The Recruitment and Selection of In-School Administrators in Saskatchewan
SSTA Research Centre Report #96-05: 41 pages, $11.
|Introduction||This report is a summary of a
masters thesis by Marion Tekeste.
As the research indicates leadership is the key to effective schools. School boards need to reflect on their hiring practices and invest planning time and money for recruiting, selecting and training in-school administrators.
The purpose of this research was to examine the recruitment and selection practices and requirements for in-school administrators (principals and vice-principals) by Saskatchewan school boards. The findings of this study and recommendations for school boards are reported in this summary.
|Part I: A Hiring Framework for Recruitment and Selection of In-School Administrators|
|Part II: Towards Greather Understanding: An Outline of the Survey Response and What it Means in Practical Terms|
|Part III: Toward More Effective Recruiting and Hiring of In-School Administrators: Recommendations|
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The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.
Research literature points to the importance of the in-school administrator as the key to an excellent school. It describes the principal as the guiding light for effective schools and the leader of school improvement (DuFour & Eaker, 1988; Renihan, 1990; Sackney, 1991; Steller, 1988). Because of the growing recognition of the importance of the school principal, it is not surprising to find a parallel concern for the recruitment and selection process of in-school administrators.
Prudence is required when recruiting and selecting an in-school administrator. Zanella (cited in Gibney, 1987) pointed out that making the wrong choice "may have severe implications that can haunt a [central office] administrator and a school division for years" (p. 1). Furthermore, it is a difficult process to dismiss an incompetent leader to correct problems stemming from mediocrity in administration.
This document examines those "severe implications" and looks at the current situation in Saskatchewan in terms of recruiting and selection based upon an extensive survey of schol boards and education directors conducted early in 1995. This presentation is made in recognition of a 25-year trend toward increasing attention on the recruitment and selection processes in employing in-school administrators, a process crucial to obtaining effective leaders in the classrooms of the province.
This document will conclude with a discussion of the findings of the study and a set of recommendations by the author that school division might use to guide future policy decisions.
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To utilize the material in this report to its greatest advantage, it is helpful to look at the whole area of recruitment and selection of principals and vice-principals through a perspective of a simplified and realistic five-question model, which has been developed from current research literature. Superintendents, human resources personnel and school board members should focus on the following five areas:
Question #1: What?
What are our future staffing needs? Do a job analysis to find out knowledge, skills and qualities necessary for the job. Analyze this information and write job specifications and job content. Include a time frame. Write information down in policy.
Question #2: Where?
Where are we going to recruit for candidates - internally vs. externally?
Question #3: How?
How are we going to recruit for a ■pool of candidates■ - formally vs. informally? Decide who is on the committee and all information should be contained by human resources personnel.
Question #4: Which?
Which screening or assessment selection techniques will be used? A weighted, varied clear progressive approach should be used.
Question #5: How?
How do we know the process was successful? By annual audits of needs, by cost, and success of new employees.
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What is the Personnel Function?
The personnel function in any organization is important. However, in an educational setting the personnel function is critical. Castetter (1992) suggested the scope of the personnel function:
The goals of the personnel function in any educational system are to attract, develop, retain, and motivate personnel in order to (a) achieve the system■s purposes; (b) assist members in satisfying position and group performance standards; (c) maximize personnel career development; and (d) reconcile individual and organizational objectives. (p. 5)
Anderson (1988) and Herman (1994) provide similar perspectives.
Educators (Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Genck & Klingenberg, 1980) surmised the personnel function was of major importance to any school board because it dealt with two primary factors: people and positions. The Human Resource Planning (HRP) process manages all employee benefits and is responsible for a huge portion of the budget of any school system (70%-80%). In Saskatchewan, this budget item varies depending on the school division but is approximately 67%.
The administrator in the personnel position in Saskatchewan school divisions deals with issues such as the hiring and firing of employees as well as the day-to-day school operations and the resolution of short-term and long-term personnel problems. These issues have a large impact on how employees feel about their jobs by providing negative or positive reinforcements for individuals and the entir school organization.
The personnel function, as one of the modules of a total information system, consists of a planned network of forms, files, reports, records and documents (Anderson, 1988; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994). The personnel function becomes especially important when recruiting or selecting new staff. Communication with candidates becomes critical during the recruitment and selection process and must be consistent in order to be reliable in its treatment of all employees, both present and future.
What is the Purpose and the Importance of Human Resource Planning?
Human resource planning, or personnel planning, is one of the five major administrative functions in the operation of any enterprise. Human resource planning, development, and the personnel function address the areas of recruitment, selection, compensation, and appraisal of personnel. Castetter (1992) divided HRP process into 11 key areas that work together. These subfunctions are: planning, bargaining, recruitment, selection, induction, appraisal, development, compensation, justice, continuity, and information.
