07/24/2020 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Communication With Hiring Contacts: Too Much or Not Enough?

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Communication throughout the job search can be an incredibly frustrating experience — for a teaching or administrative candidate, for a school hiring contact, and even for a Carney Sandoe Placement Associate. How do you find the balance between too much contact and not enough? How do you manage the anxiety of not receiving a quick response — particularly because we are constantly connected and especially now amid the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic?

First: Be patient.

Recognize that while the job search may be at the forefront of your mind, school hiring contacts are typically managing multiple job searches for their schools while fulfilling their full-time duties as deans of faculty/heads of school/division heads, teachers, coaches, and advisers — all on top of planning for the fall. Lean on your Placement Team for feedback, updates, and information, and keep in mind that we are here to help — not to make the process more daunting.

Worried about your own communication tactics? Take a look at some scenarios below.

“After getting referred to a school by Carney Sandoe, I followed up on that referral within a week by sending the school a cover letter. When I didn’t hear back right away, I sent another email, just to make sure the hiring contact got my cover letter. Still nothing. So I called and left several voice messages for the contact.”

This is an example of overkill. The urge to do something to help your job search can be overwhelming, but do not start stalking school contacts. Often, a school will list a job and begin collecting candidate materials a month (or more) before it begins the initial interview process. This may be because the opening is tentative, or because the school has several positions they are trying to fill, or because an unexpected issue arose on campus that has caused a delay in the initial hiring timeline. Being too pushy could hurt your candidacy. Follow up on the referral as requested, then be patient. If you are itching to know what's going on, talk to your Placement Associate. Often they have insight into the status of a position and can share what they know from the school.

“I am definitely job searching, but I am so busy with my current job and my personal life that I just don’t have any time to work on my supporting materials for CS&A, set up phone interviews, or follow up on referrals. It may take me a week or so to respond to a school that has indicated an interest in me.”

This approach is as harmful as the overkill. Working at an independent school is more time-consuming than most jobs — there are high expectations, and faculty members tend to be involved in many aspects of school life. For most people, this is a great benefit of the independent school culture. But to succeed in such a culture, you must be able to manage your time effectively. A lack of response tells schools (and us) that you're not serious about your search. If you have too much going on in your life and can’t meet the requirements of a job search, you might want to consider postponing your search for a year.

“A school that I’m not interested in asked me to phone interview. I feel uncomfortable telling them “no,” so I’m just not going to respond.”

Please don’t do this. You should respond to the school within a day and let them know that — for whatever reason — you are going in another direction. You will feel worse if you let the email sit and need to have the conversation a week later. Moreover, make sure your Associate at CS&A knows why the referral wasn’t a good match so they can refine the types of referrals they send you. Communication is key to a successful job search.

“I saw a job listed online, but I haven’t received a referral from CS&A. I am going to email my Associate to see if Carney Sandoe is working on the search.”

Perfect! We are always happy to get these calls and emails. Sometimes, we will not be working with that particular school, and in those cases we will tell you to apply on your own. Other times, we will be working on the search but won’t have thought the position would interest you — so knowing of your interest will be a huge help, not only for this job but for similar postings that may arise down the line. There are times, though, when we are working on a job but cannot send your file due to the specifications provided to us by the school (for example, they are looking for a candidate with 5-7 years of AP US History teaching experience, and you are one year out of college and have a degree in European History).

Bottom line: be patient and understanding, and lean on your Placement Team. We’re here to help!

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