We're proud to announce that Christina Greenberg spent the summer researching and co-writing Education Cities'  newest publication. This paper explains how recruiting, supporting and investing in top school leaders can strengthen the labor market and accelerate the growth of public schools. 

Brief intro to the paper:

Our members work across four strategies to dramatically increase the number of great schools in their cities. Their work to grow high-quality school supply means they replicate great schools, incubate new schools, attract successful school networks from other cities, or improve or replace schools that are not serving students well.

Education Cities believes our members and other city leaders are not utilizing one key tactic that could yield big results: the private-sector style recruiting of top school leaders from other markets. In one word: poaching.

How Cities Can Compete for Great School Leaders details what we are calling a Talent 3.0 approach – and explains how recruiting, supporting, and investing in top school leaders can strengthen the labor market and accelerate the growth great public schools.

And you can read the whole thing HERE

AuthorClair Tannenbaum

We all know the pain points when our talent practices aren’t working: difficulty filling positions, increased staff turnover and burnout, low staff morale, and overarching downgrading of talent over time as top performers seek employers who have their talent practices in order. And there is a plethora of research outlining the financial implications of these challenges. For example, the price of one employee leaving is estimated at 150% times that employee’s annual salary.

And the implications do not stop there. Who achieves an organization’s goals? People. Who implements an organization’s marketing strategy? People. Who raises money to support an organization’s programs and growth? People. So why wouldn’t everyone have same level of rigor around their talent strategy as they do around marketing and fundraising strategies? Especially when the success of achieving an organization’s mission is so obviously dependent on the people employed there.

Here are five steps your organization can take now to build a talent strategy that is aligned with organizational goals and priorities:

1.     Understand what your organization is trying to achieve. This means setting concrete and measurable organization wide goals that the talent strategy can be designed around to support. For example, if your organization is planning on launching a new service or program, the talent team will need to ensure they have talent pools at the ready to fill new openings.

2.     Assess your current bench. Do the people in your organization have the skills and experience required to achieve these goals? Or, are you venturing into a new area that requires bringing new expertise into the organization. Maybe your organization is growing in size and complexity requiring a more sophisticated management skill set. The talent team needs to be aware of these changes on the horizon in order to plan for professional development that will prepare staff for the future and to fill certain gaps with new talent.

3.     Survey your staff. It is critically important to understand staff engagement. Are people fired up and inspired to give it their all everyday or is a lack of engagement and enthusiasm getting in the way of your organization’s success.  

4.     Start leveraging data. Data driven decision-making is the anchor for any effective talent strategy. Without it, your organization will be shooting blind at an unknown target. For example, individual staff performance data should inform every single decision your organization makes about talent:  who gets promoted, where you invest professional development resources, how you embed strategic succession planning to prepare for future organizational evolution. Market data should inform how much individuals are compensated and how. Engagement data should inform priorities for improvement.

5.     Put it all together to inform your talent strategy. Once you know what your organization aspires to achieve, what skill gaps exist in your talent pool, how engaged your staff are, and have concrete data to refer to, your strategy will become clear. Top talent priorities and areas of urgency will rise to the surface.  Now, your job will be to translate these into concrete goals, initiatives, and actions that the organization can take to advance talent practices throughout.

AuthorAllison Wyatt

What an amazing game against Japan!  As I watched the USA Women’s Final World Cup game, I wondered how Jill Ellis (head coach) goes about choosing the right players for the team. There are young players and veterans who bring an unique understanding of the game. Offensive and defensive players who have different skills but can only work together to be a powerhouse. There are natural leaders that get the team pumped when they are down but also competitive players that want all the glory themselves. There are thousands of women that have played soccer their whole lives.  How do you find the right 12 players that will work so effectively as a group that they can score a goal in 2 minutes in the biggest platform for women’s soccer?

How important is it to hire the right person for the job? There are so many questions that each organization needs to consider before making a hiring decision. Once you determine the non-negotiables from the questions below, you can create interview questions.

