Are Internat’l Recruiting Fairs the Place to Get a Job?

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Note: This Article & Survey published on February 21, 2013


We  asked all of you who attended a Recruiting Fair this season to take our short Poll & respond about YOUR recruiting experiences.

We’re thrilled to say over 50% of International teachers report: . YES! I got a job!

This school finally decided to have a look at me after they considered my vast international experience & what I’d save them in airfares.

I had 8 interviews, 6 offers & accepted a great offer from an A-List school. Now that I have gone through one fair, I am much more confident about the process.

Equally exciting is the result from nearly one-fifth of those polled:

NO! I didn’t attend a Recruiting Fair. I got a job ON MY OWN! How exciting! Are we sensing a trend for recruiting teachers who wish to avoid the time, money, frustration, weather difficulties & overall complications of flying thousands of miles around the world to a Recruiting Fair where hundreds of colleagues are vying for the same small pool of jobs?

I did some research & applied directly at a small school where I am enjoying myself immensely–staying for another year!

The two International jobs I have had since 2010 I received via SKYPE interviews. My resolve was to NEVER again attend a Fair.

Others report they are disillusioned with traditional Recruiting Fairs:

I spent over $5000 of my own money & neither fair gave me a good job offer. Seriously, would you wager $5000 with no guarantee of return of investment? I am kicking myself, asking why I did!

These fairs are nothing more than a chance for Search, ISS & others to make a lot of money at our expense & for the chance for school administrators to network & enjoy the perks of traveling. Let’s reduce our carbon footprint & at the same time send Search & school administrators a message.

The Recruiting Fairs are ongoing for a few more months. Be sure to add YOUR Vote to the Poll & share observations /comments with your colleagues. What do YOU have to add about your Recruiting Fair experience?

survey-2013
This survey is closed

Click here for our 2015 Recruiting Fair Survey


68 Responses to Are Internat’l Recruiting Fairs the Place to Get a Job?

  1. Dredge says:

    I believe that if you are new to international teaching, even if you have years of experience in the USA, then the fair is a good way to go. I specifically say USA because I feel that UK trained teachers have an edge in the international market and don’t need to depend on the fairs. That being said, after you obtain your first international job I don’t think the fairs are necessary. I have had many interviews simply by looking at the online resources for job postings, not affiliated with any “fair” organization (ISS, Search, UNI, etc.). I do feel that the fairs are major money making scheme, but if you understand that going in, it is less intimidating.

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    • Why Brits? says:

      Interesting what you say about UK teachers having an edge–they aren’t so pay-hungry, are cheaper to fly in, and generally have a lot more international experience. I would never hire a ‘raw’ American for an international school, especially if they’ve been teaching in a dumbed-down US public school.

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      • international teacher says:

        Wow! Really? I’ll have you know that the ICCSE high school exams are the same as the 8th grade exams in my state. So who’s dumbed down now? US teachers are some of the most dedicated, working 70 hours weeks to bring up the levels. I don’t see that at any international school.

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      • Joe C says:

        As an American working in a British school for the past several years, I find your comments derogatory and completely off the mark. It is true that the British system starts children at a younger age, but the Americans catch up and surpass the Brits by the time the children reach middle school years. I would put up American children against those in London inner-city schools any time.

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  2. MyCultureMadeMeDoIt says:

    Hi all. Going to a job fair is totally critical. Yes, its true there are people who get jobs without going. And there are the truly seasoned vets among us who have the contacts and resume to get into the schools of their choosing. But for anyone starting out on the international scene, anyone who teaches a lower demand subject area, or anyone with less experience, going to a fair is a must. The jobs people settle for when they accept via Skype are not likely to be the best jobs they could have gotten. You need to understand the motivations and perspective of the recruiters. The best schools generally are larger and have more positions to fill. They are also generally run by people who have been in the biz a long time. They will be going to the job fairs NO MATTER WHAT. So why do they need to hire you over the phone, when that simply limits their options? Besides, you may not seem as awesome to them as you do to yourself. You should view going to a job fair as an investment. You will reap the money back in either increased pay or increased happiness. If you spend all of the money to be there and nothing is happening for you, I would gently suggest that maybe something else is going on. Lets face facts, not everyone is right for this industry (yeah, that’s right, INDUSTRY). The recruiters can smell you while you’re still around the corner and know they aren’t going to hire you. I’ve been to both Search and ISS fairs, multiple times, and it amazes me some of the people who are there (btw – ISS seems to have their shit way more together these days than Search). I give them huge kudos for trying, but marvel at the ignorance and naivety. It takes time to learn the ropes of the industry and position yourself for the great schools. I have to shake my head when I overhear green people talking about this school or that school and what positions THEY want. If you want to go international you have to go to a fair. If you want to go international you should focus on the lower tier schools. If you want to go international you need to be WILLING TO GO ANYWHERE. (Really, you do.) If you want to go international you have to be willing to get paid next to nothing. If you want to go international you have to be willing to take a crappy job. Do all of those things for a decade, then you get to talk to the big boys, then you get to swipe jobs from people via Skype, then you get to put your foot in the door based on an email. That’s what all the people who are taking “your” jobs off the boards did.

