Innovate the Interview Process

Innovation, as defined by George Couros in The Innovator’s Mindset, is “a way of thinking that creates something new and better.”  My fellow administrators and I knew that our interview process needed innovation.  We desired a new process that would help us tap into each candidate’s creativity and collaboration skills.  Using inspiration shared from a recent visit by our central office to High Tech High in CA, we decided to innovate the 2nd round of our interviews.  In the past, we asked successful candidates to prepare and then teach a sample lesson to a small group of students, teachers and administration.  Although we still value the teaching demonstration part of the interview process and will still use this process in a 3rd round interview, we decided to plan a 2nd round interview that we felt might be “new” and “better.”  Here is what we decided!


First, candidates would be invited in to our school for the same time slot.  This meant that candidates would be introduced to each other and asked to sit down in a small group to collaborate on some task.  On the most recent interviews, we had two groups with 3 – 4 candidates each.  Each group was given a set of essential questions and learning objectives, and they were asked to co-plan a lesson that would help learners meet these goals.  After the co-planning sessions, individual candidates were given time to debrief with an administrator – reflecting on the co-planning session and sharing examples of other collaborative efforts.    After a debriefing lesson, candidates were asked to craft a writing sample in response to a quote about teaching/learning.  The writing sample was crafted to bring out the candidate’s beliefs, thoughts and ideas about traditional teaching.

We have only used this process one time, but I can say for a first iteration it was a success!  I am already thinking of ways to improve the process by possibly inviting the candidates to co-plan a lesson with staff members from our campus who hold different certifications.  As we continue to focus on Project-Based Learning, it would be valuable to see the candidates work in collaboration with teachers outside of their own content area.

I am interested in how others have innovated there interview process!  Please comment and share 🙂


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