A screening process is often the next phase in the hiring process. This could be in person, on a webinar, or via phone. This is often short, so you must make sure your qualifications are clearly conveyed in the time you have. The first thing is knowing what you can offer the district and making sure it is made clear in the screening interview. Perhaps the search firm or district has offered desired qualifications or insights that they might be looking for in this particular position. If so, you should consider how your skills and qualifications align to what the district is seeking. Again, this is what FIT is all about and it is important you highlight your strengths in this short screening process.
If you have taken the Advanced Insights profile through GLS, consider reviewing your profile. What are your talents and skills you bring to the table? This is a helpful resource to demonstrate how you match what the district needs in their next leader. Practice Interview Questions Next, it is important to respect the time of those doing the screening. This means that your answers should be succinct. This goes back to your preparedness and highlighting what you can offer. Don't elaborate too much on stories and examples, but certainly answer the questions directly. Stories and examples are a great way to screen, and people remember them. However, it is important that you tell the story succinctly in the same manner that you answer other questions. See potential screening question at the bottom of the page.
Use Your Resources To be successful during screening, you must also do your homework. We have many resources at our fingertips and it would serve you well to research the district you are interviewing with. Know what they are looking for, know what the deficiencies, and highlight what you can offer around those particular areas. Do this tactfully, not to step on the district's toes, but you will want to address how your strengths could benefit the district's needs in both columns. Some resources to leverage to prepare for your screening interview include:
Iowa Report Card
Iowa Department of Education website
Recent school board minutes
District Annual Progress Report (APR)
Calls or emails to people you may know in the district or community
District newsletters or community newspapers
School Administrators of Iowa (SAI)
Salary & Benefits Hopefully the salary and benefits package has been shared with you. If not, asking what the district is offering in a salary and benefits package is appropriate in this phase of the hiring process. As you consider the job opportunity, you might seek salary comparison information from the department of education website. Two ways to specifically compare salaries would be by similar school size and another by conference average.
Now is also the time to make sure this position and district is a good fit for your family. If you are being screened, you've made the initial cut. If you are named a finalist you should be prepared to take the job if offered, so make sure your family is on board as well.
Preparing Your Questions Finally, if there is time for questions, make sure you come prepared with questions that you really need to know. Use this time wisely, and think through questions before you get to the interview. It's important to remember you're interviewing the district just as much as they are interviewing you. It needs to be a good fit for both you and the district so use the screening interview to your advantage to learn things that you were not able to find during your own research. There are no curtesy interviews so make sure you are as prepared as you can be for this step in the process.
Some questions to consider asking:
What is the hiring timeline? When do you expect to make a decision on the hire?
What are the immediate needs for the new hire?
What are your 3 year goals for this new hire?
How will you support me if I am identified as the best candidate for the job?
What will the district and community offer my family?
Pre-Negotiations Document Although you have not been named a finalist yet nor got a formal offer you should begin thinking about what you would expect if you do get the offer. The pre-negotiations document will help you identify what is most important to you and what is reasonable to ask for. You can visit the Iowa Department of Education website to identify comparable salaries for the position and talk with the GLS team to identify what might be fair to ask for if you are the successful candidate. You can also review the negotiations list from Roark Horn at School Administrators of Iowa to think about other contract terms that may be worth asking for.