Conduct Better Interviews

​Jennifer Hindman, author of the ASCD Aria titled Effective Teacher Interviews: How Do I Hire Good Teachers?, suggests practices for making the best possible hires.

Do you lead or participate in teacher interviews? Make hiring decisions with positive impact!

The interview part of the hiring process focuses on people

interactions as you select a teacher, and applicants discern if they want to work in your school. Conduct better interviews by investing time in developing quality questions and ways to assess the quality of the responses. Questions written in an experience-based format (e.g., items that prompt candidates to talk about what they have done) are more predictive of job performance than items asking what they would do. Interview items should be equitably dispersed across the different aspects of the position (e.g.,Virginia’s 7 performance standards).

We can and must be effective at discerning the best teacher applicant for our students. Which research-based practices so you currently use?     

Multiple interviewers.

Prepared questions asking applicants to describe their past.

Performance in particular situations.     

Structured interview (i.e., Ask the same questions to each applicant interviewing for the same position).

Anchored rubric for the interviewee’s responses.

Consider the impact of a hiring decision. When an applicant is hired, performs well, and dedicates 20 years with one school system, the decision is worth a million dollars or more. Review the average state salary data from with estimated benefits (see chart). The decision to hire matters, and those who make hiring decisions are the gatekeepers of quality. Your recommendation will cost the school district millions of dollars over the course of a 30-year career in most states.

Number of Years Until a Teacher Earns the First Million Dollars

NOTE: Rankings and average salary from NEA, (2014). Rankings of the States 2013 and Estimates of School Statistics 2014 Report

My recent publication, Effective Teacher Interviews: How Do I Hire Good Teachers? (ASCD Arias) encourages instructional leaders to harness interviewing research to enhance their hiring process.