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The Hiring Experience from a

Candidate’s Eyes    


Editor’s Note: Dawn Huckaby, who oversees personnel operations in the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nev., shared this letter from a teacher candidate (with permission) about her experience with the multi-faceted “Hiring for Attitude” process. The letter writer works in the district as a middle school teacher.

Hello Mrs. Huckaby,

I completed my interview with the district for the teacher pool today. I am writing to you because you asked me to give you my thoughts and feedback on the entire process.

First, I would like to say that I was impressed with the amount of thought that was put into constructing all elements of the interview! Starting with the writing assessment, I felt that writing a letter to the parents as a new teacher was an amazing prompt! Not only does it showcase the legitimacy of education the candidates possess but it also challenges one to contemplate on their personal teaching philosophies and demonstrate whether they have thought about how to connect with the social/community aspect of the teaching profession. 20 minutes for this activity was more than adequate.

Secondly, the group activity of playing out a scenario during a PLC was genius! I absolutely loved this part of the interview because I have witnessed PLCs from two different schools and they have been terrible in terms of working together to solve any given problem. To realize that the district is working on improving the quality of these PLCs is exciting! PLCs are meant to be collaborative learning for educators, they are a means for us to build on our repertoires and learn of new strategies or implementations that we ourselves might be lacking. This was not stressful at all, in fact, this part of the interview was actually fun!

Moving on to the lesson plan presentations, this part was also fun for me. Not only was I learning other strategies and picking up on some methods I could use in my own teaching, I was able to better hone my skills in making concise lesson plans to fit the 10 minute time limit. This was also fun to work and interview as a group because the anxiety level was low. We were constantly encouraging each other, giving positive feedback, and even having fun in the process! We all wished we had a little more time than 10 minutes however. 15-20 minutes would be ideal! I had a blast during this part and learned SO much in so little time from other candidates (yoga, drawing, and a little French too!)

Lastly, the one-on-one interview questions were on point in regards to focusing on key ideas such as state standards/common core, differentiated instruction, teaching methodology, and personal background and previous experience. I also noticed the questions about self evaluation, on how one did in the previous activity before the one-on-one interview. By having those questions such as “how did you think you did and what would change?” emphasizes the importance of teacher reflection after each lesson to better improve instruction for ALL learners.

Overall, this interview process was challenging and absolutely enjoyable! I felt proud that I was applying to a district that takes time to really assess their future educators and not just hire “anybody”. Thank you for giving me information on how to proceed during the beginning of this process! I look forward to hearing from the district office soon. Thanks again!


Victoria Gill, M.A.
SIP Support
Sparks Middle School  


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