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The 3 “i’s” of an ideal candidate

What would the ideal candidate be like for a position at your school? If you were in charge of interviews, would you look for content experts, relationship builders, or community members? There are so many potential strengths we could look for that it quickly becomes overwhelming. Not having a focus that works for your school for the ideal job candidate can cause discontinuity. This means that in the classrooms drastically different things can be happening because the overarching theme wasn't clear when hiring. Additionally this makes building the school culture much more difficult, or impossible. This post could be a job posting, if followed it could lead to a school filled with successful educators that were on a similar page. An ideal job applicant , in my opinion, would have the following attributes:

Be interesting

Teachers must be more than the content they teach. Do they have outside interests, and hobbies? These interests don't necessarily need to relate to the content area they teach, although it is a plus if they do. Bonus points if they can create analogies and connections with student's interests as well as their own. But the point is that the people who spend the most time with our young people should be well rounded, and interesting. There are many opportunities to improve the classroom environment with a well timed conversation about something not primarily focused on course content. Ultimately this shows students that teachers are more complex than they think initially. And of course, this models what it is like to be a well rounded grown-up.

 

Display intellect

Teachers and administrators should be well versed in topics beyond their content area. Educators should be knowledgable people who have a broad understanding of the world around them. The key to this is reading copiously. I always remember that each interview I went on I was asked about what I was currently engaged in reading. This question is an essential component of the interview. The answer opens an understanding into the persons habits. I find that readers are people who are constantly learning and growing both essential skills for educators. This growth allows for a breadth of comprehension which forms empathy for others.

Be inquisitive

Educators should always asking questions. Whether it is learning more about their own content or pushing themselves to learn more about how to create classroom environments that best suit their students.  Successful educators naturally gravitate towards figuring out how things work, why things are the way they are or where phrases come from. Questioning is an essential skill, one that students should see and experience first hand. A question along these lines could include asking about something a candidate is learning, and not terribly good at yet. Their answers will shed insight into how they view growth and vulnerability.

Ideal Candidate

Want to add some of these ideals into your hiring process? See how you might incorporate the list below by incorporating questions about interests, current events or reading habits.

  • Always interesting
  • Display intellect
  • Very inquisitive

I'm sure that the candidates who can interact with you surrounding these items will be more productive and successful in the long run. This is because anyone can learn content. So called soft skills  are more difficult to learn- and in some cases impossible. By asking the right questions, you can gain a better understanding as to the depth of someones commitment to being a life long learner and how they view growth. These are arguably the two most important qualities of a successful educator and person.

About Jasper Sr.

Jasper Fox Sr. is in his fourteenth year of teaching science in New York State. An avid writer and connected educator, he maintains an active Twitter presence as @JasperFoxSR and writes regularly about improving educational practice to help all students succeed.