This qualitative study reports on principals’ perceptions regarding the teacher characteristics deemed most important for hiring effective teachers. Data for the study come from semi-structured interviews with principals working in urban public, Catholic, and Jewish schools. Results reveal a tendency among principals in all three sectors to focus on both professional skills and personal characteristics as critical components in teacher hiring. However, the analysis reveals that sector affiliation may play an important role in explaining many cross sector variations. More informed hiring practices by principals could potentially affect teacher quality, a critical area for student-learning outcomes.