In our quest to find educators with the "get it" factor, we find ourselves at the start of the process: hiring a potential rockstar. Today's discussion deals less with what the applicant offers, and more with your mindset, as a leader, sitting across the table from them.
We aso discuss the characteristics of how to "get it" if you are a new or beginning teacher. This article will show you how to feel confident sitting across the table from the suits.
Advice to leaders on who to hire
The Pragmatic TV Teacher has discussed identifying and keeping exceptional young teachers.
Here is the advice: hire for strengths rather than for a lack of weaknesses.
If we want to find rockstar teachers, we need to find the Outliers, as Malcom Gladwell calls them. They are the individuals on the very tips of our bell curves.
An outlier educator will have weaknesses, but also very visible and apparent strengths.
"Well... an outlier can be opposite from a rockstar and be terrible" I'm sure you're thinking.
This is what I'm thinking: being a trained educator, you're an expert at finding the opposite of superior; trust your gut.
30 minutes is very little time to dig deep into your applicants and chances are a solid, mediocre applicant won't exhibit an obvious weaknesses. But everybody has a weakness. Don't assume that because you were unable to identify a weakness, that the applicant fails to have one. Assume that they are somehow flawed (yes I know the saying about assuming).
Find someone that shines because they have jaw-dropping strengths that can truly improve your school. Accept that they will have weaknesses and do your best to focus on what they have to offer.
Advice to teachers on how to get hired
Leaders are looking for educators with the "get it" factor.
"What is the get it factor?" you're asking.
Good question, but a place to start is here. You need to separate yourself from the rest of the applicants. The applicants for THE job, yourself included, already passed the eye exam: you look good enough on paper to interview.
Inherently, there is nothing obviously wrong with you, and you are all safe bets.
Here is the advice to separate yourself from the other applicants: focus on your strengths and communicate them effectively.
Everybody has weaknesses and a sign of a mature educator is not only acknowledging your weaknesses, but working to improve them. The school leaders interviewing you assume that, as a new teacher, you'll need to develop.
So don't be ashamed or embarrassed that you have deficiencies, everybody is expected to need help when they begin teaching.
So rather than shying around your weaknesses, acknowledge them and move on to highlight your strengths.
Leaders aren't looking for a solid educator. They are looking to get WOWED and excited by an applicant.
Knock them off their seats by effectively communicating the aspects of teaching you have already mastered.
A little more...
For those of you that are thinking there is something more to the puzzle, this extension is for you.
This discussion has a hint of decision theory.
The proposed construct is an example of loss aversion.
Loss aversion is everywhere and refers to the fact that deciders prefer to avoid losses rather than acquire gains.
We are cognitively predisposed to play it safe and choose the individual with no apparent weakness. Lacking weaknesses appeals to our cognitive bias: being loss aversive, we are more likely to focus on the absence or presence of weaknesses because we place more value in them.
In essence, we want to avoid losses.
Hiring someone is a risk and we'd like to avoid their downside. Hiring someone without apparent weaknesses is the manifestation of this bias.
That thinking is flawed because everybody needs improvement. You'll never hire the perfect employee. Knowing that everybody will need a bit of help, you should target the applicants that shine above the rest.
Focus on individuals who have apparent strengths and stay away from those that don't appear to have any weaknesses.
What advice can you give to teachers looking for a job? Connect with The Pragmatic TV Teacher and share your thoughts!
Thanks for reading.