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    • Swissmiss2 says:

      Absolutely spot on comment from MyCultureMadeMeDoIt. I taught at my first international school way in 1992. Fortunately it was an ISS start-up and several of the senior teachers took me under their wings and taught me a thing or two. I am inclined to do the same thing today only if I sense potential, and some humility, in a teacher new to the business of international schools. The best piece of advice given to me was to mind my p’s and q’s (which I would do anyway), because you never know where you’ll end up working and with whom. I now have a network of contacts in several areas of the world and have never lacked for job opportunities, largely because of this network. What I often witness is the impatience of those who don’t seem to think they need to first pay their dues, and how cut throat many in this profession seem to feel they must be in order to land that ‘dream’ job. Got news for you, it is what you make it. Having said that, I’m still having fun and learning all the time. So, the best of luck to those who go overseas with their eyes open and their intentions honorable to make the most of every opportunity that lands your way.

      Like

    • international teacher says:

      I have to say I disagree. I got my job on Skype but I’m a literacy specialist. I’m more than just a teacher. All depends on education, areas chosen, and time you apply.

      Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    I attende TORF three years ago and found the experience to be a positive one.

    I joined SA several months, but was not able to get an invitation to the fair I wanted.

    So, I have started contacting schoosl directly and am trying to get an interview that way.

    Like

  4. trav45 says:

    I’ve actually never landed a job directly through a fair–which is not the same as saying I haven’t been hired through an agency. My first job came via my files with ISS. The next two jobs came through connections, and my current fabulous job came through a pre-fair Skype interview, but based on them finding my materials with Search.

    So, especially if it is your first time out there, the agencies can be very useful. And contrary to what the commenter above says, Search DOES listen when things go wrong. My second job–which I now call the Hell Hole–came through Search. They broke my contact within a week, and all the other new teachers cut and ran within two weeks.

    When I told my associate about it, he said he’d waive my fee, even though the school had never paid their part of the fee, either. Obviously that’s not a common occurrence, but they DO listen.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Search Associates do not support teacher candidates over schools whom they earn lots more money from. If a school lies to you about contract conditions, do not expect Search Associates to side with you and they will still expect you pay their $1500 fee or black-ban you. I like the CIS fair much more and like the idea that schools that attend CIS are those that refuse to pay the huge fees SA commands from them.

    Like

  6. Adam says:

    The CIS fair did yield me a few interviews, but the two jobs I specifically went there to interview for were no longer posted when I arrived. I found out later from people who work at the two schools with the vanishing positions and was told that the positions had been filled weeks ago. The recruiters, however, needed to justify the trip to London to their boards, so vacancy lists were padded. Ironic how administrators who pull such stunts have the nerve to ask candidates about the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile (“principled” indeed!). It was good to see some former colleagues there, but it was disturbing that some of the recruiters were rudely dismissive and condescending. Somebody is making an awful lot of money through these venues.

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  7. jem says:

    I have always gone to job fairs have always found jobs and have always felt that recruiters are more interested in the recruiters than the candidates. next time I am using Skype and will save the expense

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  8. Jeff Atkinson says:

    Nowadays, with all the technology we have,, to talk about Recruitment Fairs is no more than a joke. A school avoiding Skype is a school without any purpose..

