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International School Recruitment Season: Recruitment Fair or Skype?

October 1, 2016


Recruitment season for international schools and for international schools teachers has definitely changed over recent years.

Getting a teaching position at an international school almost exclusively happened at the various recruitment fairs across the globe (London, Bangkok, Boston, San Francisco, Iowa, etc.). At least 10 years ago that was surely the case.

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Now recruitment fairs still play an important role during the international school recruitment process, but increasingly teachers are getting hired via telephone and/or Skype. In fact, if you were hired at an international school in the past 2-8 years, a high percentage of you were probably hired via Skype which resulted in you and your new school not having a face-to-face meeting in person.

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Recruitment fairs, like Search Associates, still provide great fairs to attend, but more importantly they provide a large database of teaching vacancies. If you are a registered candidate with Search Associates, you have unlimited access to those vacancies. Even though you may be signed up to attend one of their fairs come January/February, they often encourage you to contact schools directly and try to arrange an (online) interview or at least a pre-interview before the fair. If you are lucky, you will get offered a position via this Skype interview which will in turn cancel your trip to the recruitment fair (saving you time and money).

Having access to a constantly updated list of job vacancies is definitely a valuable tool in your search for a teaching position. You can also look at the school’s own website (via their employment page), but it is possible those lists aren’t as updated as much or at worse don’t even exist. One bit of advice for international schools is to create a useful, updated, and informative employment page on their website.

To repeat, we (the teachers) strongly request that international schools make sure their list of vacancies are constantly updated with the latest information (on their website, on a recruitment fair website, etc). There is nothing worse than preparing a unique cover letter, carefully adjusting your CV content, and a writing personal email message all for not. We understand that vacancies can take a long time to fill as some school’s interview processes can take a long time. But if the school indeed has secured somebody for a position, it is their responsibility to update their list of vacancies accordingly.

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There are many reasons why Skype is becoming more and more used during the international school recruitment process. One reason is that it is cheaper for both parties involved. No paying for the recruitment fair fees, no paying for hotel reservations, and no paying for all flights involved. Another reason that Skype is being more used is that it saves time, a lot of time in some cases. When interviewing candidates from all over the world, it is a hassle to take off a long weekend or miss a whole week of work just to attend a fair. A third reason Skype is being used more is that it indeed still gives the school and the candidate a good idea of each other’s personality and demeanor.  The ultimate goal for both parties involved is to find the “best fit”.

In the end, there really isn’t a clear answer though to which is better: going to a recruitment fair or just using Skype. At this point, it is still recommended to use a combination of the two. Utilizing both covers all your bases; giving the candidate the best chances in securing a position.