Monday, October 19, 2015

Let's Make Conference Proposals & Interviews Better

For the last month, I've been trying to wrap my mind around how people present themselves and why they make certain choices. This was prompted by three major efforts I've been making recently: 1st, trying to hire the best of the best to our awesome EdTech team; 2nd, working on reviewing National Conference Proposals; 3rd, working on reviewing ISTE Proposals.

I've always been fascinated with being on interview panels - admittedly, few people are at their best during an interview - it's stressful, and even moreso if you really want the job. And it's even more difficult when you're applying for a position that values collaboration above all else - how do you take credit for everything on your resume and balance that with a collaborative spirit....oh, and if you could let all of that shine through in 10 or fewer questions, that'd be super.

As I'm reading Conference Proposals, I'm coming across the same thing - how do you pitch yourself and your ideas without feeling like you're a fake, borrowing off others' ideas, pitching to an audience you don't know and allowing your authentic self come through all in one, small proposal.

So I guess this is my wish and wonder - can we PLEASE change these systems???

Here's my thought (albeit not original, but needed): Make conference proposal submitters pitch their ideas via video. Let's do this. Now. And, it should include references from 1-2 colleagues who've seen you present or seen your work.

And interviews? Let's allow video conferencing in, en masse. I was nearly turned down 4 years ago for a position because I was going to be in North Dakota for the final round of interviews...I was going to be teaching in North Dakota...the very reason I would bring value to the school to which I applied was going to turn me down because I couldn't be there face-to-face. I had to call and email everyone I knew to make a plea. But I was lucky cause I know who to ask - a luxury not most can afford. Let's just level the playing field already and accept video conferencing as a common means of communication.

And all interviews should include a practicum (something I'm proud that our team already does), but a very telling part of all interviews - don't tell me what you can do, show me.

And I'm happy to say that none of these ideas are uniquely my own, nor are they ones I've kept secret.

What other changes do you think should happen with proposals or interviews? Please share in the comments...