Here are a few key questions I recommend:

  1. Is skill set more important than culture fit?  

  2. Do you have the right balance of skill sets on the team?  What is needed?

  3. Do you need a leader or follower (or both)?

  4. Is finding the right person more important than meeting a timeline for the hire?

  5. What type of person will be aligned with your organization’s core values?

  6. Is it important to hire someone who has the potential to be promoted?  Do you need a seasoned, experienced employee or someone newer in their career who has potential?

When the all the right players are on the team, it is unbelievable what can be accomplished! Scoring 4 goals in 16 minutes in a World Cup Final can be just the beginning!

AuthorViviana Pyle
2 CommentsPost a comment

My colleagues and I regularly get called upon to help schools and education organizations find the best candidates to fill key positions in their organizations. We are skilled at combing our extensive nationwide networks and researching prospects in similar roles to identify top candidates. Still, hiring managers sometimes struggle to settle on a final candidate, wanting to hold out for the “unicorn” candidate.


Everybody loves a unicorn. Unicorns are those magical, mystical creatures that have all the most desirable characteristics and traits. The unfortunate truth, though, is that unicorns don’t actually exist. Which might be why some observers of the May 2nd boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were disappointed.

Hype and anticipation accompanied the weeks and months leading up to the title match in Vegas. Fans and the media excitedly looked for this to be the biggest fight in recent memory, harkening back to the “glory days” of boxers like Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Sugar Ray. Now that it’s over, fans are complaining that it was boring, lacked excitement, wasn’t worth the hype or the money Pay-Per-View viewers and attendees of the live event paid to see it. They’d hoped to see the kind of dramatic moments in boxing that die hard fans never forget, those magical, mystical moments that get replayed for generations to come.

What they got instead were two accomplished boxers who put in exceptional effort and followed the rules. Arguably, Mayweather was victorious because of his precision, consistency, and tenacity. Nothing about either boxer was spectacular, extraordinary, or exceptional, yet both have excelled in their field and won the adoration of legions of fans as a result of what Mayweather would call “hardwork and dedication”. It’s clear they’ve both been successful.

Aren’t these the qualities we all want in a good employee - someone who can be counted on to deliver consistent and dependable results? Is it actually necessary to hold out for someone with almost supernatural talents and abilities rather than hiring the person we can rely on to do their job well and follow the rules? In other words, what really is the allure of the unicorn candidate who seems to have so many strengths that failure seems impossible? We can all agree that our kids need great people leading their schools and the organizations that support them. Yet maybe it’s time for search teams and hiring managers to prioritize consistent, knowledgeable, and dependable talent over the hunt for the seemingly impossible-to-find unicorn candidates. After all, though some might think Floyd Mayweather’s technique lacks dynamism, it has led him to an almost flawless record and recognition as a stand out in his field. 

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.”                                                                                                                                                                     - Winston Churchill

My seven year old recently started playing piano. After the first lesson, his teacher gave him a binder and a sheet to record his assignments for each week and how long he practiced. At first, the practicing was a point of friction for us. My son was resistant to play a series of “C’s” in a particular pattern rather than playing around to figure out “Monster” by Eminem, which he had learned in a class at school. For me, having spent most of my childhood and teenage years as a pretty serious musician, I knew that the only way to really excel was to learn technique and music theory (notes and rhythm) but when I tried to nudge him to play, it came off too strong and he bristled. Luckily, after a month or two, he started to be able to play more interesting songs and feel a sense of pride in his progress and I stopped being so concerned he wouldn’t put in the proper effort, so the conflict has resolved itself.

This experience reminded me of the importance of rote practice, something that is not always fun or pleasant but a key to getting better – if not always becoming “perfect” – at most things. I know that in my family we happen to be pretty musical so it comes relatively easily to my son and me. I also know, though, that I would not be half the musician I was at age 18 if I hadn’t put in hours and hours of practice in the preceding years. Similarly, I was also a pretty serious swimmer for a few years and although I did not have any particular talent or skill for it, I was able to be an above average competitor because of all the early morning dives into the pool and evening practices in which I participated. With our kids, my husband and I focus a lot on “growth mindset” and the importance of hard work (our five year old actually used to think our last name was synonymous with “works hard”) but what about for us as grownups?