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  9. Anon E Mouse says:

    Fairs: so many variables to factor into the equation. Time of year, location, current market forces, couples/singles, prior contact and knowledge, skills area, references, interpersonal rapport…it goes on and on. A mathematician might look at the ratio of applicants to available, relevant jobs and establish a baseline. It’s a lottery! Obviously the recruiting agencies make their money, but do recruiters actually enjoy these trips? It’s difficult to imagine not wearying of it after a while, despite the business class perks and glitzy hotels. Teachers are the pawns in a large international industry and in percentage terms invest large amounts of their cash in these fairs – some of the tailored suits walking around at the Bangkok Search fair would support an entire Thai village for a month or two. It’s also worth noting that the number of recruiting agencies is burgeoning. In twenty years of international work, (a ‘tier one’ school and four tier two schools) I’ve only had a one direct offer at a fair – which I ultimately declined. The others all came through alternative methods. But here’s the obvious question: are the fairs worth it? With carbon footprints bigger than a Yeti football final and Skype etc. becoming ever more reliable, the obvious answer is that for many teachers the fair situation is moving towards the ‘no thanks’ end of the continuum. Perhaps for the traditionally ‘hard to fill’ vacancies, we need to organize a candidate’s fair; where the recruiters line up in the hope of an interview.

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  10. honour says:

    Job Fair attendance can be very expensive for both those searching for jobs and those recruiting staff. While there is some benefit in getting the respective parties together in one venue it is unfortunate that the whole process has become too costly for smaller schools and for individuals looking for work. My own expereince of the job fair process was one I am not in a hurry to repeat. Starting with having to ask for ‘unpaid’ casual leave (they are usually held during school term time) and feeling that this was reluctantly granted; and feeling bad about the lost teaching time with my students right through to the very pressurised days at the fair itself.
    During the fair you are in a highly competitive environment – schools are competing to find and hire the ‘best’ of the attendees while job seekers are competing with each other for less jobs than those seeking them. Added to this is the pressure associated with the high costs involved in getting to, and staying at, the venue.
    I believe it’s time recruiters joined the ‘digital age’ – teachers are expected to be up with the latest technology so why not recruiters – apart from physically touching the interviewee (which may be inappropriate anyway!) you can learn as much from an online face to face (e.g. skype) interview as you can from someone sitting opposite you in a crowded hall. The ‘come to the hotel room’ interview could also be considered a somewhat questionable practice too – recruiters may put undue pressure on candidates or may behave otherwise inappropriately. I felt harrassed by one school that was determined to sign me up at the job fair I attended – needless to say I did not choose to take up their offer!
    The best teaching job interview I every had was when after responding to a newspaper advert the school’s Principal travelled to my home country and interviewed me over a meal in a nice hotel at the school’s cost – they had all the information about my qualifications and experience from my CV and just wanted to meet face to face to see if we connected – we did and I took their job offer.
    Today we could do this via a digital tools – surely this would be a better future practice for teacher recruiting.

    Like

  11. Anonymous says:

    As a single, older, formerly slender female I went to the Search Cambridge fair after getting tired of contacting schools via email and getting no response. This was my first fair. (I was offered a position via Skype earlier by a school that found me through the Search database, but turned it down due to very low pay.) I know for a fact that I lost a great position to a couple who filled a difficult-to-fill position – plus the one I wanted – but the offer I accepted came to me after a couple turned them down! Five interviews, two offers, in a saturated area. I discovered that mentioning my last overseas school was a great idea, as it is highly respected and recruiters’ faces lit up when they heard the name. I also know that my references were contacted and they were very positive, so those things helped.

    Singles felt couples took their jobs, couples felt singles took their jobs, younger teachers felt older ones had an edge, older teachers felt the young ones were being hired. I heard it all at the fair in conversations with other teachers. I believe they were all right.

    I don’t think the recruiters were all having a great time. Many looked completely exhausted. I got the feeling they just wanted to hire the right people and be done with it so they could go home and cancel the rest of the fairs. Still, they were professional and efficient. They clearly wanted to meet people face to face.

    I would definitely go to a fair again.

    Like

    • trav45 says:

      I heartily concur! And, speaking as a single, I KNOW I have lost jobs to couples because the interviewer told me that. But fair enough. The schools need to do what works best for them. They’re not there to keep me employed, much as I would like that! : )

      I have a couple principal friends, and they HATE job fair season. It is not a free trip for them, but an jet-lagged, exhausting, energy drain.

      Like

  12. D says:

    I am an administrator of a small school in Lombok. We never attend job fairs to recruit. All our excellent expat staff come from applications through our website, on line advertising as in TES, and from teachers expressing interest. Interviews are usually via skype or telephone. Usually people already know about Lombok and want to live here already. Small schools like ours cannot afford to attend job fairs. There are many small schools, they are great places to work, teachers should be advised not to rely totally on job fairs for their careers.

