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10 Recruiting Tips for School Principals

10 Recruiting Tips for School Principals

Schools around the world are in the midst of their Teacher Recruiting Season. Here are ten strategies that will work for you.

  1. Develop a profile of the type of teacher you want to employ to fit into the context of your school. Start by looking at your school community. Develop a list of values, talents and skills that are required at your school.  Then take an audit of your existing staff. Ask yourself, or even better, ask your leadership team: Who are your most successful teachers? Why? What are their attributes, skills and dispositions? Use the answers to these questions and add to the values and skills list you have already started. Look at the major goals in your school’s Strategic Plan for the next 2-3 years and factor in the type of skills and talents you will need from your teachers.  Now create a profile of the type of teachers you believe are the best fit for your school.


2.  Use your newly developed ‘teacher profile’ to devise your set of 6-10 interview questions to discover the candidates who possess the qualities you are seeking. Develop 4-5 second round interview questions to really dig deep. Have all on-hand for the interview as you may wish to include your second round questions at the first interview if you feel the candidate is displaying the strengths you are seeking.


3. Include questions to discover;

  • How the candidate will live the school’s mission and inspire students to do so
  • Lived examples from the candidate showing that the teacher is ‘a learner’ and ‘a collaborator’
  • How generationally savvy the candidate is and what strategies and skills they have to ensure they can work with Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z colleagues while teaching Gen Zs and Gen Alphas
  • Technology and innovation skills and talents and how to utilize them to enrich learning
  • What approach the candidate takes to problems. Is the applicant a ‘can-do,’ proactive person, a problem solver, someone who will take responsibly, show persistence and lives with integrity at all times?
  • How the candidate will improve learning and agency for the students of your school
  • How the candidate will add to local and global communities.


4. Scan Curriculum Vitaes, Resumés and application letters and short-list based on those that fit the profile you have created. Preview portfolios and other materials prior to the interview. Do not waste your time interviewing those that do not fit your school’s profile.


5. When interviewing, by all means make the candidate feel comfortable, but remember never provide answers to the interview questions.  Be patient, give them wait time, consider rephrasing or repeating the question but make sure they provide you with the information you require to ensure you are employing a quality teacher.


6. Be on the look out for creative and diverse talents. If you notice candidates who fit your school’s profile and also look at different ways to meet the needs of your students certainly consider them. Employing people smarter than you and people who have a different skill set to you adds to the power of your teams. Consider the future goals on your school’s Strategic Plan. Someone new to the school could lead a strategic initiative with new eyes, new talents and new passion.


7. Look for leadership qualities and how they will complement your professional learning teams and grow your professional school culture.


8. Always do a reference check, before making an offer. ALWAYS!


9. The ability to recruit, retain, and reward the best teachers is key for a 21st Century School. Providing ongoing training, development and mentoring once the candidate is employed is paramount.


10. Use Peter Block’s 6 Conversations to invite successful candidates onto special projects to develop their talents and offer exciting, purposeful and worthwhile learning projects for your students.


If you would like more ideas and strategies for school leadership you might like to read my new book Leadership Really Matters – Applying Innovation to the Educational Crisis Today 


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