Congratulations, you've made it to the final interview! It's time to show the hiring committee exactly why you are the best fit for their district and community. As a finalist you should be excited to share what you can offer the district and bring to the community rather than anxious about the process. As you prepare for the final interview, realize it is all about FIT. Here are helpful ways to ensure you present yourself in the best way possible.
Formal Interview Schedule First, know the schedule. It is has not been shared you can always ask before you arrive. This is very important so you know the audiences you are talking with and what the day will look like. This will also take some variables off the table and you can focus on your skills and qualifications and connect with those you are interviewing with. If you are creating handouts for the day it will also ensure you have enough copies by knowing the schedule and size of interview teams in advance.
Interview Tips At this point in the hiring process, you should know what they are looking for and what you can offer the district. Stories, examples, and data from your current job is important to share throughout the formal interview process. This is all part of knowing what you can offer and being transparent, genuine and honest with yourself and the interview team. If you are not selected as the successful candidate, you'll know someone must have been a better fit if you do everything you can to present your qualifications through the formal interview process. However, if you didn't truly highlight your skills and qualifications, you might be very disappointed in your preparedness. Do your best on researching the district, putting your skills and qualifications forward and letting them identify who is truly the best FIT for the job.
Handouts You might consider preparing artifacts for the interview. A customized entry plan with logos and colors for the district is a nice touch that will be noted. You can also bring your resume, news articles, a lesson plan or something you've taught, or a professional development plan that you've delivered to a district. These are all draft artifacts that can highlight your skills and qualifications. They also show your preparedness. Too many artifacts are not necessarily an advantage- keep all of these artifacts succinct and customized. See a more detailed list of possible evidence or artifacts on the below document. If you have a website or online portfolio you might consider actually putting the link in your cover letter or sharing it with the hiring team prior to your formal interviews. An entry plan for the position is frequently the artifact candidates present to the hiring team. For guidance on developing an entry plan and to see some sample plans visit this GLS page for new hires.
Questions for the Interview Teams You should also be prepared with your own questions for the interview team(s). Many of the questions will be answered throughout the process, but other questions might not. Your questions can be both professional or personal questions throughout the day. You'll have to decide which interview teams you'll ask which questions or perhaps ask the same questions to each group if you have time. Again, you should also be interviewing the district for FIT just like they are interviewing you.
Silver Bullets Silver bullets are well-thought-0ut answers to questions you can anticipate. You should not memorize answers to these questions but you should have talking points when questions like this (or similar to) get asked. Some of these questions are:
Why are you interested in this position?
What are your strengths? weaknesses?
What is your leadership style?
What is your understanding about our district?
Why are you the best candidate for the position?
First Impression What do you want a district to know in your first impression in the first seven seconds? Will you try to shake hands with everyone or enter the room and simply smile and say hello? What will you wear to the formal interviews? When will you share the artifacts you have prepared? Be intentional about the first impression you want to convey but make sure you convey yourself and don't try to give a false impression. Often wearing school colors is a nice touch that will be recognized by many on the hiring team.
Practice Interviewing Options Consider recording yourself on a mock interview via YouTube, Quicktime, FlipGridd, a flip camera or another recording platform. Record a few answers to some of the mock interview questions. The recording will not lie, so watch yourself on tape as you prepare for the formal interviews. Critique your answers and the perception that the hiring team might have of you. Consider your answers, body language, and tone of voice. Our recommendation is to thinking about key points you would share to particular interview questions without trying to memorize answers.
GLS also offers a mock interview option. We are prepared to sit down and prepare you for the formal interview. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to provide you with this service.
Spouse Schedule It is important that your significant other is also included on the formal interview process and also get their questions answered. Indeed the process is a family decision and the hiring team does not want you to delay accepting an offer because your family still has questions about the district or community. It is ok to ask the hiring team or GLS consultant to arrange for your spouse to visit with people or important places in the community. Most of the time they will be pleased you asked and happy to showcase what they have to offer you and your family. If they (your spouse and/or children) can't come the day of the scheduled interview you may go ahead of time. Use the below document to help identify who your spouse might want to meet with during your formal interview and what places they also might want to see.
Final Thoughts You are well-prepared so leave it all on the table. An interview is simply a professional conversation. So be prepared, do your best, take a deep breath and know it's all about FIT. If you don't get the job, someone must have been a better fit. Good luck, and go showcase what you have to offer!
Congratulations on your new position as a district leader! It's time to prepare for success. You've got the job, and now you want to make sure you're off to a great start with the support of the community and the board. Let's go through some things to consider to ensure you get off on the right foot.
Reflect on the Hiring Process First, take some time to reflect on the hiring process. What questions were asked over and over again? Those questions can be telling on what the district and board are looking for and can be opportunities for early wins in your new position. Perhaps it's being visible in the district or addressing district finances. Whatever it is, consider what came out of the hiring process.
Seek Advice If you were hired through GLS, we're going to share with you advice through the community stakeholder survey. Consider this insightful advice as you set up your entry plan and be intentional about getting off to a great start.
I'd also encourage you to use available resources. Talk with a current leader and transition with their guidance. This can include going to board meetings with them and also going to the district during operational hours. It can also include IASB, ISFIS, and experts in the field that know the district and have worked with your district in the past. These are additional things you can do to prepare for success. It's also a good idea to ask questions of these experts- but have specific questions answered that you feel you need to be successful.
Again, one thing that often transcends success for any district in any position is being visible so the community and district can get to know you and feel comfortable with you as the new leader. This ensures a smooth transition and is something most districts appreciate up front.
Entry Plan Additionally, having a plan and being intentional about sharing your plan will serve you well as you take on your new role. The board can better communicate your plan if they know it and answer questions about your leadership to the community if you have taken the time to share your plan with them.
Respect The Current Leader Many new building and district leaders are excited to get started. The school board is also excited about getting to know you and wanting to know your ideas and perspectives as you begin the transition process. However, you must realize that you are are not on contract yet and should respect the role of the current leadership. You may consider asking the current superintendent about how involved they want you to be in the transition. See the Transition Questions document below that may lead to a smooth transition and help inform you on some key areas.
First Things First Finally, take care of your family first. A new position can mean selling/Purchasing a home, considering a church, helping your spouse find another job and many other new endeavors. Personal things can be a drawback to your professional journey. So make sure your personal obligations and family are taken care of before you are visible in the community and start your new job even before you're on contract.