    Like

  13. One Happy Camper! says:

    Started applying early as a couple, deciding to be open to a lot of possiblitities. We were fortunate to be offered contracts well before the Bangkok fair. We were able to cancel our flights with a small cancel fee, saving a ton of money (and stress).

    Like

  14. Not-a-fair-lady says:

    During my first international post, I went back and forth deciding whether or not to attend a fair. I eventually decided to attend The San Francisco Fair, which was across an ocean from where I was living, but seemed like the best choice for a comparatively inexperienced teacher. Although I chose to go to the fair, I still sent out resumes on my own and spent many sleepless nights worrying about the upcoming fair. When I woke up early in the morning to leave for the airport, I checked my email to find a contract offer from a great school in a great country. However, it was too late to change tickets, or cancel reservations. I traveled to San Francisco, check my recruit box, to only find 1 message from a questionable school in a country I did not desire to live it. I accepted the first contract and although I enjoyed my time in San Francisco, I wish I could have saved the $2,000 I spent on the fair. There are good jobs out there to be had without attending a fair. And although my story is not typical, I will not be investing in a fair again anytime soon.

    Like

  15. Somewhere in Asia says:

    Our experience at Bangkok Search was pretty positive. We’re not model attractive or particularly young either. We’re a teaching couple in two diverse areas with a small child. We don’t have loads of experience, but we had six interviews, an offer, and a possible offer pending, but we accepted the one offer at an IB school that we’re very excited to become part of.

    Maybe we just sat at different tables than some of the posters above, but we talked to plenty of single teachers (not all of them young and model attractive) who got interesting offers from a variety of good schools. One particularly heavyset, older, single woman was offered and accepted a job at her dream school, NIST.

    We came away from this fair very satisfied. We went in apprehensive. With our limited experience, I wasn’t sure we’d get interviews, let alone offers. If we go back to a job fair, this is likely the one we would return to.

    Like

  16. Bruce Doig says:

    I went to Search Bangkok with my wife. Had an interview pre-fair, but wanted to experience the fair (my first one). Wife is not a teacher, but is transitioning into teaching. We would be considered ‘older’, but not old at this point! Based on my experience (none IB), landed 8 interviews and 2 job offers, plus the potential for others if we had wanted to wait for other fairs to pass by. We chose a full IB school which would train me and help my wife. At the fair we knew several couples (not old), some with kids, some without, who did not get job offers. Some positions had limited vacancies and it made it tough. Other positions had certain requirements which you *had to have* in order to be considered. Would I go to a fair again? In a minute. I still feel it is the best way to land that job. However, as the days go on you do see more disappointed faces around (and I didn’t get my job offer until late on the last day).

    Like

  17. Lulu says:

    My husband and I attended SEARCH BKK. We have 2 small children, IB experience and got an awesome job!!! We are thankful and psyched. We made a lot of good contacts for the future and love the sport of a good job fair. I

    Like

  18. Anonymous says:

    I attended the Search Leadership Fair this year and was completely unimpressed. Candidates had to register long before the meager list of schools attending was available, and emails promising that more schools would be signing up didn’t bear out. Some were not even accredited schools from what I could find on their websites. Luckily, I got a job at a great school via Skype (yes, good schools DO hire over Skype – I had multiple lengthy interviews, but it doesn’t have to all be face-to-face). I’ve also made valuable connections at EARCOS conferences, and found that several schools at the Administrators’ Conference this year seemed to be informally looking for candidates there.

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like many of you have attended the Search and ISS fairs. Have you thought about attending UNI? There are many excellent teachers there, but most of them are new or have little international experience. All of the “big dogs” attend this fair and were in full hiring mode. It is our second time through Iowa. The first was for our first overseas jobs. We attended this year, found many qualified candidates, but our international experience won out. We had mutliple A-list offers. Once again, the fair was very well run, we met some great teachers and talked with some fantastic administrators. The big negative is Iowa’s location, and January temperatures. Cold, cold, cold!

    Like

    • rimbaud001 says:

      UNI was my first fair, but after attending search, UNI is like the minor leagues as Search is where the big dogs play, much better school and packages that are living friendly. Better come with it though, these are the top teachers in the world, where tier 1 school troll for teachers. UNI fair is mickey mouse.

