Rethinking Interviews in Education

Rethinking Interviews was the topic of discussion during the #satchatwc Twitter chat on March 4, 2017. I loved so many of the ideas shared, that I wanted to record some of those ideas, so I don’t forget. Granted, I couldn’t use all of the ideas shared since I’m not hiring in a school, but I still think they’re great ideas.

For starters, I really liked the following interview questions to get to the heart of an educators mindset, dispositions, and skills.

  • “All questions I have asked: Tell me about a lesson you could sell tickets for? Why would I want you to teach my kid?” Shared by @JayBilly2; This is by far one of my favorites!
  • “What is your Twitter name, what chats do you participate in, and who are your favorite follows.” Shared by @GarnerRockstars.
  • “What was your last failure? Checking for the willingness to extend themselves.” Shared by @TJ_McKenzie.
  • “Would you want to be a student in your own classroom? Why?” Shared by @GPearceWSD. I would extend this to, “would you want to be a teacher in your own PD?” for edtech coaches. 
  • “Scale of 1-10. Name something you are a 6 on and want to be a 10. Tell us how you become a 10. Details please.” Shared by @techsavvysupt.
  • “I ask what people have read lately that has changed their practice. Revealing as to whether they model life-long learning. ” Shared by @abney45.
  • “Watch this video of a lesson, now what would you take and use, what would you do differently?” Shared by @JayBilly2.
  • “How have you contributed to the culture of your school?” Shared by @Jenrobbins91.

Finding great talent is hard. Really hard. When you find that right person, you should want them as much as they want to be a part of your organization. So how do you highlight all the great things you’ve got going on to make them really want to be a part of your organization? I should note here that I believe interviewers should be very honest about the strengths and weaknesses of their organization. It is not okay to lie to a candidate about job expectations and responsibilities in the same way you wouldn’t want an interviewee to lie about their skills and experience.

  • “I ask our panel to share why our school is amazing. Love hearing what each says and then I share my why.” Shared by @BethHouf.
  • “What if we took candidates on a tour through our top future ready classrooms & then reflected together? Inspire & empower.” Shared by @StefOlbrys.
  • “Interviewees should get a tour of the school – pop into the rooms of dynamic teachers and show your high expectations!” Shared by @StudentsHistory.

So you found the talent, they want you, you want them and they sign the dotted line. How do you effectively welcome everyone to the school/organization to make them feel welcome, allow them to begin to form relationships and get them all the needed information about your organization?

  • “Why not blast out good news via social & actual media channels about new addition to team?” Shared by @brianrozinsky. I agree, Brian!
  • “BBQ!!!! sit down and help them with the paperwork.” Shared by @shirky17. Did someone say Eli’s or Montgomery Inn (if you’re ever in Cincinnati, you have to try one or both of those places)?!
  • “I give our new staff a book when they sign their contract and say welcome aboard!” Shared by @BethHouf. I LOVE this, and I think I’m going to start doing something similar with my integration specialists. If you’re going to preach lifelong learning, let’s show these new members of the team that we practice it, too! Share your favorite tech integration or coaching books with me in the comments below. 
  • “New Teacher Shower! Welcome them into the teacher world with support and gifts from current staff.” Shared by @joshchoward@BethHouf also shared that her staff does a teacher shower. She shared the image to the right. I love the idea of staff passing something small on to the new teachers. 
  • “Make sure that any new staff are invited to any summer learning opportunities.” Shared by @andreakornowski. This seems obvious, but in the hustle and bustle of communicating information out to current staff, I often see new teachers get left out of the information that gets passed around about learning opportunities before their official start date. 
  • “We also always do a summer retreat for everyone. FUN TIMES!” Shared by @BethHouf. This tweet was also accompanied by a flyer for the summer “retreat-a-palooza.”  As my department grows, I definitely want to put together something like this for them. Conferences are great to collaborate with others outside your organization, but I also think it’s important to have learning experiences within the team, too.

And lastly, once you find those great people, you’ve got to keep them. I really loved the following ideas regarding retaining great talent to keep them at your school/organization for a really long time.

  • There was a lot of sharing about creating much stronger mentoring teams of people instead of just one go-to person.
  • “Check in early, check in often – ask how things are going – build relationships.” Shared by @TeacherRunner42. I constantly need to remind myself of this. I find I can get so busy, that I forget to check in just because… not just when I have a question or need to give some information. 
  • “Give them time to learn. Applaud accomplishments. Honor personal time.” Shared by@drshelly268. I’m a big believer in honoring personal time.

…and one of my favorite statements that was shared came from @TheDisciplineDr

  • “Admin–3 ways to keep your teachers happy:1. Don’t treat them like children
    2. Don’t waste their time
    3. Value their opinions”

So simple, but so powerful.

The full Storify of my chat takeaways is embedded below. If you have trouble viewing it, click here. Not sure what a Twitter chat is? Check out this post.

What have been some of your best experiences with interviews, welcoming new staff, and retention? Share your ideas below in the comments!

Tech To You Later!

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