An active member of the LYS Nation submits:
“Again, I have to admit that SC is right. If you are looking for your first principalship outside of your home district, it will take 100 applications, for ten interviews, for one job. By my count, I have now applied for 43 open positions. I have had three interviews. I have been the runner-up twice and I am still waiting for “the big chair” job.
What I have gleaned through this process is I am able to learn a lot about the district by how they treat applicants, interview candidates and make their final selection. You really begin to understand an organization in your attempt to become part of it. Clear communication, friendliness, collegiality, and vision reveal themselves from the first phone conversation to the last.
If I do not get a particular job because I am passionate, on fire, enthusiastic and an LYS change agent, then so be it. I will not compromise who I am. I drink the “LYS Kool-aid” and believe in its tenets. The LYS philosophy that has changed my life and the life of my students!!!”
First of all, though I wish I could take credit for it, Dr. Richard Hooker (an icon in Texas public education) shared the 100 application rule with me when I was a frustrated teacher trying to land my first AP job. When he told it to me I was skeptical, but like you, over time I have found that it is a good rule of thumb. And it helps to remind you during your search that the rejection is just part of the process.
Second, I glad you are starting to see that the interview process is a two-way street. After all, if a district can’t treat strangers (who they want to impress) with professionalism and dignity and communicate a sense of mission and purpose, how do you think they treat and support their actual staff?
Third, the search process does have a hidden positive benefit. It smoothes off the rough edges of our delivery and makes us focus on the critical components of our message. A skillful leader is able to make and support her case concisely, with conviction, without alienating the audience. A host of skeptical interview committees that holds the keys to your career provides you with multiple opportunities to practice and refine this particular skill.
Fourth, when you are applying for the next level job, there are two candidate piles, with experience and without experience. Those with experience have a significant advantage. So when you are in the second group, it takes a little more time, perseverance and sometimes a break. What it doesn’t take is luck. Luck is just the intersection of preparation and opportunity. This means you have to keep preparing and keep putting yourself out there.
Finally, thanks for the kind words and know that your success is what motivates us.
Think. Work. Achieve.