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Spoilt for Choice

by Tim Oughton

Over the past four months the Board and senior executive team have conducted an extensive review of our school community and used the findings to draft a refreshed strategic plan; this document will be published and released to the school community in Term 4. One of the pillars of this plan refers to the importance of recruiting, retaining and developing the best people we possibly can.

Recently, we advertised for three critical senior leadership roles; critical in the sense that they will all play an important part in the immediate and long term future of Kristin. The three positions, Director of Business Services, Director of Human Resources and Director of Sport were advertised locally in Auckland newspapers and to a much wider audience via the internet. Each position attracted a quality field of approximately 50 applicants and the process of short-listing for interview was very demanding and time consuming. Without doubt we were spoilt for choice; the recruitment agency that assisted us through the process (Sheffield) was thoroughly professional and attuned to the personal qualities we were seeking in each of the positions. They were just as impressed as I was with both the depth and quality of each of the fields.

Why is Kristin such an attractive place to work? In my view, the answer is relatively straight forward; it relates to the people we already employ and work with in our community, the support staff and the students. Good people attract good people and there is no doubt that our reputation in the wider community is very, very good.

Our two recent external reviews, one carried out by an international professional consultancy company (CIRCLE) and just this week, one completed by the Education Review Office, both highlighted the exceptional culture and positive relationships that exist within the Kristin community. With such a high quality pool of talent for the selection panel to consider, choosing the best person was a challenging task, but, having said that, we will always look for people who fit the profile that that CIRCLE and ERO clearly identified.

As part of the interview process we asked each candidate to undertake the VIA Character Strengths Survey and to then talk about their top three strengths related to the position they were applying for. This activity proved to be a most revealing and effective tool during the selection process. I have mentioned character surveys in previous editorials and how important it is to recognise and celebrate the strengths of others. All Kristin staff have been encouraged to complete the survey and use the results to assist them to recognise and use their own particular strengths into their daily work. Other personal qualities that we look for in a field of candidates for a Kristin job include zest, critical and strategic thinking ability, compassion and kindness, leadership and teamwork and citizenship. A good sense of humour is always an added bonus and fits the Kristin culture.

This week, as we complete the recruitment process, I am absolutely delighted with the outcome. Our new Director of Sport comes to us from Westlake Boys’ High with a wealth of successful experience and real passion for all sport. A biography of Rob Taylor appears in this week’s newsletter. I will be announcing the other successful candidates at the beginning of Term 3; they, too, will add considerable experience and vitality to the human resources and business functions. I have always believed that the health of a school is directly related to the volume of applicants that appear when job vacancies arise. That being the case, Kristin is a model of good health.