10 Steps to Organize Your Hiring

Linda S. Johnson and Debra Wilson

The following 10 steps will help you develop an efficient and consistent hiring process for each vacancy at your school.

Step 1:  Identify the position vacancy, create a job description, and obtain the necessary approvals

Take a close look at what you need in the position, even if it’s a little different than the role of the last person who held the job. Create a thorough job description, and obtain the necessary approvals within your school.

Note: your head of school and the human resources officer should be kept informed of progress status throughout the hiring process.

Step 2: Establish a search committee and recruitment plan

Once you know what you need and you have permission to go find the right person, determine who needs to be involved. Pull together the requisite people for your team and get their input. Do you need a search consultant for this particular role? Set agreed-upon goals and parameters and determine a realistic timeline.

Step 3: Advertise and promote the position opening

Get the ball rolling by advertising the position in all of the right places, including the NAIS Career Center, other posting spots within the independent school world, and other places that might target audiences that are harder to reach. Think creatively about other industries that might cultivate the skill set for which you are searching.

Step 4: Acknowledge all responses

We have all been in a job search, so don’t forget to be kind and respond to all job applicants. A short, professionally worded letter or email will do, but that touch lets them know that you have received their information and you are working on it.

Step 5: Evaluate and review resumes and select candidates to interview

Now is the time to evaluate and review resumes and select candidates to interview. Your human resources officer may take the first cut, or just organize applications for your committee. Use your job description and really look at what you need. Don’t get too distracted by skill sets that you are not looking for and remember to look closely for those that you already determined were truly needed.

Step 6: Interview candidates

For many schools this means bringing people to campus, but it can also mean rounds on Skype, Facetime, or other online platforms. Remember to be consistent and legal with your interview process and questions. This will help you keep your process above board and ensure that you are comparing responses to questions that are the same or at least similar.

Step 7: Select finalists, conduct second interviews, and then make the final selection

At this stage it is not uncommon for other administrators, such as the head of school or a division head, to become more involved with the final decision. Don’t forget to follow your internal processes that involve such administrators or other key stake holders in the final decision.

Step 8: Make a conditional offers of employment (contingent on the results on background checks and the candidate fulfilling pre-employment requirements)

Now is the time to let someone know that you want him or her to be part of your team, as long as s/he can get through any background checks or other prerequisites you may have. Reach out to let the person know and get those finals cogs turning.

Step 9: Send offer letters, finalize contracts, and alert candidates who weren’t selected

Once you are positive this person is the one to bring on board, send your official offer letters, and contracts, or other final documents to get the deal officially sealed. Once you have everything finalized and in hand, alert the other candidates who were not selected to let them know the search has ended and they are no longer candidates for the position.

Step 10: Orient new staff

Finally, make sure that you have solid orientation steps in place as well as mentoring systems to successfully bring on this valued employee. After all, it took you nine steps to get here!


Linda S. Johnson is director and co-chair of Education Law Group, Mclane Law Firm. Debra Wilson is legal counsel at NAIS.