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Tips for Selecting Top Superintendent Candidates

Reviewing applications and choosing the best candidates for your superintendent position can seem complicated and time consuming. Learn how to save time and simplify the process.

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Reviewing applications and selecting the top candidates are time-consuming tasks. Here are some tips and a process that should make the tasks easier:

  1. Remember, your task is to select up to eight candidates — from those who have completed the application process — that you feel are qualified to interview in the first round. You are not selecting the new superintendent yet; that will come during the second round.
  2. This is your task to complete. Do not discuss the list of applicants or your choices with other trustees; discussion will occur during the board and consultant meeting to review applications; the top candidates will emerge from that discussion.
  3. Locate a copy of the board-approved qualifications and characteristics (Q&Cs) for your superintendent position. This list is critical. The Q&Cs specify what type of candidate the board has identified as "best qualified." Highlight or circle three to four Q&Cs you feel are most important for your new superintendent.
  4. Draw three columns on the pad of paper. Label these columns: 1. Strong — worthy of further consideration; 2. Not as strong — but worth reviewing further; and 3. Not qualified. 
  5. Review the candidate files one at a time. The application will give you an idea of the candidate’s experience, educational background, and current salary. The Q&Cs and the applicant’s responses will give you an idea of the candidate’s background and experience in the areas you feel are most important.
  6. As you complete your review of each candidate, add them into only one of the three groups. Write their name under the correct column. 
  7. Ideally, you should place one-third of the candidate names in each of the three groups. It pays to be critical at this point and place more in the second and third groups if you are uncertain.
  8. Once you have completed this initial screening phase, go back to the first group — "Strong" — and go more in depth to select the top candidates. Now is the time to check the resume, certification, and transcripts and use this information to identify the applicants for the first round of interviews. 
  9. If you cannot identify up to eight interview candidates from the first group, you may want to review the files of the candidates listed in the second — "Not as strong" — group. Try to avoid doing an in-depth review with the second group unless more candidates are needed for the interview process.
  10. Once you've completed the process, remember not to share this information with your fellow trustees until discussion occurs.