Castetter■s model shows the internal and external personnel information needs working simultaneously on the other personnel subfunctions. These internal and external situational forces influenced school board decision-making and indicated the importance and complexity of recruitment and selection procedures and practices. For Castetter, the internal forces were the purposes and the informal and formal goals of the organization. Size, structure, and quality of leadership were also classified as internal forces acting on personnel processes. The external forces consisted of the outside political environment influencing the total school organization. In Saskatchewan, internal and external forces might vary within each school division, although legal statutes, such as equity legislation, would be consistent with affirmative action policy.
It is important for HRP to have one person who understands the organization■s goals, missions and culture (Anderson, 1988; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994; Johnson, 1987). In order for the personnel office to function effectively, the human resource management personnel need working knowledge of the management process and the school environment and an understanding of the collective agreement and key players in the bargaining process.
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School administrators and school boards must prepare themselves for current and future needs of their school system. Having well planned and defined recruitment and selection policies in place before recruitment commences is important (Broussard, Arceneaux, & Boutte, 1989; Genck & Klingenberg, 1980; Hite et al., 1994; Musella & Lawton, 1986).
Because of the laws and regulations put in place during the past 10 years, recruitment has changed. Affirmative action and equity policies dictate procedures for administration and school boards to allow for fair hiring practices. One of the best ways to avoid unjust practices, such as discriminatin, is to develop planned, written policies (Anderson, 1988; Caldwell & Tymko, 1990; Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992).
Written recruitment and selection policies also demonstrate that the school board operates the school system in an efficient and businesslike manner, and help set clear goals and procedures by which the board can administer. Castetter, Caldwell and Tymko believe there is a continuous need to define policy and that major problems occur due to lack of adequate policy making. Having written policy standardizes the recruitment and selection procedures and validates the entire process.
King (as cited in Caldwell & Tymko, 1990), Alberta■s former Minister of Education (1979), underscored the importance of board initiative in policy making in his remarks at an Alberta School Trustees■ Association Convention. He listed three conditions that would reduce the frequency of his intervention in decisions of school boards:
1. The school board should have written policy, preferably in anticipation of situations that might arise.
2. The policy must be fair and equitable in its nature.
3. The policy must be fair and equitable in its application.
Castetter (1992) agreed with Caldwell and Tymko (1990) and furthermore stressed three important parts of policymaking: intent, procedure, and responsibility (p. 125).
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The role of the school principal has become more complex, demanding, diversified and difficult (Lezotte & Peterson, 1991; Peters & Waterman, 1984; Renihan, 1990; Sackney, 1988). The double nature or role of the in-school administrator as a manager and a leader was posited. Deal and Peterson (1994) viewed the successful in-school administrator as bifocal ■ a healthy balance of the engineer or technician and the artistic or the symbolic leader.
In-school administrators brin their own leadership style, work styles, personal characteristics and personal vision to the job (Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Loder, 1982; Sackney, 1988; Wareham, 1991). The role of the in-school administrator changes depending on each school and student situation. Gorton et al. (1988) recognized if ■one person is to embody the purpose, programs, and atmosphere of a particular school, that person is the principal■ (p. 197).
Outstanding schools have outstanding principals (Baltzell & Dentler, 1983; Renihan, 1990; Sackney, 1988; Stephenson, 1994). However, what characteristics make a principal or in-school administrator outstanding, effective, and efficient are open to discussion. Good principals appear to require highly developed professional and personal skills. Professional skills include planning of curriculum, instruction, evaluation, organization, financial management and political processes (Gorton et al., 1988, pp. 197-8). Personal skills include leadership, communication and group processes (Gorton et al., 1988, pp. 197-8).
Bennis (cited in Castallo et al., 1992) found six common characteristics of effective leaders: (a) ability to develop and communicate a vision, (b) ability to communicate, (c) persistence, (d) consistency, (e) focus, and (f) empowerment. Bennis thought chief executive officers ■viewed themselves as leaders, not managers■ (p. 20). Gorton et al. (1988) listed 12 generic skills of principals: problem analysis, judgement, organizational ability, decisiveness, leadership, sensitivity, stress tolerance, oral communication, written communication, range of interests, personal motivation, and educational values (p. 9). In the business world, Wareham (1991) provided similar elements that comprise the anatomy of a great executive such as energy, conscious goals and hidden agendas, intelligence, work habits and people skills.
Tarmerien and Travers (cited in Hite, Krueger, & Basom, 1994) reported this profile of a successful rural administrator:
The typical successful candidate was a married male, 38.7 years of age, who had previously taught for 10.7 years, had become a principal at the age of 34, was a graduate of a public college, and had enrolled in educational administration for purposes of professional advancement. (p. 563)
Other researchers (Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Broussard et al., 1989; Epp, 1993; Lofstrom, 1974; Stout, 1973) supported the profile of the white male principal. However, during the last decade the unique strengths of administrators who are women have been extolled (Eagly, Karau, & Johnson, 1992; McGrath, 1992; Shakeshaft, 1987).
