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Complicated situation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by anick13, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. anick13

    anick13 New commenter

    There's a lot of complicated background to this but the main thing I want to understand relates to interviewing internal and external candidates.

    If interviewing for a new headteacher and the process includes an observation, assembly, learning walk, safeguarding task, improvement plan task and book scrutiny is it really a fair process if one candidate already works at the school. Not only has the internal candidate got an in depth knowledge of what the interview day will include, they are used to leading assemblies and know the school improvement plan inside out. Also, this is the second round of interviews as no one was appointed originally so the internal candidate (who didn't apply first time) knows what the first candidates did and what factors were key in making the decision not to appoint.

    It just doesn't seem right but may be normal practise with internal candidates and explain why they are so often appointed.
     
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    What would you suggest that they do instead? I can't see any way of taking out the advantage of knowing the school well. They can do what they can, for instance by making sure that all candidates know the plan for the day well in advance. They could base the improvement plan task on something fictitious rather than this school. I suppose they could ask a neighbouring school if they can do the assemblies/learning walks/book scrutinies there (or borrow some books for scrutinies), so that the pupils/staff are unknown to everyone, but that's a big ask, and the other candidates will want to spend their time seeing this school.
     
    aspen_1 and wanet like this.
  3. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Do they really have an in depth knowledge of the interview day planned? How? And why the previous round led to no appointment? Just because they are at the school, neither is a given.
    I've just run a recruitment process, and did not share any details of the day with staff as a whole, as there was an internal candidate. I spoke to individuals whose classes were involved in lesson observations and emphasised that it was confidential.
    I prepared all the materials at home, and went into school to copy them at the weekend, before locking everything away - so that no-one could have any chance of leaking details or claiming that the internal had an unfair advantage.
    In many ways, it was harder - is harder even - being an internal.
     
  4. anick13

    anick13 New commenter

    I totally agree that in general there are some advantages that can't be avoided but I think it is the fact that the interview day has already been done once and the internal candidate seemed too involved.

    The internal candidate was observed as part of the previous round of interviews and received feedback from the previous candidates.

    The internal candidate then gave their own feedback on the candidates to form part of the decision.

    The internal candidate knows exactly which books for which students will be given for book scrutiny, what the topic of the assemblies will be and which assembly was deemed the most successful by the interview panel last time.

    The internal candidate knows why one of the candidates was unsuccessful due to failing to complete one specific task to the satisfaction of the panel and that task will be repeated.

    It all just seems a bit unfair. None of the things being suggested by frustum or cornflake as ways to keep it fair seem to have been done on this occasion.

    I guess I just feel sorry for the external candidates. It's a long stressful day and one of the candidates has had a few extra weeks to prepare for it where they will just have to think on their feet on the day. If we hadn't had the previous interview day I don't think I would have any issue with the unavoidable advantage of knowing the school. I think it is the fact the internal candidate knows exactly what happened last time and why the panel made certain decisions and judgements and no major changes seem to have been made to the interview day.
     
  5. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Internal candidates have the advantage that they are known, and the disadvantage that they are known. Being in the school can give you knowledge of the schools process, but so can going to lots of interviews.
     
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Its swings and roundabouts. I hate being an internal candidate myself, I am so self conscious in front of people I know, and of course many of them would know the real me quite well, and it is not easy to smooth over my weak points, or put on a convincing performance.

    "Equal opportunities" often means it is necessary to advertise externally and to include external candidates even when there is a perfectly adequate internal candidate available.

    Yes, the external candidates may be at some disadvantage, but not as much of a disadvantage as not being interviewed before!

    And lets face it, there is nothing unusual about turning up for an interview and finding you are at a disadvantage, maybe because someone else is just plain better at interviews than you are! Or maybe something about their application puts then ahead to start with, but still a certain number of people will be called for interview, even if one candidate seems head and shoulders above the rest on paper.

    There is always an element of luck and chance about who gets which job.
     
  7. anick13

    anick13 New commenter

    I totally agree that in general there are some advantages that can't be avoided but I think it is the fact that the interview day has already been done once and the internal candidate seemed too involved.

    The internal candidate was observed as part of the previous round of interviews and received feedback from the previous candidates.

    The internal candidate then gave their own feedback on the candidates to form part of the decision.

    The internal candidate knows exactly which books for which students will be given for book scrutiny, what the topic of the assemblies will be and which assembly was deemed the most successful by the interview panel last time.

    The internal candidate knows why one of the candidates was unsuccessful due to failing to complete one specific task to the satisfaction of the panel and that task will be repeated.

