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Is there any point going to interview if there is an internal candidate?

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by WD, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. WD

    WD New commenter

    Anecdotally-none of my colleagues can think of a single time when they went to another school for a post and the internal candidate didn't get appointed. Personally I have had this happen to me twice recently. Given the expense of advertising and the waste of time spent on an interview day (both as organiser and attender), why don't schools simply appoint internal candidates and save everyone the clearly fake interview process?
  2. Isn't it part of the legal process?
    Agreed complete waste of time.
  3. Hi WD
    Yes, it is worth going. I've experienced it from both sides of the fence. Once got a job over two internal candidates, and another time didn't job when I was the internal candidate (grrrr). And I've been on appointing panels when we've appointed external candidates over strong internals.
    I know it would seem like a foregone conclusion if there's an internal candidate but you have to assume that the job is open and go for it. In some ways external candidates have a bit of an edge and internals can crumble under the intense pressure.
    Mind you, i'm sure there are some situations when the internal has been promised the job in advance. I met someone a few years ago when i was on the deputy trail who had been on DH interview at a midlands secondary school who noticed the name of the internal candidate on some new headed stationery that was in a waiting area! Apparently all the other (external)candidates withdrew and some made official complaints.
    (and thanks again for the DP cds)
  4. I agree it is worth going! If only for the experience of enhancing your (already good, by the sounds of it) interview skills!
  5. WD

    WD New commenter

    I don't think you actually have to advertise any vacancy below Deputy Head (or there is no limit to where you advertise). I get the feeling some interviews are set up simply to reassure parents that the school is looking for new blood, when in reality the internal candidate is the preferred choice whatever. It is reasuring to parents for a school to announce a new appointment after a full interview process,and that the internal candidate was better than any external. I would ahve far more respect for schools if they simply appointed the internal without the charade of interview.

    Highschooler-got some 71 purple stuff that is great-remail me your addy and I'll try to sort some out.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I get quite hot under the collar about this sort of thread.
    Actually, the aim of a school is to appoint the best candidate. Why on earth would anyone deliberately appoint the second best person? Or even the third best?
    So, YES, it is worth going when there are internals.
    Quite often schools shortlist internals just to give them interview practice as professional development. And some weak Heads shortlist internals who will not get the job because they haven´t got the guts to turn them down - it´s reasier to say The panel decided . . .
    So, YES, it is worth going when there are internals.
  7. WD

    WD New commenter

    But external candidates are often not batting on a level playing field-for example a school may want a safe internal who doesn't rock the boat, over an external who cant show that particular 'skill'. Likewise I have been up against candidates when there is a student panel and the internal is in charge of student voice and has set up the panel. Also colleagues have been up against internal candidates who have been acting in the post advertised for up to 18 months-and lo and behold the internal gets the job.
    Also it is easy to bend an interview to favour the internal-if you set 5 tasks, let 4 be more or less equal so externals can feel they had a chance. BUT if the tasks are weighted 10% 10% 10% 10% and then 60%-the internal can 'win' even in an apparently level playing field. I certainly know of a couple of interview days where the final panel interview has been a succession of questions aimed squarely at the internals strengths. All you have to do is weight the final interview at 60% and the externals have no chance.
    The trouble is Theo not all Heads are like you.
  8. I have just been appointed HT as an internal candidate, but I can assure you it wasn't a done deal. I wasn't given any favours - nor would I expect to. In fact, the rest of the staff were sworn to secrecy about which class I would be teaching, the format of the day etc. I found out at exactly the same time as the external candidates. You could argue that I had an unfair advantage as the governors know me - but that means they know my strengths and weaknesses! I feel that I have got the job fair and square, and I wouldn't want it any other way. I know of several schools where the internal candidate didn't get the job, so maybe more schools are like Theo's than you think! Good luck with your hunting.
  9. In my expreience the internal candidate usually gets the job but not in all cases. I would not let it put me off applying for a role I really wanted but it does leave you feeling p****d off when an internal candidate already acting the role is appointed, especially if there have been many hoops to jump through during the selection process. Seems to me that if it is likely that the internal candidate will be apponted, schools should limit the selection process.
    On the flip side, if I were acting a role and applied, I'd expect to be appointed in recognition of my hardwork and commitment!!
    Also, through working in school improvement, I have noticed several HTs who have appointed 'mouldable' candidates. I was told 'off the record' last year that I was not appointed to DHT in a particular school because I was seen by the HT to be too capable and would challenge them too much!!!! Kind of back handed compliment I suppose? Another HT said that I would be a brilliant deputy..........somewhere else lol!!!!
    Grow a thick skin and keep applying [​IMG]
  10. I agree, The process is nearly as important as whether you get the job. I just missed out to an internal candidate for a HT post (Govs told me they could have tossed a coin) - I knew what the deal was and still applied as I wanted to get back on the interviewing circuit. Also it helps when you get feedback afterwards for next time. Thick skin and a healthy dose of realism required!
    I also got my present post against the internal candidate so no hard and fast rule.