Effective leaders in a business setting have a distinct role to play in the operations of their firms and in the economic growth and development of their country. Glueck (1972) defined an effective leader as one who:
1. has a disciplined capacity of mind, leading to a capacity to think in explicit terms about the problems arising from the tasks which he must complete;
2. has a high ability to form organizations within which the work of others can be coordinated toward a commonly shared end;
3. is prepared to carry the psychological burdens of making decisions despite the uncertainties of the future and assessing the work of others; and
4. has a strong sense of the social responsibility of those in managerial positions. (p. 6)
Katz and Ansoff (cited in Glueck, 1972) argued that top managers make primarily strategic and administrative decisions that require conceptual and human skills. Glueck■s criteria would seem to apply to principals as well.
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School boards may inquire why a recruitment process is necessary when there is an overabundance of in-school administrators and teachers. However, the literature supports the notion that a certain type of principal can make a significant impact on schools. Consequently, a process or strategy is necessary to deal effectively with equal opportunity issues, to hire the right people, to minimize cost and, most importantly, to identify marginal performers before they are hired.
Castetter (1992) suggested that, as competition increases, finding qualified, talented personnel to conduct the work of educational systems requires a recruitment process that must be ■an extensive and aggressive program...directed toward placing and keeping a qualified and satisfied individual in every position in the system, and is critical to organizational effectiveness■ (p. 111). The nature of recruitment, then, is to find a qualified pool of candidates.
Recruitment activities entail organizing staff, generating applicant pools, matching individual talents with interests and opportunities, and adjusting and developing personnel (Castetter, 1992, p. 109). If an effective recruitment process is in place and qualified candidates found, future personnel and selection problems would be minimized and future high achievers or innovative leaders would be attracted to the school system.
Recruitment practices, according to Rebore (1982), were affected by factors in the school division and its community. These factors included size of school district, urban or rural area, other employment conditions in the community, working conditions, salary levels, fringe benefits and increase or decrease in student population (Rebore, 1982, p. 71).
It has been demonstrated that ■well-designed recruiting programs result in greater employee commitment, higher productivity, and higher quality of work■ (Castetter, 1992, p. 112). By recruiting high-quality in-school administrators, schools become more effective and, therefore, the goal of excellence is more attainable (Lezotte & Peterson, 1991; Renihan, 1990; Sackney, 1988).
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Certain recruiting procedures produce the best candidates for particular job vacancies (Anderson, 1988; Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994). However, before any contact with candidates, human resource planning must identify current and future staffing needs. A job vacancy is analyzed to see what the actual job specifications are and what method of recruitment will be most effective. There are several common methods of recruiting, including internal search, referrals, contacting employment agencies, advertising vacancies with college and university placement services, advertising in newspapers and in the publications of professional organizations, following up on unsolicited applications, and contacting community organizations that promote the interests of minority groups (Rebore, 1982, pp. 83-4). Most organizations have two pools of candidates from which to recruit, internal and external. If there are enough qualified candidates internally, external recruitment may not be needed.
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Herman (1994) suggested three ways to hire from within the organization. The first approach does not consider affirmative action and is seen as unfair and preferential by other candidates seeking leadership positions. Frequently the manager checks with the supervisor to whom the person currently reports, and if the transfer plan is acceptable to both, the change is made. Job posting and searching employers■ skill inventories and succession plans are the two other ways Herman suggests to hire from within the organization.
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Herman (1994) also listed 16 sources for external recruitment: (a) rsum databases; (b) public employment agencies; (c) private employment agencies; (d) executive search firms; (e) outplacement centers; (f) high school and vocational school recruiting; (g) college and professional school recruiting; (h) employee referrals; (i) direct mail brochures; (j) raiding competitors; (k) trade shows; (l) job fairs and open houses; (m) the media: newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and .v.; (n) Old Boys■ and Old Girls■ Network; (o) internships; and (p) local union hiring halls (pp. 57-65).
Most school districts when recruiting externally devise a formal advertisement dictated by the job description and criteria used in selecting the most qualified candidate for the job. Herman (1994) suggested good organizations make the effort to identify people with potential early on and encourage them by providing special projects that will challenge them and give them visibility (p. 55). She also thought 60%-80% of promotions should be made from within the organization to keep organizational goals and culture and 20%-40% should be from outside the organization to bring in new blood.
Advertisements are required to promote attention, interest, desire, and action (AIDA). Redman and Mathews (1992) described the AIDA model.
A - Attention - suggests using a big, colorful if affordable with identifiable company logo or noticeable name which stands out at a glance. The job title should be in the headline.
I - Interest - generate interest through the job and advertisement by confirming potential candidates that the job offer is worthy of consideration and the potential candidate has the necessary abilities to apply for the job by stating clear job title, location, salary, in the headline and experience, qualifications, and personal attributes below.
D - Desire - means stating the nature of employment, giving a clear image of the organization, stating the entire rewards package and communicating desirable and undesirable attributes of the job.
