Every district has their own approach to conducting an interview and hiring new teachers. Many districts conduct a one on one interview during some part of the process. The interview process can be taxing especially on the interviewee. The administrator conducting the interview controls the overall atmosphere of the interview and thus can make the process less stressful on the person interviewing. The interview process is obviously very important. Every administrator has a lot riding on who they choose to hire. They want to get to know each candidate as much as they can within the limited time frame of the interview. The following tips can be used to make the interviewee more comfortable and can increase efficiency during the interview process.
Scripted vs. Unscripted
Many administrators choose to have a preselected set of questions to use during the interview. Some administrators strictly stay within this list of questions and others have it only as a baseline to guide the interview, but allow the interview to go off script. Other administrators choose not to have a script and simply allow the interview take its own unique shape as the interviewer and the candidate get to know each other. No matter which method you choose, it is important that you are comfortable with your approach. You lead and set the tone for the interview. If you are not comfortable with your approach, then it could make the interviewee uncomfortable as well.
Make Them Feel Welcome
A good interviewer will make each candidate feel welcome and comfortable. The whole interview process can be stressful and it is very hard to get to know someone in a limited amount of time if they are nervous, stressed out, or guarded. There are several things you can do to put them at ease. First offer them something to drink such as coffee, soda, or water. Then take them on a tour of the school. While on the tour, make small talk allowing you to get to know them and them to get to know you in a more informal environment. When you conduct the formal interview, don’t hide behind your desk. Position yourself where there are no barriers between the candidate and yourself. This has been proven to make the interviewee feel more comfortable. Finally encourage them ask questions throughout the interview. This will allow them some control thus making them even more comfortable.
Don’t Forget the Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you are trying to get to know each candidate well enough to decide whether or not they will be a good fit for a position that is open in your district. Take into account every factor including student discipline, their overall approach to the classroom, how they would fit in with current faculty, professionalism, etc. Take notes during the interview especially on things that stand out. Try to get to know the individual as well as possible with the understanding that you are looking for the single candidate that will fit your district’s needs and goals the best.
Discuss the District’s Expectations
Every district and school is unique in that they have a vision and mission that is designed to meet their individual needs. It is important that each candidate understands what your district’s expectations are and what will be expected from them should they be hired. Setting this tone in the interview will only help the candidate make an informed decision should they be offered the position. You also want to discuss this to get a feel for the comfort level that each candidate has with your district’s goals and expectations. The last thing you want to do as an administrator is to hire a person who does not mesh well with those expectations and goals.
Sell the District
By the end of the interview you should have a pretty good idea as to whether or not this may be a person that your district is truly interested in hiring. If they are it is important to remember that they will have the opportunity to accept or turn down any formal offer that is made. They have to make a decision as to whether or not your district is the right fit for them as well. This is why it is important to sell your district to these candidates. Discuss benefits of working in the district, answer any questions they might have, and most importantly let them why you love working in the district.
After the Interview
It is important to let each candidate know how your district’s interview process will go from here. Give them your contact information in case they have further questions when they get home. Always thank them for their time and walk them to their vehicle to see them off.
Immediately review notes and add any thoughts and information that you did not get written down during the interview. Take the time to call references on each candidate and add to your notes. Decide who your top 2-3 candidates are. Pass this information along according to your district’s policy. Once your district hires someone and they accept the position, it is always important to be professional enough to call each person that was interviewed and let them know that the position has been filled. Giving bad news can be difficult, but it is professional courtesy.