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Monday, May 22, 2006

Include youth on your interview team

Many school districts are interviewing for school staff positions this time of year. And it's becoming more mainstream to include youth on interview committees. Youth input can be valuable in staff selection because their point of view is different -- they may notice important qualities that adult interviewers miss.

Here are a few suggestions for including youth on your interview team:

1. Instruct all students about confidentiality, etc, prior to their involvement.

2. Diversify the students you ask to help. While "high-fliers" may be excellent for much of the process, don't forget about the artists, auto mechanics and even those that spend their afternoons in detention from time to time. The key is to get a cross-section of empowered youth.

3. Use the academic "high-fliers" in the question/answer part of the interview process. If each member of the panel has pre-planned questions that are asked of each interviewee, youth can select the questions they'd like to ask. If your process includes a scoring system or ranking, students can also participate.

4. Other empowered students can act as tour guides to candidates as they enter the building. At the end of the day's interviews, the tour guides can offer their impressions of each interviewee. Sometimes the information gleaned from tour guides is valuable. They see the not-in-an-interview candidate.

5. Your interview committee may choose to dismiss youth participants before meeting as adults for the final conversations and decisions. Youth input is valuable, regardless of the fact your team may need a chance to talk more candidly prior to making a decision.

Your district will find a method that works well in your system, but empowering youth in some way will enhance the process.

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