It is one of the perquisites of the post of school governor that one is asked to sit on interviewing panels. I do enjoy this. It is particularly interesting when one is interviewing support staff, such as Learning Support/Teaching Assistants, Librarians or Clerical staff, because one has quite a deal of scope.
This was the situation today. It is a temporary post, for maternity cover. I interviewed the person who currently holds the job, a year or two ago and liked her immensely. Her enthusiasm and aptitude shone through in a strong field. I spoke to her today, to congratulate her on the impending birth of her baby and, as we chatted, I realised I knew her via her husband, who comes into the shop periodically. Al delivers a £15 fruit box to them each week. It is one of those surnames that is neither common nor uncommon and I'd not connected.
We interviewed four people, all of whom were interesting and really pleasant people. Again, a strong field, but it came down to two. I was inclined towards one, because of the enthusiasm she had shown ... I'm a sucker for genuine enthusiasm, I think it is inspirational, particularly for children*, and she will be dealing with teenagers. She started nervously but, when questioned (and I don't believe in aggressive** interviewing, I think you can get more out of people by asking for their strengths; their weaknesses come through unconsciously), she blossomed. The other two on the panel had been slightly more drawn towards another candidate but, being reasonable people, agreed with me in the end.
Heh heh, no, it was not I who convinced them, but a careful evaluation of strengths, weaknesses and the need for someone who could slot into a temporary position at once. In fact, I would have been happy with the other person too, but she would have needed some training and support in the short term.
I was in the shop all morning and finished at 1.30. I feel a bit bereft. I reluctantly handed over to Al and went back at 5 o'clock to help him pack up.
*and me, who has never entirely grown up
**probing, perhaps, a gentle but thorough probe is always a good idea and can be a pleasure