A - Action - refers to the final stage of the advertisement which will clearly stimulate action in potential clients to apply for the position. (p. 41)
Because of an abundance of job applicants, school boards have paid little attention to this model.
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Affirmative action and equal opportunity requirements are mandated by various civil rights legislation in the United States which ■prohibits discrimination in recruitment because of race, age, handicap, military service, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, and national origin■ (Rebore, 1982, p. 72). In Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code affirm equality rights in Saskatchewan and prohibit discrimination on the basis of factors ■like race, colour, religion, age, sex, or disability■ (STF, 1987, p. 1).
In 1986, the federal government passed The Employment Equity Act, to augment equal opportunity and affirmative action programs. In Saskatchewan, equity issues are related to groups such as ■women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons who are, because of their race or colour, in a visible minority■ (STF, 1987, p. 1).
School districts eliminate discrimination by devising a well-planned set of recruitment procedures written in policy before recruitment action (Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994; Musella & Lawton, 1986).
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Recruitment can be managed by a group or by a single individual. The board of education should be the prime mover in developing the recruitment process or policy; yet once the policy is developed, responsibility for recruitment should be delegated to a chief officer, or individual in charge of the personnel function (Anderson, 1988; Caldwell & Tymko, 1990; Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Genck & Klingenberg, 1980; Musella & Lawton, 1986).
The board of education, by virtue of the powers vested in it, is the key agent of the system for interpreting and implementing social values of American democratic society through recruitment policy. Individual school boards along with a superintendent, human resource planner or director, personnel administrator, chief executive central administration should develop policy, define policy, and give direction to recruitment procedures. (Castetter, 1992, pp. 126-7)
Castallo et al. (1992) agreed with Castetter and suggested that the primary role of the board of education was to develop policies, while the role of administration was to implement those policies. Castetter felt that clear recruitment policies should be written in advance of the employment process.
Schools change and school boards, administrators, and organizations experience personnel changes. Therefore, a comprehensive recruitment polic would help school boards and administrators deal effectively with recruitment in spite of change and would give school boards direction and eliminate confusion. Recruiters must know what they need to do before they begin the process. According to Castetter (1992), ■a manual for recruiters can improve the effectiveness of your school■ (p. 130).
There is no shortage of recruitment sources for school districts, but there is an urgent need for school districts to invest time, energy, and money in developing good recruitment practices and policies (Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Herman, 1994; Musella & Lawton, 1986; Rebore, 1982). Literature equates good recruitment practices and policies with the ability to enable school boards to find the best candidate for their schools (Anderson, 1988; Caldwell & Tymko, 1990; Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Genck & Klingenberg, 1980; Herman, 1994; Stout, 1973).
In the business world, media advertising and specifically the newspaper advertisement is the critical force in the recruitment process. Boudreau and Rynes (1985) considered newspaper advertising to be the most important phase in terms of cost effectiveness and in playing a central role in the hiring process.
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The selection process is the key activity wherein decisions are made about which personnel will fill positions that become vacant. Selection requires a position-matching plan designed to link available personnel with the position requirements.
Selection procedures and interviews are usually structured around information relating to the work history of the candidates, their education and training, present social adjustment, mental ability, motivation, and maturity.
The purpose of selection as outlined by Castetter (1992) is to fill existing vacancies with personnel who meet established qualifications, appear likely to succeed on the job, will find sufficient position satisfaction to remain in the system, will be effective contributors to unit and system goals, and will be sufficiently motivated to achieve a high level of self-development. (p. 147)
The task of selection emphasizes the complexity, strength, and limits of selection technology as well as the critical impact selection has on the organizational system. Researchers generally agree about the great need for school districts to have a well-defined selection process for in-school administrators (Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994).
Ten strategies were suggested to help school districts develop strategic plans for recruitment and selection of administrators (Anderson, 1988). They included:
1. Develop written policies.
2. Develop specific selection criteria.
3. Identify the specific opening in vacancy announcements.
4.Create a pool of qualified candidates.
5. Recruit widely.
6. Involve a broad base of people in screening and selction.
7. Train those who select principals.
8. Use multiple means of assessment.
9. Consider varied information source about candidates.
10. Help the new principal succeed at the job.
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There are several steps: Resumes: In reading resumes, human resource planners look for omissions, confusing wordings and peculiar additions (Anderson, 1988; Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994). Neatness, organization, descriptor words, veracity, and the general rsum layout to show the person■s knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests were all important items for consideration. Herman suggested that sorting rsums would help the personnel manager in the decision making process. The use of rsums could range from: ■(a) we■ll never need them, (b) we might need them someday, and (c) we might use them now■ (Herman, 1994, pp. 78-80).
Screening: The prescreening interview, often conducted by telephone, may be used when there are too many applicants to interview in person, a lack of time and money, as a surprise element to get the applicant to talk without any preparation, or just to hear how the applicant sounds. A telephone call may give an applicant a realistic preview of the job, determine whether the applicant would like to be pursued further and whether the applicant is worth pursuing further.
