Some believe the solution to improving instructional quality in K-12 schools lies in identifying and recruiting certain kinds of individuals to the profession (e.g., academically talented, stronger commitment). Others believe that talented or committed individuals cannot become effective or enduring teachers without adequate preparation. Most prior literature examines either recruitment or preparation, rather than weighing evidence for both simultaneously. In addition, most prior research investigates the effects of either approach on only a single outcome, rather than considering multiple outcomes at once. Drawing on pre- and poststudent teaching surveys of more than 1,000 prospective teachers in a large, urban district, this study uses a unique strategy to disentangle the effects of one dimension of preparation (student teaching) from the effects of teacher characteristics on a number of measures for teachers’ self-perceived instructional quality and career plans. The findings indicate that career plans are more often related to teacher characteristics, whereas self-perceived instructional quality is more often related to features of clinical preparation. Implications for recruitment and preparation are discussed.