Something I spend a lot of time doing professionally is interviewing candidates for leadership roles, assessing their ability to meet a particular standard and move forward in a client’s hiring process. Thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hours” theory from Outliers (although I have to admit that my mind automatically goes to the Macklemore song – I mean, who else talks about Gladwell, David Bowie and Kanye in the same phrase?) I am not sure I literally have spent 10,000 hours interviewing people over the past decade, but if not I think I am getting close. Conducting interviews and hiring people is a skill, just like piano playing or swimming. And yet many of us approach hiring as if we are naturally gifted at it, or automatically know what we are looking for and how to assess it in the brief interactions we have with candidates during a selection process.

To me, this feels a bit like Supreme Court Justice Stewart’s famous “I know it when I see it” statement about pornography – we assume we will just know which candidates are great when we talk with them whether we have taken the time to practice our technique or prep for how to rate candidates' responses in advance. However, unlike Justice Stewart, thousands of hours of interviewing have shown me that our snap judgments are often wrong – even biased in a whole range of troublesome ways - and we usually don’t “know it when we see it” unless we spend time practicing our interviewing techniques and thinking ahead to what we want to get out of each interview before it begins.

When I first started interviewing aspiring principal candidates in my work at New Leaders for New Schools a decade ago, I did not have a clear picture of what I was looking for or how to identify it in an interview process. It was only through conducting rounds of interviews with more experienced colleagues who gave me targeted feedback and rote practice (asking the same questions and listening for the same kinds of responses over and over again) that I became competent in interviewing school leaders. Over the years I have refined my skills, getting better at listening for key pieces of evidence that fit into the competency buckets we are testing and recognizing when a candidate is qualified – and when they are just talking around the answers to my questions, using jargon or saying what they think I want to hear.

One of my favorite kinds of engagements with clients is to support the development of their leader hiring process, facilitating conversations about their priorities for the role, competencies that will lead someone to be successful, and ways of testing candidates’ ability to meet these standards during the selection phase. And then we get to the part where we practice the interviews themselves. It strikes me at these moments how often this is the first time these close colleagues have ever sat together and practiced what they will say to candidates, how they will say it, and what they are looking for in the responses they receive. For me, this is the moment when the magic starts to happen – folks find themselves practicing interview questions and scoring responses relative to a competency framework and they realize together how much more confident they are in their ability to evaluate candidates and make high-quality hiring decisions, feeling better about the whole hiring process in the bargain.

A few weeks ago, my son’s piano teacher asked us to work on a duet to perform at his recital in May. As a result, instead of me calling out to him to practice from the other room, the two of us are sitting down at the piano together almost every night, working through our parts in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” We both get excited when we nail a particular phrase, laugh at ourselves when we mess up, and support each other when we are struggling. My husband likes to come by and just watch us work together on something that used to drive us apart. I can’t guarantee that we will nail every note perfectly when we perform next month, but I do know that our collective practice will set us up for success. And hopefully by modeling my own need to work hard to get something right – and my failures along the way – my seven year old will understand that even grownups need to practice things sometimes to ultimately get them right.

AuthorChristina Greenberg
CategoriesHiring, Working

Even if music is not your forte, you probably recognize its importance as a learning tool for young children. I was thrilled to recently read an enlightening article from the Wall Street Journal about the measurable ways in which music education can reduce achievement gaps between poor and rich school districts, improve cognitive abilities and IQ scores, and even act as an early screening tool for reading disabilities.

When I was growing up I wanted to be an elementary school music teacher.  However, as I watched more public school programs being cut (including my own), I realized that I'd probably be better off aspiring to my second career choice, a public transit bus driver.

Most of us would agree it's a shame that music education programs have become so expendable in our public school system. As more studies reveal the benefits of early musical training in areas of behavior, executive function and organizational skills (especially for underserved students) I wonder if school districts will ever start to reverse the unfortunate trend of cutting these programs before all else. I wish that we didn't have to justify the value of music classes by proving that they boost academic performance--isn't it enough that the acquisition of musical skills will enhance the lives of future generations in less measurable but equally important ways?

