The superintendent search from a PR perspective, (part 6)

In the previous post in this series, I talked about the need to have good records showing the board exercised due diligence in the interview process. Those records might be used to show that the board did not discriminate against candidates by, for example, asking illegal questions or asking totally different sets of questions of each candidate.

In addition to those records, the school board needs to have records showing it exercised due diligence in checking candidates’ references.

Increasingly, public bodies are being held accountable for negligent hiring if it can be shown they failed to probe deeply enough to uncover information which, if known to the board at the time, would have kept a particular candidate from being hired.

6. Check references  after interviews

Reference checking after the interviews is the most important part of the hiring process. The point of the checks is not only to verify the accuracy of information listed on the application and CV but also to see if people who have worked with the candidates view their record as they themselves do.

Whoever is responsible for checking references needs to push beyond the references listed on the application and CV. Unless candidates are totally incompetent they will not list people who will not speak well of them in general. Asking references to suggest others who might have more knowledge or a different perspective is a legitimate way to get relevant information.

Here, too, the information must be documented so its clear what was asked and what was answered.

Tomorrow: Part 7:

All the posts in this series:

  • Part 1: Introduction
  • Part 2: Identify stakeholders
  • Part 3: Set stage for stakeholder participation
  • Part 4:  Prepare the invitation to apply and  give potential interviewers resources
  • Part 5:  Keep good interview records
  • Part 6:  Check references following interviews
  • Part 7:  Explain your choice & archive paperwork
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