    It all just seems a bit unfair. None of the things being suggested by frustum or cornflake as ways to keep it fair seem to have been done on this occasion.

    I guess I just feel sorry for the external candidates. It's a long stressful day and one of the candidates has had a few extra weeks to prepare for it where they will just have to think on their feet on the day. If we hadn't had the previous interview day I don't think I would have any issue with the unavoidable advantage of knowing the school. I think it is the fact the internal candidate knows exactly what happened last time and why the panel made certain decisions and judgements and no major changes seem to have been made to the interview day.
     
  8. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    The internal vs external candidate issue can go both way! Being the internal candidate in any job situation is only an advantage if whoever is making the ultimate decision has already decided that the internal candidate is getting the job. It could well be that it's a situation where this person has no chance, despite being good at their job/respected by colleagues because those who make the decision have decided that a new broom is what is wanted.
     
    cheesypop, minnie me and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    When I went for my first headship I was an internal candidate and didn't get the job.

    I have also been for a job and an internal candidate got it. However, some of the things that you have mentioned do seem weighted against the external candidates.
     
  10. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    I am curious how the OP thinks this can be resolved?
    Also why this has been posted? Dislike of internal candidate, or a preference for an external one?
     
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I have been an internal candidate and the biggest disadvantage is the constant knowledge that the appointing panel don't think you are good enough to be given the post without them looking elsewhere for something better. That they do think better than you exists and are keen to look for it.

    Yes, this candidate might know why others were unsuccessful, but that doesn't follow they know how to be successful themselves.

    This candidate might have had longer to prepare, but they also have had longer to worry and fret and get in a state about it.

    This candidate might know more about the school, but the school also know more about them. There is no hiding faults and weaknesses the way external candidates can easily do.

    If you aren't either the internal or external candidate (and it certainly doesn't sound as if you are) then don't worry about it.
     
  12. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Yes it is unfair, and for any post an internal candidate might have advantages over an external one.

    But sadly thats life and life isn't always fair.
     
  13. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    If an internal candidate is chosen to be interviewed, unless it is just a pity interview, it is because it has been decided that they would probably be ok but The Powers That Be want to see if there is anyone better out there.

    That's not always a fantastic position to start from.
     
  14. TeacherClaire2

    TeacherClaire2 New commenter

    Life isn't fair. Of course every effort should be made to keep it as fair as possible but this time someone might have the advantage and the next time they will be on the disadvantaged side. For many of us chances are we have been on both sides.
     
  15. anick13

    anick13 New commenter

    I personally have no preference for or bias against any candidates. I suppose the main reason I posted was concern there could be accusations made against the governors if they appoint the internal candidate when they were given what I thought looks to be an unfair advantage.

    As I say this is one part of a far wider complicated situation regarding school politics at the moment. I was wondering if the interview process should be changed to make it different to last time but most people don't seem to think it's an issue so never mind.
     
  16. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

     
  17. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    The content of the tasks should be different ie if it is a data interpretation task the data should be different. Aside from that there is no real advantage to the internal. Having been observed by the other candidates previously is no advantage - who knows if their feedback was any good? After all they weren't appointed.
     
  18. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    What is unfair is inconsistent selection methods. In some situations I have seen very inexperienced candidates selected for middle management because their face fits.. very risky and in my opinion unprofessional and yes It didn't work out almost destroyed the department. I have then seen excellent potential candidates with a proven track record of excellence and inspiration I cannot describe not even asked for interview. Some positions have been advertised and some not at all ... neither internally or externally ( because the school wanted a certain person). What I have not seen is consistent equal opportunities working as it should ( I'm sure it does somewhere ).
     
  19. SomethingWicked

    SomethingWicked Occasional commenter

    So long as interviews don't include group work with the other candidates I'm fine. Even it seems like everyone's doing it correctly, the stress of second-guessing whether others' suggestions are for the benefit of the group or themselves is just rotten. Teachers' workload is fairly independent anyway, but I've had three group tasks in seven interviews. No thanks!
     
  20. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Whilst some of the interview procedures appear odd (as someone has already said) I'm not sure it makes any difference. If 'they' want Mr/Ms Internal Candidate, they will be appointed anyway.

    The most openly, scrupulous and overtly 'fair' interview process I witnessed, and publicised to the staff as such, (eg Mr IC won't be attending x and y meetings) was the one where we all knew (and I had been told by slt) it was his job.

    I have also worked for a head who always gave internal candidates an interview (officially for cpd purposes, although sometimes it seemed as if the inclusion of, say 4 weak internal candidates meant it was inevitable that the one 'qualified' candidate would get the job)
     

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