Employee Testing: Employee testing was developed during World War I to help the military determine quickly and inexpensively which recruits would be best suited to or unfit for military service. Ability testing was found to be nearly four times more accurate in measuring a person■s cognitive ability than was a job interview (Wonderlic, cited in Herman, 1994).
Due to fair and equitable hiring policies, employee testing was seldom used for hiring of in-school administrators because some of the written timed tests were unfair. When employee testing was used for obtaining information about in-school administrators, it was most commonly conducted in an assessment center. ■An assessment center is a testing site where applicants generally spend several days with evaluators and other applicants, taking elaborate, intensive, extensive screening tests which usually include some degree of ability testing, personality testing, and work sample testing■ (Herman, 1994, p. 103). This technique is referred to as a multiphase program and is seldom used in Saskatchewan.
Interviews: Designing application and interview questions is both an art and a science. ■The art is determining what questions will reveal to you whether or not the applicant is qualified. The science is in determining if in fact these questions actually determine whether or not the applicant will be successful■ (Herman, 1994, p. 87).
Herman (1994) thought there should be a reason to ask interview questions and a way to evaluate the applicat■s answer in order to make interview questions valid and able to predict job performance. Herman gave 17 reasons why she thought the interview was invalid, unreliable and potentially illegal. She gave a range of reasons such as overconfident interviewers, comparing apples to oranges, and stereotypes (pp. 116-120). Though much dependence is placed on the interview, extensive research confirms that the results of an interview could be misleading (Broussard et al., 1989; Castetter, 1992; Musella & Lawton, 1986).
The interview is the most common form used in selection of in-school administrators. The number of candidates should be anywhere from three to five (Castallo et al., 1992; Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994). Yet ■it is a terrible predictor of job success...the least valid and the least reliable■ (Herman, 1994, p. 114) because some candidates were better at articulation or selling their skills. Many problems with the interview have been elucidated: lack of training by the interviewers, unstructured form of interview, disagreement on questions to ask or topics to cover, differing important perspectives, no valid weighting system given to the answers, and the risk of asking illegal questions (Anderson, 1988; Castetter, 1992; Gibney, 1987; Herman, 1994). Nevertheless, the interview continues to be used as a major determinant when selecting in-school administrators.
Structured Style Interview: In a structured style interview each applicant for the same job is asked the same series of questions (Herman, 1994, p. 122). Components of a structured style interview include (a) job requirements, (b) use of situational questions, (c) job knowledge questions, (d) job simulation questions, (e) worker requirement questions, (f) test for validity, (g) evaluation of answers, (h) multiple raters (colleague group, interview team) rather than a single interviewer, (i) documented notes taken by interviewers, (j) imitative procedures, (k) consistently applied to each applicant, and (l) standardized questions (Herman, 1994, pp. 122-3). If a structured and weighted interview process is used there is a greater chance of selecting an appropriate leader (Castetter, 1992; Herman, 1994; Marshall & Grey, 1992; Musella & Lawton, 1986; Stout, 1973).
References: Checking references eliminates employer liability or negligence, verifies critical information, and checks how effective the person was in his or her previous employment from former employers. However, the reference check is often the most neglected part of the screening process, even though it may be the most critical (Herman, 1994). Herman thought the telephone and in-person references gave the most accurate picture of the job applicant. The lack of attention to the reference check may be due to conventional wisdom which suggests that ■the job applicant will provide only the names of people who will sing his or her praises, and because former employers will say innocuous platitudes rather than tell the truth, for fear of legal problems■ (Herman, 1994, p. 146).
Consulting Services : A new field of service opening up in the 1990s is consulting services. The executive and management recruiting consultant has achieved recent success. Consultants are a source of unique skill and expert counsel and provide specialized knowledge and experience to both small and large companies. When chief executives pick the consultants, the performance of the consultants was rated higher than when someone lower in the organizational hierarchy picks the consultant firm (Rapuzzi, 1993, p. 45).
Search Firms: Corporate boards choose search firms based on creativity and experience because ■there■s more to choosing a top CEO than merely deciding upon a name recruiters insist■ (Hass, 1993, pp. 20-21). Search firms are used by corporate boards to perform the delicate task of approaching the right people in the right manner. Foote (cited in Hass, 1993) suggested that search firms are hired ■because we have relationships with the people involved and because we are known for discretion. Part of our job is to help them (committee members) articulate what they are searching for and to balance the discussion among board members who may not agree■ (pp. 20-21).
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The review of the literature presented and discussed the purposes of the HRP, need for policy recruitment and selection procedures of in-school administrators, and the necessary skills for in-school administrators. The complex nature of recruitment and the selection process was discussed. Models and limitations of these processes were presented and related to recruitment and selection.
A dependence on the interview as the tool most commonly used in selection of in-school administrators is contrary to much research that suggested the best selection process is one that used a multitude of techniques. Recommendations for the recruitment and selection process formulated from the review of related literature include the following:
1.Effective planning for recruitment and selection of in-school administrators is the key step to any process.
