Kent City Community Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

3120E - INTERVIEWING AND EVALUATING CANDIDATES FOR CLASSROOM TEACHING POSITIONS

Evaluation is the key to successful hiring. Evaluation involves a number of important steps, each of which is important. Effective evaluation takes time and work and good cooperation and communication among those involved.

 

A.

The first step is developing a clear understanding of exactly what is desired or needed. Gather information about the current status and results of the classes, program, or activities for which you are hiring. Envision them operating in the way and getting the kinds of results most desired. Conclude about the key kinds of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and personality traits a teacher will need to achieve the kinds of results desired.

   
 

B.

The second step is gathering insight and information about the candidate(s). The evaluator normally has three (3) sources of information and insight: (a) the written application, (b) references, both written and oral, provided by the candidate and solicited by the evaluator, and (c) the interview(s). At times the evaluator will be able to take advantage of a valuable fourth, (d) direct observation of the candidate in a current position. In each case the focus should be on gaining insight into the degree to which the candidate possesses, or shows potential to possess the key factors identified as desired in the first step. The evaluator should also note other abilities or weaknesses not thought about which might substitute for, enhance, or detract from desired ones.

   
 

C.

The third step is comparing the candidate's abilities and characteristics with the desired ones and determining how good the match is.

   
 

D.

The fourth step is making a decision about whether the determined match is a good enough one. If there are multiple candidates, a decision should be made about which match is the best. If none are good enough, then the process is continued.

It is as important to ask good follow-up questions as it is to ask good initiating questions at each step of the evaluation procedure. They are important in gaining understanding of current status, in inferring needed qualities and characteristics, and in determining whether or not those are present. Four (4) important kinds of follow-up questions are:

 

A.

Clarifying Questions - The evaluator asks clarifying questions when s/he is honestly not sure that s/he understands something. It is better to ask while the person who can answer is still there than to wonder later. Getting specific examples often clarifies what a candidate (or reference) means when s/he uses a term.

   
 

You say that you have taught State History before. Was that in this State or while you were teaching in New York?

     
 

B.

Expanding or Developing Questions - When the evaluator needs to know more about something but doesn't want to guide the candidate (or reference) to "say what the evaluator wants to hear", s/he asks broad expanding or developing questions which merely invite the candidate (or reference) to "tell me more about that".

   
 

I understand that you have experience with time-out and off-trust procedures. Please tell me more about that experience.

     
 

C.

Focus Narrowing Questions - The evaluator asks narrower focus questions to get the candidate (or reference) to talk about a specific aspect of a topic that bears on a desired quality or characteristic and which the candidate (or reference) did not bring up when asked expanding questions.

   
 

What effects, specifically, did you find that the use of the off-trust procedure had on the subsequent behavior of the children?

     
 

D.

Reasoning Questions - Having the candidate (or reference) answer, "Why did you decide to?" or, "What led you to that conclusion?" questions provide information about priorities, attitudes, thinking skills, and quality of supporting evidence.

   
 

What was the evidence and thinking that led you to decide that you would be more effective in a suburban district like this?

The same kind of follow-up questions should be asked of all, including the evaluators themselves, involved in steps one, three, and four of the evaluation.

The Interview Process

 

A.

When the interview is scheduled:

   
 

1.

ensure that there is mutual understanding of time, place, and anticipated duration;

   
 

2.

provide the candidate with a description of the position to be filled and a copy of the job description for that position. Encourage him/her to be ready to ask for explanations of anything not clear in those documents.

   
 

B.

Before the interview:

   
 

1.

review the application and references:

   
 

a.

noting whether any further evidence of meeting eligibility qualification (e.g. appropriate teaching certificate) is needed;

   
 

b.

identifying which desired qualities and characteristics are sufficiently demonstrated (or proven to be absent) by the documents;

   
 

c.

identifying which desired qualities and characteristics will have to be determined by asking follow-up questions or initiating and then follow-up questions;

   
 

2.

prepare needed memory aids to ensure that information and insight needed will be obtained.

   
 

C.

The Interview

   
 

1.

Establish an atmosphere that is businesslike but not intimidating.

   
 

2.

Provide an overview of the sequence or procedure to be followed, e.g.

   
 

I would like to begin by asking some very broad questions to help us think about your basic priorities and procedures. Then I want to ask you some more specific questions about yourself and your strengths and experiences. Finally, I want to give you a chance to expand on anything you want to expand on and ask about anything that isn't clear in the job description, the position, or anything I have said today.

   
 

3.

Ask broad questions to get insight into the candidate's approach to teaching, priorities, and grasp of effective procedures, e.g.

   
 

Based on your experience and your understanding of the position we are talking about please give me your thoughts about the following. If you receive the position, what would you most like to accomplish by the end of the first year? What would you like your class(es) or students to be like by that time?

   
 

Ask clarifying, expanding, and narrowing focus questions as needed.

   
 

Why would you think that would be the most important thing for you to accomplish?

   
 

Ask clarifying, expanding, narrowing focus, and reasoning questions as needed.

   
 

How would you go about accomplishing it?

     
 

Ask clarifying, expanding, narrowing focus, and reasoning questions as needed.

   
 

(Find out if the candidate has a framework or understanding that identifies important outcomes and sees how to put various kinds of knowledge, skills, and motivation together to accomplish them.)

   
 

4.

Ask questions related to specific desired qualities and characteristics identified as the key or most important ones in the first step of the evaluation process. There will never be time to explore all areas so the interviewer should focus on those most important ones. Use appropriate follow-up questions. Ask:

   
 

a.

questions relating to specific qualities and characteristics needed for the positions, e.g.4

   
 

Developing the children's reading skills is an important responsibility in this position. What methods or techniques have you had experience with, and which have you found to be most effective?

   
 

b.

questions relating to specific qualities and characteristics needed to meet the requirements of the job description, e.g.

   
 

You will have the primary responsibility for discipline in the classroom. What would you say are your strengths and, if any, weaknesses in area of discipline?

   
 

5.

Ask questions related to the position and job description that provide insights into qualities and characteristics that could expand on, substitute for, or detract from desired qualities and characteristics, and appropriate follow-up questions, e.g.

   
 

Which, if any, items on the job description or statements about the specific position would you like me to clarify or expand on?

   
 

Which ones of them do you feel describe areas in which you are unusually strong?

   
 

What, if any, other areas of strength do you have that aren't mentioned in the description but will help you do an effective job?

   
 

Which, if any, of the items are areas in which you will need help or are ones you cannot, in good conscience, say you will do your best to meet?

   
 

6.

Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions.

   
 

What questions would you like to ask me about the community, the school, and/or the position?

   
 

D.

Immediately after the interview the evaluator should make notes on key information and insights gained. The evaluator should consciously ask himself/herself follow-up questions, especially reasoning ones (What led me to conclude that? Is there sufficient accurate information to support that statement?), when recording insights.

© Neola 2012