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Making the Right Hiring Decisions

Editor's Note: Today's guest post comes from Dr. Scott Taylor~ an educator from New Jersey.
Hire character. Train skill. ~ Peter Schutz
It makes a lot of sense to find people who are ready to engage in a lifelong career in learning. Some teacher candidates come to the interview prepared to answer all the questions. I dont care as much about the answers as I do the delivery and the unspoken personality nuggets behind the answers.
I can teach teachers about differentiated instruction~ anticipatory set~ or cooperative learning strategies. I cant teach people how to be inquisitive~ nurturing~ collegial~ or self-reflective. These are usually innate traits that come with the personality package.
Dont make interviews about questions and answers; make them about conversations around topical issues related to learning and teaching. Unorthodox talking points can bring out the real personality in someone. For instance~ ask a candidate to tell you about his/her most embarrassing teaching moment and hope the discussion shows you an honest~ self-reflective and nurturing individual. The candidates description of the event~ his/her response to the circumstance and lessons learned can tell you more about someone youre hoping to professionally marry for life than a list of questions about pedagogy.
The time to check instructional skill sets is the lesson demonstration. Scheduling the demonstration after vetting the candidates personality credentials filters out those who are too raw to bring on board.

Dr. Scott Taylor is currently an Assistant Superintendent in Kenilworth~ New Jersey~ and an adjunct for the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. He has served as an teacher~ assistant principal~ principal~ and curriculumdirector at all K-12 levels. Dr. Taylor received his Doctorate from Columbia University and his B.A. and Ed.M. from Rutgers University. He can be followed on Twitter ( and via his website-target="_blank"


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