Note: this post is part of a series about Noble’s preparation for the upcoming school year.

Great teachers make great schools. We know this at Noble which is why principals and our Noble Support Team spend so much time and energy recruiting and screening to hire the best teachers in the country. But how do you do that during a pandemic when candidates can’t come in and teach demo lessons? What does it look like for a prospective teacher to interview in the time of Covid? We sat down with Noble’s Senior Director of Talent, Tanya Klinkhachorn to find out.

Tanya Klinkhachorn (she/her/hers)
Senior Director of Talent

MM: Tanya, thanks for making the time – could you start by sharing a bit about your role and your team, what exactly are you charged with?
TK: Sure, thanks for the conversation! Our team is charged with supporting principals as they hire teachers and leaders for their campuses. We have a small but mighty team that reaches out to great teaching candidates, builds external and internal pipelines in our hardest-to-fill content areas, conducts initial application and phone screens for values-alignment and interest, and helps funnel candidates to principals so they can hire the staff that are the best contributors to their school community. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students have a quality teacher ready to teach them starting on the first day of school.

MM: Can you talk a little bit about the hiring process at Noble during a normal year? How many applicants are there and what steps do they go through?
TK: We receive over 2000 applications per year and have a rigorous hiring process that is designed to assess the skills, characteristics, and mindsets that we believe are key to success as a teacher or leader at Noble. In a normal year, interested teaching applicants can expect to engage in the following process:

  1. Submit an online application that includes a resume and responses to short answer questions.
  2. Engage with our Talent Acquisition Specialists on an initial phone or video screen.
  3. Participate in 30-minute phone interviews with up to 4 campuses.
  4. Visit our schools for 90 minutes of interviewing and getting to know a campus. This visit can include teaching our students for 20-30 minutes, interviewing with staff and students, and participating in staff meetings or classroom observations.
  5. Get an offer and accept! 

This process can take time as our campuses carefully consider the needs of the position they are hiring for, but the majority of candidates can expect to engage with us for 6 weeks from the time of application to accepting an offer. 

MM: And so what about this year, how did that hiring process shift and what was it like these past few months?
TK: As we all know, nothing about this year has been normal, let alone predictable. The last few months have been difficult, and I am so grateful for the members of my team who themselves have faced many personal challenges during this time. When we officially got word that we would be remote on March 13, our team had already been planning for a pivot to virtual recruiting and hiring. This pre-planning meant that we were able to change processes quickly, and while there were a few hurdles amidst the chaos, we were able to maintain the candidate experience and keep our process moving forward with our hiring managers. From the candidate perspective, the biggest change was that everything became virtual. We started asking candidates for a teaching video and lesson sample as opposed to requesting they teach a sample lesson with our actual students. Our campuses come to life during visits, and our campuses had a new challenge of how to share their campus magic via Zoom and how to coordinate across ever-changing staff schedules. As for Team Talent, we experienced a dip in acceptance rates and fewer applications overall as, we believe, people were seeking stability in their roles and comfort at their current organizations. These challenges forced us to think much more strategically and creatively about outreach and the candidate experience. 

MM: And where are things now, as we head toward the first day of school?
TK: We are fully hired. As of the time of this interview, we have no open positions in any teaching position at Noble. We are incredibly proud of that fact because it means that teachers and school-based staff have more than a month together to plan and get ready for this year.* 

MM: What’s one thing about this year’s set of new to Noble teachers that you’d want people to know?
TK: We were really excited that this cohort of teachers and leaders is the most diverse cohort of new hires to date with 59% of our hires identifying as a person of color (POC). This representation holds across a majority of our content areas, including in our hardest-to-fill positions: science, math, social work, and special education. Research shows that having teachers who share an identity with our students is hugely beneficial, and while we have room to improve, we are really proud of this result and what it means for our students. Currently, 53% of Noble teachers identify as a POC and 61% of overall staff identify as a POC. 

MM: Thank you so much for your time and for all you do to ensure our students have excellent teachers.

*Editor’s note: at the time of the interview for this post Noble was fully hired. As happens from time to time staff circumstances change and so at the time of publishing we are looking to fill a very small number of roles. Interested in working at Noble? Check out available opportunities here or click here to join our talent pipeline!

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