A Principal’s Guide to Hiring School Support Staff: What to Ask and Why


Hiring the right support staff for a school is an essential responsibility of a principal. These staff members, which include administrative assistants, custodians, security officers, and other non-teaching personnel, contribute significantly to the smooth running of a school. Having competent support staff not only ensures improved services but also creates a conducive environment for learning. This article will delve into what questions principals should ask when hiring school support staff and why these questions are crucial.

1. Have you had any experience working in a school setting?

Why ask: Experience in a school setting familiarizes the candidate with the unique challenges that come with working in an educational institution. This question helps gauge if the applicant is aware of the needs and expectations of students, teachers, and parents in a school environment.

2. How do you approach problem-solving or conflict resolution?

Why ask: School environments often involve various problem-solving scenarios, from organizing events to mediating conflicts. A support staff candidate who can think critically and produce effective solutions will positively impact students, teachers, and the overall operation of the school.

3. How would you handle sensitive information?

Why ask: School support staff often come across confidential information on students and teachers alike. It is crucial to ensure the potential employee understands the importance of privacy and can be trusted with sensitive details.

4. How do you maintain effective communication with different stakeholders (students, teachers, parents)?

Why ask: Effective communication skills are fundamental when cooperating with various parties within a school community. The answer to this question demonstrates the candidate’s ability to build relationships that benefit everyone involved.

5. Can you provide an example of how you’ve contributed to creating an inclusive environment in your previous workplaces?

Why ask: An inclusive environment fosters better educational outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds. A candidate who understands this concept will contribute positively towards maintaining a welcoming atmosphere that encourages engagement from all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.

6. What are your skills, and how can they be an asset to our school?

Why ask: Understanding the candidate’s skills allows the principal to determine their eligibility for the position. A skills inventory also helps identify if the applicant is adaptable, flexible and better suited to the specific requirements of the school.

7. Why do you want to work in our school, and what are your long-term career goals?

Why ask: Establishing a candidate’s motivations for working at your school provides insights into their personal values and professionalism. Gaining an understanding of their long-term goals helps determine if they align with your school’s vision and mission.


Hiring the right support staff is essential for an effective educational environment. By asking these crucial questions during the interview process, principals can identify candidates who will contribute positively towards the successful operation of a school. These questions help ascertain essential factors such as experience, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and whether or not they align with the organization’s values. A thoughtfully-selected support staff will contribute significantly to a positive and supportive learning environment for all students and teachers.

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