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Do the right thing

POSTED October 9, 2009 10:51 p.m.
As a manager, I have the usually frustrating and always time-consuming job of interviewing candidates for open job positions. This is one of my least favorite aspects of my job.
A job interview is just as nerve wrecking for the interviewer as it is for the interviewee. But it doesn’t start out that way.
Soon after I have posted a job opening, my e-mail inbox begins to fill with resumes from eager candidates. Looking at the numerous responses to my job posting always fills me with glee and hope that the next Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wants to work at the Turlock Journal.
I have received resumes from internationally-known journalists and former newspaper editors with 20 years of experience. Aspiring journalists with advanced degrees in law, politics and education send in their resumes with the hopes of a career change into “writing.”
But in the end, the candidates with the most promising resumes and references always turn out to be the wrong person for the job.
During the interview process, when budding Woodward and Bersteins hear that they will have to write stories about llamas and birthday celebrations of local centenarians, they cringe a little, smile and say “Thank you for your time.”
By the time that I have weeded out all the idealistic college graduates and those who think reporting and writing essays are the same thing, I am left with that one person who has the right skills and attitude to be a good community newspaper reporter.
I would never find the right person for the job without going through the in-person interview process.
In the following two weeks, local registered voters will have their chance to “interview” candidates for a very important job opening — school board trustee.
The Kiwanis Club of Turlock and Turlock Journal are hosting three school board candidate debates. The first debate will be for candidates of the Turlock Unified School Board. It will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Turlock High School Performing Arts Building. Denair Unified School Board candidates will be presenting their views on the issues to the public at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Denair Middle School Coyote Center; and Keyes Union School Board candidates will be available for questions at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Keyes Elementary School cafeteria.
We tried to get a debate together for the Chatom Union School Board candidates, but two of the four candidates did not want to attend a debate so we canceled it.
I know that attending a school board candidate debate does not sound like the most fun thing to do on a week night — especially with Monday Night Football in full swing — but it is essential to getting the absolute right person for the job.
A candidate might have decades of experience in education and have innovative ideas for increasing test scores, but have absolutely no knowledge of how to read a budget. Or a candidate could have the perfect plan to keep the district on a balanced budget, but doesn’t have any idea how to motivate students to do their best.
Don’t make your decision on a candidate’s ability to be an effective school board member on their “resume.” Come to the debate and interview them in person. You’ll be glad you did.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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