No matter your opinion on the presence of music education in our schools, I'm sure you will enjoy with this very cute video of a five year old playing Bach. 

AuthorClair Tannenbaum

If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, this blog on connecting career seeking lessons to the show will get you as excited as Rick's reunion with his baby Judith.  

I know...how can a show about the zombie apocalypse possibly have ANY lessons for career seekers?  Well, I've got three nuggets for you:  

"But I need your help. 'Cause I can't do it by myself. And even if I catch up to Bob, we can't do it alone."  Maggie Greene knew that even in times of survival, she couldn't find Glenn without help.  Finding your next career move is the same thing - you can't do it alone, so NETWORK!  Who are the top three to five people you can count on in your network?  Talk to them immediately to help you reflect on your strengths, growth areas, and how other people perceive you.  Don't wait for a zombie to come up behind you to let you know.  :)

"Get one thing straight. You're staying? This isn't a democracy anymore."  Rick Grimes knew that in times of crisis, waiting to get consensus when zombies are attacking you at all hours isn't the way to keep the group alive.  Leadership is contextual.  As a leader, what kind of work culture are you looking for?  Then based on your strengths and growth areas, are you the kind of leader to match what that culture needs to move forward?

"Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive, survive."  This was the broadcast from Terminus, the supposed sanctuary for The Walking Dead group.  They were welcomed with open arms, but once inside, they soon learned that the Terminus group didn't have their best interests at heart.  Do your research.  When researching organizations, ask around to people who currently work there, and have worked there recently.  It's important to not just hear the good...but the not so good.  Come up with a list of questions to ask each person.  

I'd love to hear if you've gathered leadership lessons from any other shows!  As you watch your next show on DVR, think about what leadership do's and don'ts you're viewing!

AuthorRon Rapatalo

When I first started working in ed reform a decade ago, everyone around me was focused on the needs of low-income students in urban communities. And understandably so. Living in coastal California, in a city (Oakland) that is both the 3rd most diverse in America and also has such a stark divide in the achievement levels of the public school my children attend in the hills and many other schools a few miles away in the city's flatlands, I totally buy into and believe urgently in the need to improve our failing urban schools.  

At the same time, I have been spending more time as of late in rural communities, where the needs are similarly urgent and the children also in need of high-quality school options.  These experiences have made me think a lot about our assumptions of where we should focus our efforts around changing school culture and increasing innovative instructional practices, and what we can do to most move the needle of achievement for all low-income students, regardless of where they live.

Ceiba College Preparatory Academy in Watsonville, CA

Ceiba College Preparatory Academy in Watsonville, CA

Our team is fortunate to be working with a couple of great CA charter schools working in our state’s farming communities this fall. Like their urban counterparts, they are battling the factors of poverty, institutional discrimination, bureaucratic systems that are slow to change, and a general environment that lacks any sense of urgency around improving schools and achievement. They also have the added challenge of isolation from other innovative schools and school systems, a struggle to attract the best talent to live in rural environments, and a less robust support structure for the kinds of services their students and teachers most need. 

However, it would be a mistake to think that these schools are necessarily limited in their ability to thrive and impact student achievement for their local communities. Their leaders are often scrappy and motivated, taking long drives or airplane drives to visit other successful schools and learn about their effective practices. Rural communities’ small size and relative isolation also means they are often places where people look out for one another and work together to ensure everyone succeeds. I have seen some of the most innovative, creative, rigorous things happening at these schools we have been to in the past month and as such, it has led me to be bullish on the fate of rural schools.

Grimmway Academy's Edible Schoolyard, Arvin CA

Grimmway Academy's Edible Schoolyard, Arvin CA

What can those of us in urban locations learn from our rural friends? I think we can learn to maximize our resources, call on others for help as much as we can, work to build thriving school communities that support and nurture one another, and not take for granted the advantages we have living in such proximity to so many other great innovators and resources. And maybe we can remind ourselves to be more generous, thinking of not just the needs of urban students when we take up the cause of education reform, but ALL students in need, regardless of where they live. 