2.All communication and information concerning candidates for recruitment or selection should be contained in one department or person through the function of the HRP office.
3.Recruitment and selection procedures should be realistic, written in policy, and implemented.
4.Multiple and varied weighted selection techniques should be utilized in the selection of in-school administrators.
If the selection process is well handled and managed professionally, ■The person who did get selected realizes that he or she has been put through a rigorous process, is proud of deserving the job, is eager to live up to the new challenges, and feels special and valued by the organization, even before coming on board■ (Stout, 1973, p. 161). Additionally, an effective recruitment and selection procedure produces positive feelings in the selection committee (Baltzell & Dentler, 1992; Marshall & Grey, 1992). By recruiting widely and correctly, obtaining the ■best■ qualified people to apply for management or administrative positions, and selecting methodically, chances of having better, more effective leaders in critical leadership positions are increased.
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Respondents were asked to share their perceptions of the process used for recruitment and selection of in-school administrators, their levels of satisfaction with that process, the actual and ideal personal and professional qualifications for the administative jobs and such written policies as they followed.
All participants were either directors, chairpersons or their designates in Saskatchewan■s separate and public school divisions. A total of 196 questionnaires were mailed to 87 directors and 109 chairpersons, and were returned by 69 of 87 directors, 26 of 108 chairpersons, and 2 designates. Five questionnaires were returned unanswered. While the overall response was 49%, 71% of the directors and 27% of chairpersons replied.
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Respondents were queried about their position and gender, the number of teaching in-school administrators in their division, and to recollect their most recent position appointed, the location of the school and the grade structure.
Seventy per cent reported the principal was the most recent appointment and 30% the vice-principal. Thirty-seven per cent of new administrative employees were for K-12 schools, 19% for K-6, 10% K-9, 9% K-8 and 25% had other grade structures. Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents had 10 or less teaching principals in their division. Ninety per cent had 10 or administrative principals.
Information on the actual recruiting and selection procedures for 1993-94 was obtained from 14 questions in the research instrument. The information concerned the extent to which written recruitment and selection policies existed, the persons involved in the various stages of selection, specific procedures used to recruit and select an in-school administrator, and the level of satisfaction directors and chairpersons had for the process.
Question 1: How are candidates for the position of in-school administrators brought to the attention of the recruitment and selection hiring teams?
Identification of candidates by superintendent or director (79%), applications from the teaching staff (self-identification) (72%), and request from a newspaper advertisement (71%) were the most common practices. Based on this data, phone calls to other school divisions (22%), identification of candidates by member of the school board (23%), and identification of candidates by other administrative personnel (26%) were the least common recruitment practices.
Eighty-six per cent of respondents considered external applications. Eighty-six per cent never attempted to recruit before candidates are actually needed. As a result of advertising, 80% used external recruitment. Two per cent requested names from teachers■ colleges or teachers of education.
Question 2: What situational factors and functions performed by in-school administrators do directors and school boards value when recruiting in-school administrators?
Directors and chairpersons were also asked to indicate the importance of 14 functions of the in-school administrator as applied to the school for which the person was selected. These same respondents were similarly asked to indicate the importance that each of 10 situational factors played in the selection process for the most recently hired in-school administrator.
The two functions considered most important were fostering of desirable attitudes on the part of students and teachers (rapport building) and communication in the school). Professional leadership inside the school ranked third, classroom teaching and monitoring student achievement fourth and communication outside the school fifth. The two functions considered least important were organizing extracurricular activities and community leadership.
Needs of the school, climate, nature of the staff and nature of the program were of the most importance to directors and chairpersons when selecting an in-school administrator. Size of community, location of school and type of community were less important.
Question 3: What practices do school boards use in the selection process for in-school administrators?
Rsums and cover letters (97%), structured in-depth interviews (89%), reference checking by telephone (86%), and letters of reference or recommendations (81%) were the most common. Medical examination (2%), standardized tests (3%), written objectives and/or essay tests (3%), an assessment center approach (5%), in-person field visits (9%), and internship (10%) were seldom used. Other selection procedures infrequently used were unstructured interviews (14%), written selection policy (19%), written specific selection criteria (21%), pre-screening interviews (21%), and weighting scales by selection committee (32%). Internal selection, majority vote, references from a priest, written evaluation reports, and visiting the candidate at his or her current job site were five other selection procedures respondents mentioned.
Question 4: What personal and professional qualifications for in-school administrators are required by school boards?
Each director or chairperson was asked the importance they actually placed on 22 personal and 25 professional criteria, as well as the level of ideal importance on the same 47 criterea.
Mature judgment, decisiveness, problem analysis and openness to new ideas ranked as the most important criteria in the ■actual■ category. The actual and ideal personal qualifications such as gender of candidate, age, range of interests, and community membership were the least important.
