How to Hire a Principal

Does your growing business need a principal? Principals can you help your school improve its reputation and increase student retention.

Here are some tips to help you find great principal candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Principals search for Jobs on Indeed*

70,411

Job seekers that clicked principal jobs

39,462

Resumes for job seekers with principal experience on Indeed

4,146

Principal jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring principal?

  • Common salary in US: $94,115 annually
  • Typical salaries range from $18,000$230,000 annually
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, principal jobs in the U.S. are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 17 job seekers per principal job.

Why hire a principal?

A principal can help your school increase morale and state funding by improving test scores. They can turn a school around and change the very fabric of a school’s spirit. A great principal can:

• Manage daily operations
• Provide excellent care for staff
• Help plan for the future

What are the titles of principals?

Principals work in elementary, middle, junior high and high schools. Many principals start off as assistant principals and then move up in the chain of command. Here are the most common principal titles. 

  • PrincipalA principal, sometimes referred to as a head of school, works in both public and private schools. They oversee the day-to-day operations and provide guidance to teachers, counselors and other educational staff members. They’re responsible for ensuring all school policies and curricula are followed, and they handle dispute resolution with parents and administrative staff. 
  • Vice Principal: Vice principals, also referred to as assistant principals, work in public and private schools, and they assist principals with daily tasks. They supervise educational staff and meet with parents to find solutions to student issues. Vice principals assist with the reviewing of budgets and teaching plans. The vice principal also takes over for the principal in the event of their absence. 

Where to find principals

To find the right principal for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Promote from within. If your current principal is retiring, consider offering your current vice principal a promotion. There may also be teachers or other members of your school’s faculty or staff who are interested in changing positions. 
  • Consult with colleagues at other schools. If there are other schools in your city or town, consider reaching out to them to find potential principal candidates. 
  • Create a social media post. Does your school have a social media page? If so, creating a post that states your school is looking for principal applicants is a great way to reach multiple candidates. You can also link your school’s website or portal where potential candidates can submit official applications.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your job on Indeed to find and attract quality principal candidates. 

What are the titles of principals?

Principals work in elementary, middle, junior high and high schools. Many principals start off as assistant principals and then move up in the chain of command. Here are the most common principal titles. 

  • PrincipalA principal, sometimes referred to as a head of school, works in both public and private schools. They oversee the day-to-day operations and provide guidance to teachers, counselors and other educational staff members. They’re responsible for ensuring all school policies and curricula are followed, and they handle dispute resolution with parents and administrative staff. 
  • Vice Principal: Vice principals, also referred to as assistant principals, work in public and private schools, and they assist principals with daily tasks. They supervise educational staff and meet with parents to find solutions to student issues. Vice principals assist with the reviewing of budgets and teaching plans. The vice principal also takes over for the principal in the event of their absence. 

Writing a great principal job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified principal candidates. A principal job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your principal job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on principal jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Principal
  • Education
  • School principal
  • Educational leadership
  • Administrative assistant
  • Investigator
  • School district
  • Accounting

Interviewing principal candidates

Strong candidates for principal positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• How to handle a dispute between teachers
• Budgeting for the school year
• Disciplining students

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of principal interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a principal

What is the hiring process for a principal?

Principal candidates first submit applications to school committees, whose members select potential interviewees. Candidates meet with committee members, and if there’s interest in moving forward, applicants are then called back for formal one-on-one interviews or meetings with school administration teams. 

How do I choose between two good principal candidates?

When the time comes to choose between two candidates who are both equally impressive, consider going with the candidate who has more experience in the educational field. For example, if one candidate has a history as a vice principal and the other candidate has experience as a teacher, selecting the applicant with previous principal experience may be a good option. 

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