10/16/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

The Three Ps of a Compelling Candidate

Red apple amongst many green ones Stay connected with CS&A

There are a lot of different traits, qualifications, and skills that schools look for in candidates when hiring new faculty. The list can range from school to school and position to position, and can even evolve during the interview and hiring process. Some schools are very focused on educational background and content knowledge, while others find relevant experience working with young children most important.

That can be both daunting and frustrating for someone looking to land their dream teaching job. “If I don't know exactly what schools are looking for, what am I supposed to focus on in my personal statement? How do I make myself stand out? What should my resumé cover?”

For job seekers working with CS&A, these are all questions that your personal dedicated Placement Associate can answer for you. Each Associate is an expert in their subject area and knows the intricacies of the job market in order to counsel you through your job search. They're great at identifying opportunities to improve your resumé and offering guidance during a typically stressful process. And, perhaps even more importantly, our Placement Associates know the ins and outs of the schools we work with and have close relationships with hiring managers, meaning you have access to insider information and an advocate in your Associate.

So if each school is unique in what they look for in a candidate, what makes a candidate compelling? Luckily, there are a few characteristics that will benefit every candidate searching for a new position—whether just beginning a teaching career or a seasoned veteran, whether looking to transition to a leadership or administrative role, or whether wanting to teach math or humanities.


Anyone who works with young people knows the importance of positivity. Hiring contacts at schools will be looking for individuals who exude optimism and can keep a classroom engaged and upbeat. Plus, schools seek new faculty they want to work with—and positive, engaging, and personable people are much more compelling colleagues.


While it’s important to draw from past experiences and appreciate the unique history and culture of an individual school, it’s equally important for faculty to continue innovating and trying new things. Schools are looking for pioneers, who are well-versed in best practices, who conduct their own research, and who are unafraid to try something new in order to yield the best possible results for their students. In your interactions with schools, demonstrate your pioneering qualities—and mention specific examples of how you’ve innovated and the results of those innovations.


Teaching is not easy. Teachers and administrators alike know this, and they understand that, no matter how well a teacher prepares or how perfectly you plans your lessons, things don’t always go so smoothly in class. Hiring contacts want to hear about times you’ve succeeded, but they also want to hear about times you haven’t—and how you’ve persevered and been persistent in the face of obstacles. It’s okay not to be perfect all the time—but you should demonstrate the same persistence, resilience, and grit that you would want to see reflected in your students.

If you like these tips, let us know in the comments! Want to learn more about working with CS&A to find a teaching or administrative role (we fill jobs in all subject areas, as well as in administrative role like admissions, counseling, advancement, student life, etc.)? Leave a comment below or learn more and apply to work with us here.

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