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
- 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!