School “Hiring Season” is here, although many schools continue to hire throughout the school year to keep staff levels strong. Sometimes there’s a need to hire a staff member urgently because someone has taken unexpected leave or if someone who was supposed to start at the beginning of the year, didn’t. Your school scrambled to make something work, but now it’s time to properly fill that role. Whatever your school’s reason for hiring, it’s so important that when you do make the decision to offer the position to the candidate – and welcome them into your school – that you haven’t missed any indicators of behavior that could be problematic. But how do you do that, and won’t the government mandated background check help weed out a “bad apple?” And what will the various costs (financial, emotional, school reputation, etc.) be, if someone you welcome into your tight-knit community becomes a serious problem? A recent survey by CareerBuilder reported that more than 75% of resumes have information where the applicant “exaggerated or flat out lied,” so it’s going to be up to you and your school’s interviewing strategies to ensure that you know who you’re hiring.
Learning as much as you can about a candidate is extremely important because it’s not just teachers who interact with students – it’s everyone who works at your school – support staff, custodians, the cafeteria team, security – and others. Even though you may not think that all your staff interact with your students, they all do, in some way, so you have to get it right the first time. It’s too important not to. So how does your school help ensure that only the best candidates – who fit your school’s culture and who are the safest people to work around children – get hired? The answers are much easier than you think!
You can’t rely solely on background checks because the information gleaned this way only provides details on someone who has already been identified as a possible harm to the children in your school community, but it doesn’t address a person who may have not yet been identified (sanctioned or even prosecuted) for inappropriate conduct. A sobering statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that a predator will harm 50 girls and 150 boys before being caught.
In Depth Reference Checks provide your school with a much more complete picture of who your candidate really is. Why? Because if asked the right questions, references provide insight that you wouldn’t necessarily glean from the candidate interview. While referrals provide an excellent source of candidates, it’s important not to hire solely based on a referral. There could be hidden factors that could compromise your students. Multiple reference checks help ensure that you’re hiring stellar staff!