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Program Design, Development, and Quality / Staff Leadership and Management / Sustainability

Oops! I Hired The Wrong Person: How To Hire The Right Afterschool Teacher


Reviewing resumes, setting up interviews and hiring new employees is a routine task for afterschool directors and supervisors; however, failure to recognize signs of a possible lousy hire can reap damaging consequences for your afterschool program. Selecting the right candidate cannot be a hit or miss. Frontline staff plays a critical role in ensuring students are learning in a safe and supportive environment. While experienced leaders understand that everyone has a learning curve, seasoned leaders also know that a few rotten eggs can spoil your program’s culture, productivity, and morale.

How can you tell if you hired the wrong hired the person?

1. Your new hire struggles to create a connection with the students and parents

Let’s face it, afterschool is all about creating rapport. Make sure you are providing the necessary training that will help a new hire with adapting to the culture of your program. If you notice that your new hire has not grasped how to integrate and create relationships with your parents despite your team’s support and feedback. Caution, that person does not want to get better. Know this. No growth after several months equals a hopeless the situation.

What you see is what you get.

2. Your new hire is inconsistent and full of mistakes

Fed up with receiving text messages stating they are going to late again. Not to mention that when they arrive to work, they are continually making mistakes without remorse. You continue to experience their behavior as negligent or incompetent. Red flag! I believe everyone deserves time to familiarize themselves with their workflow, but if after additional training they still are struggling to meet your expectation, they are not the right fit.

 3. The Complainer

The complainer will whine about not having enough computers, pencils, balls, hula hoops, and crayons. Of course, we need staff to inform us of important issues and concerns, but no one likes a complainer. If you have an employee that complains about not having enough supplies, support, and time, their negative mindset will block them from creating reasonable solutions to programmatic issues. Constructive criticism is not spouting complaints.

 4. That’s not my job!

Need I say more? This kind of mindset will throw off a good team. We are as strong as our weakest links, it’s cliché but true. If you have a new employee, who dares to say, ” that’s not my job,” sound the alarm! The worst feeling is when you thought you hired a golden nugget only to find out that they are just fool’s gold.


We all have experienced working with individuals that display these behaviors at some point in our careers, however, experienced leaders will do their homework before hiring a new employee. Candidates are aiming to give their best impression during interviews, but leaders must become savvy to spot a fake. Ask questions that will help you secure the right talent for your program. Also, I encourage directors and managers to call candidate’s references. Well-dressed candidates look lovely in person and on paper, but why did they leave their last job? Getting a third party’s opinion will help validate the candidate’s qualifications.

Awesome employees will work as a team, and give their best effort, while problematic employees don’t take initiative and avoid working altogether. Leaders, do your homework and filter candidates at the beginning of the process, so you are not stuck with a bad egg(s), stinking up your program.

For breakfast, I had raisin toast and eggs.

Author: @tiana-brown

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