Professional integrity, human relation skills and work with children ranked as the most important ideal criteria. Research skills, employee of local district, Saskatchewan school-based administrators professional development program and principal short course were the least important.
Question 5: Who is responsible for the recruitment and selection of in-school administrators? Who makes up the interview-hiring team?
While the division board, local school board and director were reported as being most involved with all three stages, there were some variations in frequency. The division board was most involved in selection (89%) and least involved in determining qualifications (55%). The local school board or school advisory committee was most involved in selection (67%) and least involved in determining what procedures would be used. Only 24% of respondents reported that their school divisions do provide training for their selection committees.
Question 6: How many Saskatchewan school boards have written policy on recruitment and selection of in-school administrators?
Fifty-five per cent of the 97 respondents reported that their divisions had written policies, while 45% did not. Thirty-nine per cent sent in their recruitment and selection policies.
Question 7: To what extent have Saskatchewan school boards defined their selection criteria and standardized their procedures for recruitment and selection?
Eighty per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the written policy is followed when recruiting; several reported having historic practices rather than written recruitment or selection policies.
Variances were noted in the 37 recruitment and selection policies that were returned with the questionnaire. The shortest policy was one paragraph and the longest 17 pages. The policies contained information about professional qualifications, how to interview candidates, administrative evaluation, information regarding the Education Act, selection of committee members and general selection policy to cover the employment of all educational personnel and employees. The information from the school divisions was inconsistent. However, reference was made quite frequently to the policy being only a guideline. As well, the final decision, although influenced by the director, rested completely with the school division board. Also, there was a definite link in policy between principal selection and principal evaluation.
Question 8: Is there a difference between large urban, small urban, and rural respondents■ perceptions of the current practices of recruitment and selection of in-school administrators?
Identification of candidates by superintendent or director, request for applications by newspaper advertisement, consideration of external applications, and applications as a result of external advertising recruitment are the four factors showing statistically significant differences in recruitment procedures between the groups of respondents. Medical examination, internship and field trips are the three factors showing statistically significant differences between the three groups of respondents.
Similarities between small urban and rural respondents were evident in six of the seven factors which displayed significant differences. Identification by superintendent or director, request for applications by newspaper advertisements, consideration of external applications, and applications as a result of external advertisement are current recruitment practices used more frequently by small urban and rural respondents than by respondents from large urban school divisions. Medical examinations were selection practices never used by small urban and rural respondents, whereas large urban utilized medical examinations 22% of the time. Large urban divisions never used internship as a selection practice, while the rural group (8%), and the small urban (29%) did utilize the practice.
Question 9: What is the satisfaction level of directors and school board members in the recruitment and selection processes of in-school administrators in their school division?
In general, the respondents were very satisfied with their recruitment and selection processes. Sixty-eight per cent of directors and chairpersons were very satisfied, 30% moderately satisfied, 1% slightly dissatisfied and 1% very dissatisfied with their recruitment processes.
Sixty-seven per cent were very satisfied, 27% were moderately satisfied, 5% were slightly dissatisfied and 1% were very dissatisfied with the selection processes.
Directors and chairpersons were also asked if they desired revisions. Thirty-four per cent wanted revisions; 66% did not.
Question 10: Are there differences between the importance of the actual practices and directors■ and school boards■ perceptions of the importance of the ideal practices?
Significant differences were found to exist between the actual and ideal importance placed on scholarship, good health, gender of candidate, mature judgment and group skills. Dress, personal security, problem analysis, sensitivity, decisiveness, articulated vision and mission, open to new ideas, life-long learner, high energy, sense of humor, tolerance of stress and reflective are all personal qualifications which show statistically significant differences with probabilities < .05.
Significant differences were found between human relations skills, decision making skills, academic courses and superintendent rating of teaching, superintendent rating of administration, administrative-technical skills, curriculum development skills, collaborative work style, administrative experience, research skills, community relations skills, change strategy skills, work with children, communication skills, university graduate and undergraduate degrees, university courses in educational administration, principal short course, Saskatchewan school-based administrator professional development program, professional integrity, adaptable leadership style, in-service training, and professional development.
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Available literature clearly supports the importance to school districts of having, and following, a well-defined recruitment and selection process for employing in-school administrators. Maximum benefits accrue when policies are developed and written before any hiring takes place.
Among other things, such a policy platform can help an employer address past discrimination and improve present employment opportunities for all, especially women, Native people, and persons with physical disabilities. Recruitment and selection processes have typically focused on interviews and application forms, and only recently has the emphasis changed to written policies with a weighting scale when hiring in-school administrators. This new attention to the processes will impact on the successful selection of effective administrators which will then affect teachers, students, and schools.
Studies have demonstrated that those involved in the selection process have lacked training and knowledge of the personal and professional qualifications needed by in-school administrators. This has led to an over-emphasis on the interview. The interview itself has been unstructured. It has been demonstrated that a more structured process alleviates some of the problems in dealing with questioning of candidates.