AuthorChristina Greenberg

If you're a talent professional in the education sector, things are likely a bit slower (read: more manageable) for you right now as all the people you hired for this school year settle into their new roles. Still, I always say that education talent recruitment is like working in retail - to be successful you always have to be at least a season ahead. So now with the season officially turned to fall, a good recruitment strategy for your next hiring season needs to start now. But where does one begin?

Evaluate the previous season
Most schools are data-driven environments these days, and the HR/talent team is no exception. Begin your talent strategy planning by looking at all the important data from the previous season. From where did most of your new hires come? Which events or marketing initiatives were most successful? How successful are your newest hires in their roles? What were the candidate pass-through rates for each phase of the selection process?

Begin with the end in mind
Particularly for anyone working in a growing charter school or network, you'll need to know what new positions are anticipated for the coming year. Is your organization adding a new grade? Are new positions being added as part of the transition to Common Core? Connect with whomever is charged with the academic program to find out what they have in mind. (But keep in mind that it could change!)

The talent shuffle
Take a current faculty and staff list and sit down with your school's leaders to determine who they anticipate will return to their same position next year. Is anyone being promoted to a new role? Who is considering a cross-country move, planning to be a stay-at-home mom, or planning for grad school? Use the fall season to start identifying these potential transitions to help you assess what openings you'll need to fill. You'll start to identify some definite openings and some possible ones.

Survey and Interview staff
Want to know what people like about working at your organization, what made them choose your school over another offer, or what candidates most liked and disliked about the selection process? Just ask your staff. This information will be invaluable in putting together a talent recruitment marketing plan, figuring out where to recruit, and tweaking your selection process. Don't forget to use the opportunity to ask them what educator rockstars they know who might be interested in future openings!

Review your selection process
When I was Chief Talent Officer at DC Prep, I called this "reflection and refinement" in honor of one of our organizational values. Ultimately, you want to be sure the steps you take to select staff in different roles are efficient while also being aligned with your values and expectations of staff. You can get even more bang for your buck if it is well aligned with your performance management system and observation/feedback cycle. Further, it is important to get clear about what you're looking for in staff before you start recruiting them to ensure both processes are aligned.

Review your marketing materials
Have you updated your website, social media sites, and print materials since the last hiring season? Make sure these properly reflect what's happening in your schools and promote your school in the best light. Think about how the sites reflect what you value most in staff. For instance, if you want data-driven and results-oriented staff, include student achievement data and examples of the kinds of results your teachers and leaders have garnered for students. As much as possible, try to show and not just tell the things that make your school great by including videos, pictures, and graphic representations.

Candidate cultivation
Plan ahead, get clear about your hiring needs, and make sure your materials are a good reflection of your organization, but don't wait another minute to cultivate prospective candidates already in your database. Remember that awesome candidate from last season who decided not to move at the last minute? Or that leader you didn't have the right role for last year but think you might next year? Send them an email or give them a call just to check in, include them on your organization's e-newsletter, or invite them to an event at your school. They'll love that you remember them and who knows how circumstances might change for you and them in the next cycle.

Our team just loves coaching and consulting with talent professionals to support these proactive components of talent strategy. Let us know how we can help you get ahead of the game. Talent strategy is all about planning and it takes the talent professionals at your school or organization to lead the way in securing the best talent pool. Don't delay!

Salary Transparency and the Modern Workplace

One morning this summer, I was doing one of my neighborhood runs with the dog listening to a Planet Money podcast (yes, I am a not-so-secret economic policy nerd) and the topic of the show that morning piqued my interest. I was drawn to it in part because it was closely related to something our team spent a lot of time working on last year – how organizations structure and share out information about their compensation systems. [For more info, I highly recommend listening to Planet Money Episode 550: “When Salaries Aren’t a Secret.”]

