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Keep applying or not?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by forestgreen, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. forestgreen

    forestgreen New commenter

    I've applied three times for headship, been short listed each time and twice lost out to internal candidate - most recently despite being told she wasn't applying.

    Each time I take feedback and act on it, but am now feeling totally demoralised and beginning to lose my nerve. I am wondering if there's a 'hidden agenda' about why I'm failing. I've seen my references, both are outstanding.

    I recognise that resilience is an expected quality for headship and that I need to continue to work on interview technique. But ...

    ... at what point should I accept it's not going to happen?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Not after three interviews!
    A great many people would be unemployed if we all gave up that quickly.
    I know of one head who applied 4 times to the same school, over several years, before being successful and spending 13 happy years there.

    It's weird because the world keeps telling us there is a severe shortage of applicants for headships, yet many fabulous candidates aren't successful at the first or second go.

    Maybe leave it for a few months and then apply for a September start. Relax, enjoy your current post and all the school Christmas brings and have another look in January.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    OK, listen to this, frpm the Forum Host, specialist in appointments.

    One of the most successful independent schools in London had a new Head half-a-dozen years ago. When she was appointed she went around telling everyone that this had been her 13th Headship interview.

    Personally i would have been a bit shy about telling people that 12 schools didn't want me.


    And actually one of them was mine when they were looking to replace me.

    ;) ;)

    But appointed she was finally, and the school has gone from strength to strength.

    So three? That's nothing!

    When you are ready to have another go, after Christmas, pop down to the Jobseekers Forum for advice on how to produce an application that could make you the favoured candidate before you even enter the interview room, and further advice on how to have their mouths watering when you do interview.

    (The missing thumbs-up emoticon)

    Best wishes

    forestgreen and Gsr25 like this.
  4. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I was successful on my fourth attempt. I lost out to an internal candidate for my first interview and was unsuccessful against no-one twice!
    So never give up if you really want to be a Head teacher. It is a really tough job so you have to be tough going for interviews too.
  5. snowflakesfalling

    snowflakesfalling Occasional commenter

  6. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I understand your disappointment, I'm not even getting shortlisted which is making me seriously question myself. (Not for headships just support roles)
    However you must be doing something right to be getting shortlisted and interviewed, maybe it's just not your time yet but it will be soon so I agree with the others, keep plugging away at it and what will be will be.
    Good luck
    dkarana likes this.
  7. forestgreen

    forestgreen New commenter

    Thank you all, I will toughen up and get the latest feedback, then rethink. Not sure about making their mouths water though!
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Three applications, three shortlistings, you are on a successful roll: doing far better than most. Remember that it's much more subtle than "were you the best?" - it's more like, do you fit that particular school best, and you may be absolutely perfect for the next one. (And of course the three successful candidates are no longer competing with you, so the pool is smaller!)
    forestgreen likes this.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good points all through @Skeoch 's post!

    Best wishes

    forestgreen likes this.

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