Many school divisions, while recognizing the importance of in-shool administrators to the effectiveness of their schools, have still failed to spend the necessary time, energy and money finding the best leaders. While concentrating on the role of the interview, they have not devoted enough time to establishing a critical pool of candidates, which would increase the chances of finding a suitable leader.
This study revealed that, in general, directors and chairpersons were very satisfied with their school divisions■ recruitment and selection processes. They highlighted the role and importance of the superintendent or director in the hiring process.
External recruitment (86%) and applications from advertising (80%) were frequently considered in the recruitment process. Requesting names from teachers■ colleges or facilities of education were seldom used (2%), and public employment agencies were never used for external recruitment. Recruitment is done on a need basis (86%) and lists of suitable candidates are kept on hand for one year by 56% of the respondents. Future administrators applying for in-school administrative positions should make applications as an immediate response to an advertised position.
Fostering desirable attitudes on the parts of students and teachers (rapport building) and communication in the school were found to be important functions of in-school administrators. These findings were similar to Loder■s (1982). Important factors in the selection of administrators included a concern for the needs of the school, the climate and the nature of the staff, and programming.
The results from this analysis indicated there has been some increase in the number of school divisions with written recruitment and selection policies from what was reported in the 1992 study. The number has risen to 55 per cent from 28 per cent. However, it is still low in light of the call in 1992 for all school boards to develop such policies, and to do so in advance of hiring.
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Based on a discussion of the research findings, a number of conclusions were reached. Following is a summary:
1. Directors are very important in the recruitment and selection of in-school administrators.
2. There is a dependence on a limited number of established selection procedures by school divisions when selecting an in-school administrator. More emphasis is placed on reference checking by telephone.
3. Only a few persons are involved in the selection process for in-school administrators: directors, division boards, and local boards.
4. In-school administrators are most often hired as teaching principals.
5. The recruitment and selection of in-school administrators remains a very inconsistent process which relies heavily on the use of a few established procedures and no consistent written policy. No province-wide policies exist in Saskatchewan. About one-half of school divisions have written recruitment and selection policies for in-school administrators. However, the number of written policies has increased since Loder■s (1982) study.
6. Although there are recommendations from research studies that recruitment and selection policies be written and available to employees, this is not the case in many Saskatchewan school divisions.
7. As far as can be determined, the selection of in-school administrators is a result of the preferences of directors and of untrained school division selection committees.
8. An extensive look at the written policies suggests a definite connection between in-school administrative selection and assessment.
9. The majority of directors of education and chairpersons are very satisfied with the recruitment and selection practices of in-school administrators in their school divisions.
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Based on those conclusions, the following recommendations are made:
1. Facilitate professional development and training workshops for selection committee members.
2. Uitlize other committee members in addition to board members and directors in the selection process of in-school administrators, especially parents and teachers.
3. Provide system direction by writing and establishing sound reasonable guidelines and policies for recruitment and selection of in-school administrators.
4. Maximize the strengths and experience of recruitment and selection personnel.
5. Facilitate, support, and provide workshops and networking opportunities for aspiring in-school administrators.
6. Maintain short lists and utilize continuous recruitment activities to establish a ■pool of strong candidates■ for future leadership positions.
7. Place more emphasis on the recruitment process to establish a wider ■pool of candidates.■
8. Establish a weighting scale and utilize multiple techniques which examine the entire set of qualifications of candidates.
9. Spend the necessary time, energy, and money establishing the necessary criteria and matching reasonable school recruitment and selection policy.
10. Consider using recruitment and selection criteria as a basis for in-school administrator assessment.
11. Share written recruitment and selection policies with other school divisions.
12. Directors could solicit responses from staff and parents on the important criteria for recruitment and selection of in-school administrators.
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1. A study comparing, sharing, or helping school divisions develop effective written recruitment and selection policies could be initiated. Part of this study could entail how school divisions can co-operatively utilize valuable information on recruitment and selection.
2. A more in-depth investigation could be conducted with school divisions based on their actual practices as compared to their written recruitment and selection policies.
3. This study included participants from Saskatchewan school divisions. A comparative study of the recruitment and selection practices in other provinces of Canada could be initiated.
4. This study sampled only directors and chairpersons of the school divisions or their designates. The possible inclusions of in-school administrators (principals and vice-principals), teachers, and parents in the recruitment and selection process makes these groups worthy of study in terms of their perceptions of the recruitment and selection process and the ideal personal and professional qualifications for in-school administrators.
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Comments on changes desired by survey participants in the recruitment and selection process provided good advice.
Goals of this study included finding out if school divisions had written recruitment and selection policies and were satisfied with the recruitment and selection process. Suggestions for changes were welcomed. It was hoped that the findings might generate some discussion amongst those responsible for hiring in-school administrators about the use of a well-thought out plan for recruitment and selection. By following a well-devised plan, perhaps more fair and equitable hiring practices might be accomplished in the future recruitment and selection of effective in-school administrators.
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