I used our week long spring break to catch up and plan ahead for my maternity leave. What I couldn’t plan for at that time was the amount of time I would have to spend on hiring new staff. With retirements, resignations, and staff moving into different positions in the district I had seven new staff to hire. In addition to this was keeping track of the movement of staff changing grade levels. Most school districts around us are on the opposite end of the spectrum; laying staff off. Because of this I have had to screen hundreds of applications for the hiring process. Something that you don’t learn in college is how to efficiently screen applications to narrow down the amount of candidates for interviews. Through this experience, I’ve come up with my own set of criteria: cover letter/resume must have appropriate format and be free of grammatical/spelling errors, must have three or more letters of recommendation (one must be from the current principal), the last important of each recommendation letter usually points out well whether it is an outstanding or just an average candidate, frequent movement between positions is a “red flag” to be concerned about, and it is worth looking at applicant transcripts.
Our school/district uses a committee process to hire additional staff, so I had to form 7 different committees and seek their input on interview questions that addressed what qualities we were seeking for each position. Again, this was time consuming, but I found it essential to have a variety of members on each committee to provide a variety of insight and to have enough variety of interview questions to really find out about each candidate. I found it very important to have dialogue amongst the committee after interviewing each applicant and by the time we completed interviews each day, we were able to come to consensus on our top choice for each position. I then had the additional time consuming task of calling all references (which usually turns into multiple games of “phone tag”) before offering the candidate the position. I’ve learned from a previous experience to always wait for the candidate to accept the position before calling the others to inform that they were not chosen for the position. In addition, I’ve found it very helpful for myself to have a “script” on an index card that I use to call each of those candidates, because otherwise I fumble with my words when giving them the bad news.
What have others found to be helpful in the hiring process to ensure that you hire the best candidate and ways to save time when flooded with hundreds to choose from?