Recruiting 101 for Newbies

Your first recruiting fair doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Fortified with up-to-date information, you can approach the recruiting experience with the confidence you need to go-after & successfully land the overseas position you’ve had your eye on.

Recruiting 101 for Newbies is devoted to helping YOU get the job you want. ISR receives frequent requests from teachers searching for information on recruiting fair protocol & procedures. If you have questions similar to the following, Recruiting 101 for Newbies may hold the key to your recruiting success.

Recruiting Questions Recently Sent to ISR

“When I finally get to the front of the line to sign up for an interview, how does that work? How much time do I have to “sell” myself – 15 seconds – 30 seconds – more?”

“After introductions, does the recruiter start the session with a basic question? Or do I launch into a short persuasive speech about why I’m the best person for the position?”

“If a school has already told me they want to interview me at the fair, do I stand in line to sign up for an interview, or is there some nifty ‘pass to the front of the line’ procedure?”

“If a school is interested in hiring me, when will they offer the contract? At the end of the interview? Will they call the number I provided? Will they email me during the fair?”

“The hotel where the fair takes place is super EXPENSIVE!! I’m thinking about a much cheaper place across town. Is there any advantage to staying in the venue hotel that makes it worth the cost?”

Recruiting 101 for Newbies is the place to get answers to these questions & more. We invite you to post a question &/or supply an answer to the inquiry left by another fair-goer. International Educators Keeping Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is ALL about! Scroll down to post/answer questions.

27 Responses to Recruiting 101 for Newbies

  1. hannah says:

    I am new to all of this and trying desperately to get a job abroad in my first international school… where are you all finding these job fairs? I keep hearing about them but I cant find any that are actually happening anywhere.. where do I look online to sign up? I live in England! Thanks everyone any help would be greatly appreciated!!


    • Anthony says:

      I just landed an international job in S. Korea and had been registered to attend two job fairs. One is through the Univ. of Northern Iowa. The other (and in my opinion, superior organization) is called Search Associates. Just Google these two organizations and you’ll be on your way. Good luck!


      • hannah says:

        Thanks! Did you pay for the membership with search associates? It’s quite expensive.. worth it you think though?


        • Anthony says:

          If you’re serious about landing a job, you’re going to have to pay to join one organization or another. And yes, I feel that Search Associates is a quality organization that provides excellent information on those schools with open position (once you’ve paid your fee!). They tell you general salary info, stats on the student population, etc. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions. I received a lot of help from a lot of people in this process and I’m happy to pass along the favor (


  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the best organization to join–Search, ISS or different one?

    I also found a job at an international school on their website and applied for the job without joining one of the above organizations. Should I join one and then email the school with the updated information? Do schools consider candidates from Search or ISS more seriously than other candidates?

    Thanks so much!


    • Doug Cronyn says:

      I too am very interested in your question over Search or ISS.


      • Tuk says:

        It’s my experience that when a school finds someone who is a perfect fit, they’ll hire them immediately, otherwise they’ll keep searching. Teaching internationally is more competitive than ever so you need to stand out and I would recommend going to a recruiting fair. I think the disadvantage of attending the ISS fair in Bangkok is that the Search Associates fair that follows has a better selection of candidates for schools to choose from. I would recommend Search Associates over ISS but unfortunately the SA fair in Bangkok has been full for months whereas ISS still has spots.


  3. Susan says:

    I am attending my first international job fair in November and was lucky enough to find a roommate to share the experience with, as well as the expenses of the room. My question is for those that have shared a room with someone they had not met before the fair. If you are the person that paid for the room, what is the best way to collect the portion of the payment your roommate is responsible for? Do you just point blank ask for it? Do you wait until they ask how much they owe? What is the most polite way to do it? Would it be naive to believe that this person is going to be trustworthy and believe they will have the funds?


  4. Lis says:

    Over the years of many fairs, I have stayed with friends, stayed atthe hotel and stayed at different hotels. Honestly, Esp if you are single, stay at the fair hotel. The fact that you can get away to your room when the stress levels get high. and use your own toilet is a real bonus. and remember… you will be a little wacked out… great highs and low lows….


  5. WorldlyOne says:

    I agree with those that said not to stay at the hotel. I stayed with friends when visiiting the London CIS a few years ago. I planned my tube route very carefully any arrived über early but it was worth it to save the money and relax with friends, plus having access to Internet at theirs to research schools I had interviews with was invaluable. Obviously not everyone has friends living nearby but I also have friends who stayed at cheap hotels last year and it was fine. London is an easy city to navigate as long as you check the tube for closures etc.
    Also, I emailed my current school before the fair and asked for an interview. I too wasn’t sure what to do when I got there but I went straight to them as soon as the doors opened and gave them my CV even though I knew they already had it from the email. They were impressed by my eagerness and I got the job after a great interview.
    Good Luck!