  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I was appointed head of two schools over an internal, much-loved by governors deputy head candidate in each case.
    After being appointed head of my second school (but before I was in post), I had to appoint a new deputy and told governors in no uncertain terms that I wanted new blood into the school. The internal candidate absolutely knocked me out with easily the best interview performance I've ever seen.
    I then had to appoint an AHT to his vacant post. Again, I swore blind that I wanted new blood. The external candidates were nowhere near as good as the internal candidate at interview, so she got it.
    Both staff have given exemplary service.
    More recently, nearly two years ago I appointed another AHT. A very good HOD from inside the school was shortlisted after writing an excellent application, but was awful at interview; he didn't make it to day 2, being the first candidate cut.
    It's not just Theo - I can't imagine why any head would appoint someone who didn't appear to them to be the best candidate.
  12. WD

    WD New commenter

    'I can't imagine why any head would appoint someone who didn't appear to them to be the best candidate.' Hits the nail on the head really-'appears to them'. For example I went to one interview where the internal candidate was addressed by first name and externals as Mr/Mrs.
    My most recent failure was against a lovely internal candidate who clearly had the confidence of the Head-but the school had missed the obvious-the candidate did not have the capacity to do what the school wanted (move to outstanding). The internal already headed up a pastoral system which was not supporting the move to outstanding-and there appeared to be no understanding that the pastoral system could be used in that way. So moving the internal across to head up striving for outstanding resilts couldn't possibly work. But they were internal, much loved by staff and students and long serving. So a fundamental flaw in the school system went un-noticed due to the woods and trees issue of a Head appointing someone who 'appears to be' the best candidate for what was wanted. One Head I knew always had an external consultant on for important appointments to counter-act this problem.Ironically this led to a much loved internal candidate being passed over for an appointment and an entire department resigning almost en masse as a result. Which is of course another factor in an internal candidates favour-better the devil you knwo + how people will react within the school if 'x' fails to land the job.
  13. WD

    WD New commenter

    In SMT defence-It must be almost impossible for a Head striving for excellence to realise that a good internal candidate might have to be 'passed over' if excellence is to be achieved. How many Heads of good schools will pass over a really good internal candidate in a quest to be outstanding? The problem is it is almost impossible-with government pressure etc- for a Head to take a chance if a school is already good-the tendency will be to think that with just a little push the existing staff can be moved to outstanding. Whereas in reality existing staff will only ever be able to maintain 'good' without a radical overhaul-far too scarey a proposition for some Heads.
  14. weezadance1

    weezadance1 New commenter

    It is always worth going to an interview if you are invited, regardless of whether there is an internal or not. I have taught in 5 schools, and for 2 of my appointments I was against an internal (in 1 school against 2 internals) and both times I was appointed. It is not a foregone conclusion.
  15. I have just missed two jobs, as the internal candidates got them! In one case, well deserved as she was the better candidate but I personally disagreed with the second one who was IMHO not up to the job. It's that dreaded phrase, "Oh, I'm the Acting Deputy Head here!" when you get chatting about where people are from. Might leave on the spot next time I hear that!

  16. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  17. I recently went for an AHT post where there was an internal candidate - they got the job. However, I got good experience from it and feedback that will help with the next interview. Everything you go through is preparing you for the right post - it is out there waiting!!

  18. I am an external candidate who got the job!

    I have also been an internal candidate who did not get the job.

    And I have also been an internal candidate who did get the job.

    It's not set in stone by any means.
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Course it's not!
    And I believe that so strongly that I shall repeat here my earlier post:
    Actually, the aim of a school is to appoint the best candidate. Why on earth would anyone deliberately appoint the second best person? Or even the third best?
    So, YES, it is worth going when there are internals.
    Quite often schools shortlist internals just to give them interview practice as professional development. And some weak Heads shortlist internals who will not get the job because they haven´t got the guts to turn them down - it´s reasier to say The panel decided . . .
    So, YES, it is worth going when there are internals.
  20. What about when an internal is already acting in post though? A job I would dearly love has come up but they have had an existing acting AHT since December. Puts me off even trying as I am sure she is bound to get it.
    Anybody got the job when this has been the case?

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