How do you decide who to appoint?
I didn’t get the job, and although I was disappointed, I’ve got over it. But I would really love to know: how do you decide who you’re going to appoint?
How do we decide? Every interviewing panel is different, of course, but we all want the absolute best teacher for our school. When I am chairing the panel, I remind everybody of that, and add that if that best teacher isn’t here today, then we re-advertise.
We have a person specification (what we want the successful candidate to be, their skills and experience) and a job description (what they will have to do). We try to measure the candidates up against this, to answer the three questions that we are asking ourselves.
- Can these candidates do the job, do they have the right skills and experience?
- Will they do the job, do they have the right attitude, the commitment?
- And finally, will they do the job in the way that we want it done, following our ethos?
Of course we also explore their suitability to work with children, this is a very important consideration.
We therefore devise questions that will give each candidate an equal chance to show us that they are the best teacher for our school. We have the same lead questions for each candidate, although follow-up questions are often based on the previous answer, and there may be individual questions based on the candidate’s application, or the references we have received.
Because yes, we have your references before the interview, to allow us to ask you in the interview about any concerns, or even to query any discrepancies between your application and the references. You speak in your application about your excellent results at GCSE with your last two groups? But the Head says that they were disappointing as you had the top sets and they did no better than the middle sets, with lower Value-Added; can you just outline for us why you consider these results to be outstanding?
We then weigh up all the evidence to decide who is the best candidate. The applications, the references, the teaching or other task, the performance in interview, the overall impression that we have formed of you, including the all-important first impression when you walked into the interview room, our judgment on how you would fit in with the rest of the team, balancing their strengths with yours.
But sometimes there are several very good, even outstanding, candidates, and there is one of these who just clicks with us. I think it’s a bit like falling in love – you know you’re in love, but you can’t quite explain why.
And that, sometimes, is how we decide who we’re going to appoint.