  6. Anonymous says:

    I attended the Cambridge Search fair last February. I decided to bite the bullet and pay to stay in the hotel where the fair was taking place. I was glad I did. It was so nice to have a hotel room to go to between interviews to primp, brush my teeth after meals, get on my computer and do research on the schools, etc. Some people stayed a couple miles away and took the hotel shuttles. I think that would be fine as long as you’re prepared to lug everything with you that you might want and not get back until really late at night. I decided to look at the great expense of attending the fair as an investment. Much like I viewed my student loans!


  7. Anonymous says:

    If you are someone that plans on attending the AASSA fair next month, and you want to stay in the hotel where the fair is and would be interested in a roommate, please let me know. I have a room reserved and am looking for someone to share it with to help with expenses.


  8. alove76 says:

    In reading an online essay about one person’s experiences at a past job fair I kept coming across references to (and the need for) “invite cards” or “interview requests”. This writer referred to the need for self-made cards/requests in order to distinguish oneself from the hordes at the fair.

    My questions: What exactly is this writer referring to? How exactly are these cards/requests used? Opinions on making one’s own cards?


    • Carol says:

      I haven’t read the article, but it seems as if the author is talking about two different kinds of cards. “Invite cards” and “interview” cards are left in candidates’ mailboxes (hanging files arranged alphabetically at the fair I went to) by schools interested in interviewing the candidate.


  9. Jerry says:

    Bangkok Search fair, there are two much cheaper hotels within walking distance. Worked out fine, but yeah, elevator passes ware an advantage but there’s a staff member at hand for non-guests.

    “If a school has already told me they want to interview me at the fair, do I stand in line to sign up for an interview, or is there some nifty ‘pass to the front of the line’ procedure?”

    Yes, unsettling as it may seem, you walk to the front, sometimes having to say “excuse me”, and flash your card they left you. Some schools don’t make you do that and just put a time and day on the card so you don’t have to even line up for them. It’s horrible but everyone knows the deal.


    • Tuk says:

      It’s a frenzy when the doors open for the sign up session but go to your number one schools right away as this shows them that you are interested.


  10. exteacher in egypt says:

    The entry posted by dadorunrun sounds exactly like a prep-advice given by the fair organizers, before you come to the fair. For the fair taking place in London, UK, I stayed in a small hotel, WITHIN A WALKING DISTANCE from the “fair hotel”.
    It worked for me very well, and I saved a bundle.
    PS I have got the contract too.


    • I think this probably depends on the fair. London’s fair is in April and London is an incredibly walkable city. Honestly, you could probably stay anywhere in London and between ease of walking and great transportation, it would be easy to get there. The poster that was referred to was talking about Cambridge. I’m going for my first time, but it doesn’t look like anything’s very close to there and the fair is in February when it will be absolutely frigid and the ground will likely be covered by snow and ice. That’s not a time you want to stay far away. The savings seem to be minimal going somewhere else considering the stakes for doing so. When it comes down to it, I just think this varies drastically depending on which fair you go to.


  11. trav45 says:

    Kinda of tooting my own horn here, but here’s an article I had published on all the ins and outs of getting an international position.


  12. Ms. G says:

    I see lots of schools beginning to post openings for 2013 but wonder how many of the positions are filled before the recruitment fairs and how much the schools wait for the fairs to do their hiring.


    • Voice of Experience says:

      A lot are filled before the recruiting fairs especially with the advent of Skype! Last year half of the schools that had advertised they would be at the fair with my position never showed up because they had filled all their positions. That news is always too late …. after you’ve purchased your ticket and made your reservations for hotel. Be proactive and work hard to land a job before the recruiting fairs! Voice of experience.


  13. dadorunrun says:

    I agree with Up front- stay in the hotel where the fair is. I think as much recruiting and “feel you out” interviewing is done at the bar, elevators, and lobby as is done at the fair itself. It’s cutthroat. Directors want to get at you first if possible. I was probably handed twenty business cards just on elevator rides at the last fair I attended.

    I was waiting for Chinese takeout at a local restaurant and struck up a conversation with another guy who was waiting for his food. He was a director of a school in China. (Which was weird. I mean he lives in China. You’d think bad Chinese food would be the last thing he’d be craving.) I had an offer before the fried rice was done.

    You just never know…


  14. Up front with it says:

    I’ll answer one of the above questions as I had a nightmare of a time when I didn’t stay in the hotel where the fair was taking place. This was an ISS Boston fair and the hotel was expensive, expensive, expensive. I decided to stay about 8 miles away. When I tried to get a taxi into town the next morning I found it was about impossible. Turned out the driver would need a permit to enter that section of town and all the drivers out where I was staying only had permits for that area and a few other, but not the up-scale downtown area. After endless phone calls I started walking to the fair. About a block away I saw a taxi turn into the hotel parking lot and I ran all the back. He had come for me. What a relief. If you think the “developing world” can be difficult at time, just try the USA with all its endless rules, permits and regulations, mostly designed to suck money out of everyone….I’ll leave that for a different blog.

    I recommend you stay at the fair. That way you meet directors in the elevator, at lunch etc. It’s best to be close to the action and stay plugged into the recruiting energy. I think that’s the best way to get a job.


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