Now even if you are not someone who specializes in HR or compensation policy, please keep reading! I know this topic sounds dry and uninteresting to most people but it actually relates to something that is really important to all of us employed in the traditional economy – how much money we make each year and how open our organizations are (or should be) about not only our salary and benefits package but that of all of our colleagues, including your boss, her boss, and so on. Unless we work in a traditional union environment, most of us take it for granted that individuals’ salaries are generally private matters and although many of us are comfortable walking up to the new neighbor and asking how much they paid for their house, few of us would feel brazen enough to ask that same person how much income they declared on their W2 last year.

And yet, what I found so great about this podcast – and it lined up well with research our team did in the past year around compensation practices and strategies, including interviews Alicia Robinson and I conducted with a number of different education organization employees – was it gave examples of companies who decided to go against tradition and open up their “books” so that their salary decisions were open to every person working there.  The reason this so appealed to me was that, during our conversations with employees of different education reform organizations, experts in the field, and our review of the literature, we came to a similar conclusion that much of people’s dissatisfaction with their salary and benefits comes from a feeling of uncertainty: uncertainty about what they are paid compared to their colleagues; uncertainty about how salary decisions are made; uncertainty about what to do to improve their situation if they do have a concern. 

One of the start-up leaders profiled in the piece said that earlier management experiences around salary led him to institute a completely open policy around compensation from the time he started his company.  In this example, every position at the company had a dollar range associated with it and each person was given a salary within that range when they were hired (standard practice for most places these days), but then – and this is what was revolutionary – there was a published excel spreadsheet that every employee had access to with the details of each person’s compensation. Each person, from the least experienced admin assistant to the CEO. And what happened? Did employees rebel or flee en masse? Was there upset and discomfort about having these things in the public eye? Actually, overall the leaders of this organization found that when they opened things up and created a system of total transparency, it had overwhelmingly positive effects.

By making salary public, management made a statement that nothing was hidden behind closed doors while also dramatically decreasing that natural level of uncertainty experienced by employees.  In this scenario, people knew where they stood compared with others. With that information out in the open, they felt comfortable approaching their superiors to ask how salaries were assigned and so direct conversations about compensation became more commonplace. Managers made salary decisions knowing they would have to be able to justify them to everyone so they were more deliberate and systematic in placing people on the salary scale. And as a result, managers and employees reported higher satisfaction with their compensation package and workplace culture and climate as a whole.

This kind of transparency may not be the right fit for every organization, and the reporters and experts interviewed agreed that it is more challenging to convert a salary system from being private to public than to launch a company with a public compensation ethos from the start.  But for me, it provides an interesting example and food for thought for talent managers as we try to reward, incent, and retain the best people. And maybe a potential new solution to discuss with clients and colleagues as we continue this work in the year ahead.

AuthorChristina Greenberg
2 CommentsPost a comment

The other day, a friend of mine asked me for some advice on how to hire a swim coach for a summer recreational league.  Although I am not an expert swimming coach, as a seasoned educational recruiter this inquiry led me to consider the similarities and differences between hiring for this position and one of the school leader roles I so often work on.  In the end, I decided that while the two roles clearly require a different set of technical skills, they both require strikingly similar leadership abilities.  And what I have found after years of recruiting is that technical proficiency can be much more easily quantified and verified than the more elusive and subjective areas of leadership style and skills. Thus the reason so many clients and partners seek support from a third party talent organization such as ours.

Great candidates possess leader attributes that are universally sought. When I am seeking for the “best fit” candidate for a leadership role, the primary attributes I seek are:

-        Work ethic

-        Integrity

-        Team orientation

-        Positive attitude

Of course, how you evaluate, rate and qualify these attributes is the $64,000 question.  Interviewing multiple candidates can add context in helping managers sort through different individuals.  Also, working with a recruiter who deeply understands the industry and where to find candidates with specific skill sets can add a lot of value to organizations’ attempts to build a viable candidate pool.  Talent managers should always cast a wide net by emailing friends and family who can connect them with others, and internal networks are also a terrific resource to tap as you are narrowing in on a candidate during the reference checking process.

