The screening interview, the committee interview, the central office interview and the board of education interview are the typical stages in the series of interviews that a candidate for a leadership position must face. Each of these interviews is unique by nature. The differences pertain to the goals, length, composition and number of interviewers, the substance of the questions, and the form of the interactions. The interviewing process can be perceived as a sports analogy. In basketball for instance, the first quarter strategy is often characterized as getting off to a fast offense start, during half-time the team makes adjustments to their strategy, at the end of a close game the strategy often evolves into a tight defensive game. In other words, the nature of the interviewing process evolves, and the candidate’s approach must adapt in order to continue to be successful and move on to the next phase.
One of the most frequent comments I hear from clients is, “I do well on my first interview, but seldom do I move beyond that in the process”. The reason for that is that most candidates are unprepared to make adjustments. Strategies that work early in the process such as making a good initial impression, demonstrating knowledge of the school-community, exuding self-confidence and positive energy are all approaches that make you successful at the initial phase. Demonstrating good judgement, a strong set of pedagogical knowledge and skills, and a sensitivity to understanding diverse stakeholders’ views in dealing with controversies are examples of strategies that work in the middle of the process. Finally, the ability to assure school leaders that you are a good fit in the leadership team and your ability to close the deal are essential at the end of the process.
Your skillfulness in making these adjustments is the key to your success in getting the job. Navigating this journey on a trial and error basis can turn into a long, disappointing and frustrating process. Consider the reality that you need guidance, like any other trips into unfamiliar territories. Wherever you are in the world, I’m just a phone call away. I can be your coach.