Hiring the Right Team: It’s All About Fit

opp-careerIt’s one of the most exciting seasons of the year….hiring season!

Onboarding top talent is some of our most important work! A great person adds to our team and accelerates what we can collectively accomplish! Conversely, a weak employee drains the team, has little or negative impact on students, and pulls resources (including time and energy) from our core work of powerful teaching, growth and achievement.

Sony says, “No matter how good or successful you are, or how clever or crafty, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire.”

What does it all boil down to?


…who fits our organization, and who we fit.

Yes, we want to uncover what potential candidates know about things like quality instruction, Washington State Learning Standards, and Professional Learning Communities.

But maybe Southwest Airlines is onto something with their slogan: “Hire character. Train skill.”

To determine who fits us, we need to know what we value, then hire for a values match. We can teach the other stuff.

When talking with potential teachers and leaders, here’s what I listen for:

  • We are ALL learners – that means ALL student and ALL adults
  • Belief in and high expectations for ALL
  • Passion for equity so EVERYONE achieves at high levels
  • Growth mindset knowing that ALL can learn and continuously improve with quality instruction/support and hard work
  • Collaboration, knowing that we serve ALL better when we trust each other enough to honestly examine results and work together to improve them
  • Genuine caring disposition and servant-leader, the kind of person who’s class I want my child in, who I want to interact with as a parent, who I want to learn and team with, who I want to have lunch with

I don’t just listen for a candidate’s fit for us, but also for our fit for them. I want someone who is committed to our particular organization and to what we value. Our kids are worth someone’s whole heart and their best. Plus, we invest in people deeply!

What would you add to this list of listen-fors?

During this hiring season – in our postings, screenings, conversations, interviews, reference checks – what are ways we are intentionally eliciting and listening for what we value?

Well, now you know what is swirling in my head in this hiring season.


And Hope.

And excitement.

And Vision.

We have a worthy vision: Preparing ALL students for college, careers and life.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, said “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

I’m grateful to be surrounded by great people, and I look forward to expanding that circle soon!

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