of us on the committee took a different approach, in hindsight this was a good thing. We all had unique perspectives and thoughts. Yet after the interviews concluded things became awkward.
I'll never forgot sitting in that room and listening to the comments of my colleagues. Not one comment focused on who would be best for kids. The comments were -
"They would be a great fit with our staff."
"I could really team well with that person."
"Their positive attitude would lift up our morale."
"I would love to work with that person."
As I listened and took in these comments I began to wonder, do educators hire the best candidate or a possible friend?
You may be reading this and thinking, Hire a Possible Friend? Yes, I've witnessed it first hand...going back eight years ago the teachers I was on the committee with had a selfish viewpoint. They focused on who they wanted to work with, not who the best candidate was.
What I've learned through participating in nearly two dozen interview committees is this: The person that is best for kids will likely be a great fit with staff. The focus must be squarely on, who is best for kids.
I feel compelled to offer a few ways I look for the best candidate...
I've been told the first three minutes are crucial. Some even say you know if you want the person within the first three minutes of the interview. My personal viewpoint is, you can't be hired in the first three minutes, but you can shoot yourself in the foot in the first three minutes. It's important to come in positive, upbeat, happy and ready to share.
Does experience matter? I would say no. My personal viewpoint is, I want the candidate that has a growth mindset and shares a passion to work with ALL kids.
Finally, when interviewing a candidate the answers do matter, but the connections and personality matter more. Here is why, if the candidate has a growth mindset, I'm confident they will learn new methods, strategies and procedures. I don't expect candidates to know everything, in fact, I appreciate the honesty when candidates admit they don't know something.
If you have had the opportunity to be on a hiring committee I hope you have kept the core values of teaching at the forefront. Hiring a new teacher is a life changing decision. It's life changing for the individual, but more importantly it's life changing for 25+ students.
This week's big question: Would you be comfortable hiring a candidate that pushes you as an educator?
Articles Worth Reading:
When Teachers Bully Teachers +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp
A Balanced Approach To Social Media for Teachers +TeachThought @TeachThought
The Thin Line Between Passion and Anger... +Jeff Zoul @Jeff_Zoul
Common Core or Guided Reading? @ReadingShanahan
Reflections of a 1st Year Administrator +Colin Wikan @ColinWikan
Excuses Hold Us Back +Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal
16 Things You Shouldn't Have to Justify to Anyone Else +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel
Videos Worth Watching:
5 Things that make Summer Awesome! (3 min)
Jim Gaffigan makes me laugh out loud! (3 min)
Easily one of my favorite speeches of all time... (17 min)
What makes a hero? (4 min)