As the new year begins your school district may be attempting to get ahead of the curve and fill current and future vacancies over these next very important months. You may feel the urge to grab the best candidates before your neighboring districts snatch them up. It is unfortunately the state of education at this point and no place in the United States is immune from this competitive landscape. In meeting with our eight grant districts to help coach them through this process, we are encouraging them to not lose sight of their ideal candidate profile even at a time when the natural response is to fill a position as quickly as possible. That short-term solution may be a long-term dilemma for your district or school if ideal candidate profiles are not being created and continually referenced. Thus, the development of an ideal candidate profile should be, if it isn’t already, the first New Year’s Resolution for any district moving into 2023. This month, we are excited to share a quick checklist on the development or tweaking of a district’s ideal candidate profile.
Ideal Candidate Checklist:
First and foremost, be very specific and clear on who you are seeking to hire.
This is much more than meeting a licensing requirement to address a specific grade level or subject. Are you seeking to hire a candidate that can add increased value and marketability to your school or district? Really examine a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses based on how they can help promote your district and even encourage other educators to seek employment here. As stated in the Recruitment and Retention Playbook, “Successful districts identify competencies of effective teachers in their districts, including the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and dispositions that exemplify effectiveness (Heneman and Milanoski, 2011 as cited in McKenzie, 2018). Competencies bring coherence to recruitment and can include examples such as, “instructional planning, classroom management, instructional leadership, professionalism, cultural competency, and co-teaching approaches.”
Secondly, outline specific characteristics that your district is looking for in a candidate.
This first and most important characteristic must be how each candidate’s strengths align with the vision and mission of a school district. In the School City of York (PA) one of their core belief statements is “Teaching matters. Teachers matter.” Found on their HR District webpage, is a highlighted video of a teacher who embodies the importance of not only teaching the child but sharing real-life experiences and building relationships.
When candidates are approved at board meetings, they are often introduced with a short bio on their background and what they will be teaching. However, when a district can publicly share how this new candidate is aligned with the district’s mission and vision, there is a clear message being sent that everything that is accomplished is driven by a common mindset. For example, in the Colonial School District, their message to potential hires is transparent and very clear. “We’re looking for growth-minded, passionate people to join our schools. Learn how the “Power of WE,” our district philosophy, is the focus of everything we do here in Colonial.”
Secondly, how specifically do you want to see this candidate improve your staff over the next year? What areas, as you examine your team, can this person fill to increase the overall climate and culture of your district and school?
Lastly, make your ideal candidate profiles transparent to everyone involved.
When districts share the ideal candidate profile prior to filling positions, they establish a community of trust that permeates to current staff members, district leaders, and potential applicants. An ideal candidate profile will encourage the right candidates to apply for the positions you need to be filled and will give clarity to existing staff members who may serve on interview teams. The more a district or school can share exactly what they are looking for, the more ideal candidates will be identified, much like the old wanted pages that specifically spelled out what a buyer was looking to purchase.
As an example of posting Ideal Candidate Profiles, Decatur Township, one of the Leaders Connect E3+ districts, provides the following information on its website.
As you embark on a crucial next few months, we hope that you can take some of the ideas we have gathered from our Leaders Connect (E3+) districts and start creating or enhancing your own ideal candidate profiles to not only get ahead of the hiring race but improve the overall instruction within your district for the year to come.
Does your district already have an ideal candidate profile? Share what it is in the comment section below!
About the Author | Jack Birmingham
Jack Birmingham has been a teacher and administrator for over 35 years. Since 2001, Jack’s administrative path included assistant principal, athletic director, principal and assistant superintendent. Currently, he serves as MSD Decatur Township and E3+ Recruitment/Retention coach. Jack continues to serve the leaders of Indiana, mentoring building leaders through the Indiana Association of School Principals, presenting on school climate and is the author of the school leadership book, Carnivals 2 Theme Parks, published in 2019.
Follow Jack on Twitter, here.
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