Every position boasts a unique description and set of qualifications, but in my humble opinion a few basic questions should always be asked during an initial interview. Here are some of mine:

1.     Tell me a time when you worked on a project and needed to put more effort into it than you planned?

2.     Give me an example of when you worked with a team, and what was your role?  What was the outcome?

3.     How does your attitude impact others at work?

Remember, Redwood Circle is a great resource to use when looking for education leaders.  Our recruiters are well connected in the industry and are here to help!

AuthorViviana Pyle

My sons are back in school after a busy summer.  Mornings at the house are finally quiet again and this got me thinking of all the projects related to this back-to-school season.  It is time to get ahead of the curve on the most important of those tasks. 

Similarly, this is also a good time of the year when many school-based organizations can start to plan out their hiring timelines and projections for the following school year. Teachers and school leaders may start thinking about next career steps as early as November or December and many school recruitment activities really start to pick up at the beginning of the new year. 

 The Fall is a perfect time for organizations to look at potential hiring sources such as:

·       Recruitment events at teacher colleges and/or Schools of Education

·       Networking opportunities in your community to establish new relationships and to build potential partnerships

·       Specific conferences that specialize in areas to fit your organization’s needs (i.e Charter School or technology based conferences)

·       Maintaining connections to key stakeholders and building a referral network.

One of the best resources for hiring key positions is to promote from within.  Does your organization have an emerging leadership program?  The Fall can be a great time to look at succession plans for key positions.  Who are some of the influential individuals in your school or organization and how can you empower them to take on more leadership responsibilities?    

This is a great time to look back at systems and processes to determine what worked well last year.  You can ask key questions such as:  

·       What events gave us a good yield of qualified candidates for our open positions and which did not?

·       What key positions do you expect to open up in the next 9-12 months?  

·       What will be our recruiting and hiring budget for the coming year?

·       Have we prepared financial reserves for positions that need to be filled unexpectedly throughout the year? 

Putting together a recruitment project timeline and listing a calendar of events will help hiring managers to get a bird’s eye view of the upcoming recruitment season, alleviating any last minute scrambling to fill those critical positions.  So, why not get a jump start on the planning process this year?  You will be better prepared to fill those critical positions and before you know it, summer break will be upon us again! 

AuthorSerena Moy

I have been a working professional for over 17 years and realized that my sense of the elusive work/life balance has evolved as my priorities have shifted.  When I was first out of college, work/life balance meant catching up on sleep during weekends and soaking up every waking hour (work hard, play hard!).  Once my jobs got progressively more challenging, staying out late nights when having to lead a training or interview all day wasn't a good idea, even with two Starbucks Venti Lattes.  I learned to cut back on my partying to save my energy.  I was also getting into my late 20s/early 30s so the work hard/play hard mantra was getting in the way of working and playing with any satisfaction.  Now that I'm married and have a daughter, I no longer stay out late (and no, watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report don't count as staying out!).  Being a father requires a different level of energy altogether, and so I've had to re-adjust my work/life balance yet again.

So why am I sharing all of this?   As a talent professional over the last ten years, I've watched people and organizations either thrive or fall apart because its employees haven't been able to adjust their work and life priorities together.  Now that I talk to many candidates for a number of leadership searches, conversations inevitably end up about "What kind of hours do I have to work?  How well does that organization prioritize its employees' work/life balance?"

I'm a big believer in shaping your own destiny, so no matter what sector you're in, here are some lessons I've learned over the years to find my center:

1 - There's no such thing as work/life balance!  Work and life aren't going to be 50/50 for most of us.  Harmony has always made sense to me - think of your work and life like an orchestra with many instruments and many sounds.  Ultimately, you want your orchestra to be in sync for YOU.

2 - Schedule your priorities - Google calendar is my best friend!  Like a budget reflects fiscal priorities, your calendar should reflect your work and life priorities.  I use green for personal time and blue for work time.  

