What Do Principals Look For When Hiring Teachers?

What do principals look for when hiring teachers? A school principal is looking for the same qualities in teachers that any company would look for in any employee that they would hire. Principals want someone who is authentic, sincere, and dedicated. These qualities can be found in the best teachers. But above all, principals want to find teachers who are motivated by the same thing they are — genuine concern for students. This often manifests itself through a passion for the subject being taught, confidence in their own abilities, and rapport with the students. 


But what things, besides being well-qualified, really make a prospective hire stand out to a school principal? There are 5 important things when we consider the question what do principals look for when hiring teachers?

  • Sincerity
  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Not speaking bad about their previous school
  • A professional social media presence

Let’s dig into each of these topics one at a time to understand how following these 5 tips can help you in your next education job.

1. Principals Look for Sincerity

A principal is looking for someone who will not only have a good rapport with their students, but also someone who is able to teach the subject with the utmost confidence. Principals want someone who knows what they’re teaching and can make it fun for the kids.

A great teacher is someone who has a passion for the subject, can communicate with students effectively, and has the ability to inspire students to work better. When these qualities are genuinely part of who a teacher is, their sincerity will shine through. Sincerity means dedication, and it means that students are more likely to be drawn to this teacher.

2. Authenticity — Principals Look for Teachers Who Can Be Themself

Another value that principals look for when hiring a teacher is authenticity. If a person isn’t authentic in their interactions with others, their ideas will not be well received. This includes teachers and principals. 

Authenticity is connected to sincerity, but it goes a little further. It’s something that students will automatically sense. A teacher who can be themself, and has the supports in place in their school to do so, will naturally make students feel more comfortable being themselves as well. This will create a warm, open environment in the classroom.

3. Honesty Matters to Hirers

Principals go to great lengths in evaluating teachers for their schools. They rely on references, recommendations, and interviews to make a decision. When it comes down to the final selection, principals, like any employer, are looking for honesty and integrity. 

When someone can be honest about both their strengths and weaknesses, it says a lot about their character and how they will respond to and interact with fellow teachers and administrators later on. Principals want to see someone they can trust, long term. 

Backbiting and dishonesty can create a toxic work environment, and in a school setting, can cloud out what’s really important — ensuring quality education for all students.

4. Principals Want Teachers Who Don’t Speak Badly About Their Previous School

Principals look for people that motivate their staff. They also look for someone who’s a good communicator and have a positive impact on their staff teams. They want teachers who come in every day excited about their job. And they definitely don’t want any problems in the teacher lounge. 

So a teacher talking about their past school jobs in a negative light can dramatically affect how current staff members view them. If a teacher constantly complains about their previous school, staff members may begin to wonder what the teacher says about them behind their back. They will also likely not view the teacher as a team player but rather, someone who is looking for problems.

If a principal notices a teacher speaking negatively about their previous school during their interview, this may be a red flag for them. So it’s best for job-seekers to keep it positive and professional about their past school.

5. A Professional Social Media Presence Matters to Hiring Principals

Principals want to make sure that each and every applicant is properly vetted before they are hired. Teachers have a tremendous amount of responsibility, and the well-being of students should be the top priority. That’s why hiring the right teacher is so important. 

It’s no secret that employers will check out a potential employee’s social media account when considering them for hire. Principals are no different, and they evaluate the social media accounts of all applicants.  

So, what does a teacher’s online presence say about them? Especially if their accounts are public, they should try to keep the social media posts professional. What is posted online can have real-life consequences, including ones that impact employment.

In Conclusion — What Are Principals Looking For?

So, what do principals look for when hiring teachers, and why does it matter? Teaching can be a rewarding, life-changing profession. There are so many sincere, eager teachers out there, whether they’re currently teaching, just out of college, or between jobs. Knowing what a school principal — often a major decision-maker when it comes to hiring — is looking for, can help teachers focus when seeking a job. It can also help principals thoughtfully consider applicants and find a teacher who will be the best fit for their school.

Ultimately, it will lead to a better school culture and better-served students.

Ashley Mauger
Author: Ashley Mauger