How do public schools hire teachers?

I can't speak for every school, but I can speak for interviews in which I've been a participant or organizer. Here's what we normally do:

  1. We advertise through our website and on various job platforms.
  2. Candidates are selected by either Human Resources or a building administrator. I take a quick look to see whether they currently hold a certification, what experience they have, the districts in which they have worked, and anything important in the cover letter that may be important. Once I have that initial list, I will take a deeper dive into their information to see whether to place them on my interview list. Other interviewers may select candidates differently.
  3. We contact the candidates to give them information about the interview process and have them select their interview time.
  4. The interview(s) - and there could be more than one - consist of at least one of the following:
    1. Questions - anywhere from 7–15 questions, possibly including curriculum/instruction, pedagogy, classroom management/behavior, and professional skills
    2. Model Lesson
    3. Writing Sample
  5. What happens next?
    1. I have no good candidates to choose from, so I go back to the drawing board.
    2. I have too many candidates to choose from, so we hold a second interview.
    3. I have a single candidate, and send a staffing request to Human Resources.
  6. Human Resources contacts the candidate and offer the position, and the candidate must accept pending approval by the Board of Education (BOE). At the next BOE meeting, the Board must vote to approve the teacher. In our case, the board can choose not to hire a teacher for any reason, and they don't have to disclose why they don't hire the candidate (this is rare, but can happen, usually because of an issue with the position and not the person).

While this wasn't specifically asked, if you are a candidate applying for a position, I would focus on a well-written resume and cover letter, focusing on a few specific achievements and/or skills that may be most important to the position. I toss badly written cover letters and resumes, simply because I believe that if you can't write an adequate letter, you should not be teaching my students.


I can only tell you how public schools in Estonia hire teachers.

Usually an ad is placed - in the teacher's paper online as well as other online job mediator pages. It is customary for all employers to place their vacancies online. Prospective employees scroll through employers' ads until they find something they like. Once this happens, they check the application requirements.

Some employers ask for just a CV, others may ask for a CV as well as a letter of recommendation or a motivational letter. My employer asked for a CV and a letter of recommendation - I wrote an email to the principal with my CV and letter of recommendation attached to it. This is how it is commonly done. You then wait for them to get back to you.

They make their decision based on what they're looking for and then let you know. You're likely to be interviewed at least once. Due to the shortage of teachers, people educated in the field can also find employment - my employer had zero chemistry teachers applying but they had a chemistry MSc applicant (me) and thus they employed me as a masters degree in the field is enough for me to be eligible for the position legally.

So basically they shift through CV-s like any other employer, ask you for an interview and then decide. You should have at least a bachelors degree or you should be in the process of obtaining one in order to be eligible to teach middle school in Estonia. If you want to teach high school students, you need a masters (or to be obtaining one) in the field.

Hence why I can teach chemistry at a high school level - I'm educated in the field, I just haven't had any psychology/didactics courses. In fact, I'm going to toot my own horn here for moment - I studied chemistry in way more depth than any chemistry teacher would during their studies, at least knowing the program that the universities offer. It hasn't been an issue and any necessary psychology etc courses can be picked up along the way.

The employment process may be different in other countries.


Different schools do different things. Nowadays they prefer to deal with online inquiries through their school district central hub that connects with clearing houses for teaching positions. They all require a resume and cover letter if applicable. The cover letter is your own sales pitch.

The resume information is rubric assessed, then decided on for interviewing the candidate. The candidate is called in for an interview. It could be a group interview of a group of candidates at one time by an individual or by a group of teachers interviewing the candidate. Sometimes it is just the principal interviewing.

Sometimes teachers re-enter the process by substitute teaching in the building they want to teach in, and making a bid for hiring based on that. Some prospective teachers get hired onto staff as an ed tech, and work their getting hired based on that inside job.

Hiring practices are also swayed by the candidate knowing power brokers and famous or influential people personally, whose name they can invoke at any time with their permission, as well as list as references on a resume. Some schools are so desperate they take on anyone brave enough to want to teach there because the competition for teaching at that location is nil.

If you are a candidate looking for a public teaching school job, especially in the city or county you are familiar with, visit the location. Walk through the halls, especially during the summer, with the principal giving the tour. You will pick up on the essence of how things are there, and if you think you can feel comfortable in that physical environment or not. And you will have already made your presence known to the administration as a potential candidate to work there as a teacher.


This varies depending upon the school. Yes, the process may vary within a district and may even differ from teacher to teacher.

I was hired by an assistant superintendent. I walked in, shook hands, did my interview, and walked out. I got a call the same day offering me the job. I have no reason to believe that anyone other than Dr. Carol consulted anyone about the hire.

Over the course of 20 years, I've seen teachers chosen by principals, committees, etc. It changes all the time. I've heard conversations between coworkers who were hired the same year who said that their processes were totally different. One was interviewed by a principal and department chair, while the other was just interviewed by the principal.

The way it should work?

  1. The teacher looks for a job. There are a number of sites out there where districts post them.
  2. The teacher fills out the application, also submitting resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, and quite probably transcripts.
  3. The teacher (hopefully) gets an interview. The interview should be with an administrator (usually the principal) and a panel of two or three teachers.
  4. The teacher may have to go to a second interview if that is part of the process.
  5. The teacher is chosen by the interview team. A district administrator rubber stamps the choice.
  6. The school board votes to offer the employee a contract.

Then, after many years of service (43 in my case), you retire.


It varies place to place. Many of the teachers in districts that have colleges or universities with education programs hire straight from those programs. I know that I was able to interview while still in school. The university and the school district work together and place student teachers in the public schools to complete their required internships (called student teaching).

The district also placed ads for teachers and advertised to other states and within the state to education colleges. The progress of being hired can be arduous. I went through several interviews. I was offered several jobs and had to choose which suited me best. I was offered a position at the school I student taught in but in an grade I did not want to teach in.

You can transfer after you have been hired during specific transfer times. Some are mid-year transfers and others are next year transfers.

A teacher is required to be finger-printed and back ground checked before they even interview in Nevada. They have to have their teaching license (which requires finger printing and back ground so it can take care of that for initial hiring), any endorsements (additional skills that qualify you for content specific work such as middle/high school math, science, social studies, or English Language Learner (second language). You have to provide official school transcripts and copies of your diploma as well.


By "public school", I presume you mean "state school". In England, a Public school is one of the older, usually posher, private schools.

Anyway, for state schools, they will advertise in the TES (Times Educational Supplement). You will then apply and usually have to fill in an annoyingly unique (but very similar) application form (where all the details could probably be found on your CV anyway).

If you are shortlisted, you will asked for an interview. You will usually turn up for the interview with a prepared lesson (they will give you an age and ability). There will usually be 4–6 of you (other teachers applying for the job). You will be shown round, you will deliver your lesson, you will have two interviews and then at the end of the day, you will sit outside the Head's office. One will be called in and offered the job. If they accept, the rest will be thanked and asked to go home. You can request feedback and sometimes it will be given.


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