3-  Meditation - Meditation has allowed me to be more present, so when I'm working or not working, I can fully enjoy what I'm doing.  I'm always more focused because there is less clutter in my head.  There is so much good research about the benefits of meditation that I won't go into here.   I use the app Simply Being on my Android. 

I believe these lessons will help you find your center!  On that note, I'm off to meditate.  Namaste. :)

AuthorRon Rapatalo

If you are like most people, when you see the word “conversion” you think of the process someone goes through when they are shifting money around among their retirement accounts or the experience of changing identity from one set of religious practices to another.  [Spoiler alert: Neither of these are the uses of the word “conversion” that I will be talking about today.]

For recruiters, though, conversion is about that very important – and often neglected – step between the “recruitment” phase of getting a candidate interested in a job and the “selection” phase, where we are assessing their interest, fit, and skills related to the position in question.  In this context, conversion means the work we do to “convert” someone from an interested lead to a real, live, active applicant for the given role.  And in my experience, this is where many of us fall down on the job, losing high-quality people in the process.  It is crucial to have a systematic, persistent recruitment operation, cultivating potential leads and getting them excited about our organization.  But we need to follow that up with encouragement to complete the application process so we have a chance to review their credentials and consider hiring them for our positions. 

As someone who has focused much of my career as a recruiter on finding quality leaders for under-resourced public schools and the organizations that support them, I may put a little more stock that most in the need to work closely with quality candidates to ensure they complete and press “send” on their formal application paperwork.  If I do, however, I come by it honestly.  My clients do not have a wealth of exceptional candidates beating down their doors to take over these highly rewarding but very challenging roles. And I have seen far too often that if we do not continually court and reach out to those who are in demand throughout the recruitment process, someone else will.  When we create cumbersome and opaque application systems, fail to follow up regularly with people to ensure they don’t have any lingering questions, or take for granted that candidates will understand our value proposition without really explaining it to them, high quality leads may decide in the end not to apply at all and try their luck with one of our competitors instead.

So as we start wrapping up our recruitment operations for this year’s education hiring season, don’t forget to evaluate your application systems to make sure that every step you include is vital to collecting the information you need to make great decisions – and not too arduous for candidates to complete.  Take the time to look back over your leads and see if any of those folks you were excited about when you did your initial recruiting calls failed to actually apply to the role(s).  If so, pop them an email or give them a quick call today and see if you can convert them from a lead to an applicant by giving a little more encouragement along the way.

AuthorChristina Greenberg

Have you ever applied to a position that you thought was a perfect match for your skills and interests only to be disappointed by receiving a rejection letter based on your written submission? 

When this happens it's important to first of all revisit the job description.  In most cases, required qualifications are just that: required.  If you don't meet them, you will likely be passed over at this initial stage.  For further reading I suggest Alicia's post, which divulges even more industry secrets for job seekers.

If you still can't figure out why you didn't get an interview, check over your submission for errors. We have already compiled a list of application tips, but let's delve further into the importance of proofreading your work.

You may be a fantastic educator or very successful manager, but if you submit materials with spelling, grammar or punctuation errors (OR an application that was meant for another job-yikes!), you are demonstrating one of two things:

1) You didn't care enough about the position to actually spend time composing an excellent application.  RED FLAG!  Please consult Eliana's post to find out why Passion Matters.

2) You are not meticulous or resourceful.  BAD SIGN!  Small details are important, and if you know they're not your strength, find someone in your trusted network to double-check your work.  Once you think it's perfect and ready to send, I strongly suggest waiting a few hours and then reading the entire thing out loud.  You'll be surprised at the edits you discover!

If you're inspired by an exciting job opening, make the effort to represent yourself in the best possible light.  More often than not, advancement to the next stage depends solely upon your written materials.  You may be perfectly koalified and boast ample relevant experience, however by submitting a flawed application you jeopardize your chances of landing an interview.  

Bear in mind that hiring managers have to consider a wide variety of factors when choosing applicants to interview, but by making sure your materials are top-notch you tip the scales in your favor!  Check out Venus' post for more in-depth recommendations around effectively crafting your application. 

AuthorClair Tannenbaum