      Like

      • LookingAround says:

        I don’t think UNI is minor leagues. I got my first intl job at UNI and my second at Search. While the average salary may be a tad less at UNI, most of the schools there attend also go to Search and ISS fairs. I would say it is probably the best fair if you really want to get a job and are flexible geographically.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          I have attended UNI and search Cambridge, twice. UNI was a more plesant experience and I got multiple job offers there, several on the spot. At Search, there was much less of a positive vibe all around. Many more candidates than positions and the schools seemed to have that, we want to wait till all the fairs are over, attitude. I know of at least 3 other teaching couples that walked away from several schools because of thier reluctance to offer jobs at the fair. All 3 took jobs with other schools as did I and the schools that wanted to wait, went away without hiring anyone for the positions we interviewed for. I have also taken a job after an over the phone interview and recomendations from previous administrators.. It is not easy getting in but once you have that first job it is much easier to find other positions. On another note, A list schools are not always the best schools in which to work. I have had some of my most positive experiences in third world countries which are not generally considered desirable locations. Nigeria, India, Myanmar and the Middle East.
          The best school is the one where you are the happiest and most effective as a teacher.

          Like

  20. Tucker says:

    Unless you are a very strong candidate or would settle for a school that is not tier one, I’d pass on the Bangkok fairs. The AASSA job fair in Atlanta is the one to attend if you have your heart set on South America, however, if you are a single teacher, the job fairs in San Francisco are your best bet. No matter which fair you attend, it’s always a good idea to make contact with schools before the fairs just to get your name out there. One thing I learned this year is that many teachers are creating videos to enhance their dossier. These videos are way more powerful than a typical 2 page resume.

    Like

    • kalus says:

      I found more tier one schools in bangkok than any other fair I have been too. South America pay is too low and yes teachers making videos but, I will say it again, references first, they are looking for spectacular, and experience at recognized schools, 5 years ago, at search fair, an administrator that got to be a good friend, told me, “Crappy school, crappy teacher.” Because they dont train you and other obvious reasons, My pick that year was very good school IB World School, in horrible country, and have since been sought after good schools, only way but up now.

      Like

      • Tucker says:

        I agree with you. Thanks for the updated information about the Bangkok fairs. Having strong references is important but having strong references AND an interesting video in your dossier is even better. I never thought about “crappy school, crappy teacher” before but I imagine there is some truth to that. I went to the AASSA job fair and yes most of the schools pay poorly but there are a few that compensate teachers extremely well and the cost of living is great.

        Like

  21. SilverHoops says:

    I attended the ISS fair in San Francisco. It was my first and was a very positive experience. I thought it was well organized, provided useful workshops and networking opportunities, and gave me good exposure to this style of hiring. I felt I benefited both from having been in touch with schools prior to the IRC and from the contacts I made while there. I had been offered a position with a school that attended the IRC beforehand (after several Skype interviews) but wanted to go through the process and explore my options. I was honest about this with this school, as well about being very interested in their offer, and they responded with professionalism and patience. I had seven interviews and was offered five positions. I ultimately accepted the offer of the school that had offered the job before the fair and am thrilled. I hope the rest of the story goes as well!

    Like

  22. Stormin Norman says:

    Sounds like the consensus is to pass on the Bangkok fair.

    Like

  23. Vin says:

    Attending a job fair and knowing what you want and what type of school is the best fit for you is crucial. I attended the AASSA job fair in Atlanta which was extremely well run. Meeting face to face with a potential employer is a real advantage. My feeling was that most recruiters want to fill their positions immediately and it is no vacation for them at all. They instinctively know what kind of teacher would be happy at their schools. During the fair, I felt I was prepared and the interviews that I had secured were a two way street. Not only was I being interviewed, I was also determining whether or not a certain school was a good fit for me. When both the interviewer and interviewee are on the same page, it’s more than likely you’ll get offered a job. Within the first five minutes of most interviews, I knew if the school was right for me as did the recruiter. In many instances, there are a lot of international schools where experienced teachers with an impressive skill set would not be happy due to low salaries, limited technology, etc. In the end, I was fortunate to be offered two jobs which were a good fit. There were a couple other schools that would also have been a good match but there were no positions available. The majority of the schools at the AASSA fair were not a match for me but they were for someone else. My advice when attending a fair, is ask lots of questions as this gives recruiters more of an idea about what you’re looking and that will confirm with them if you’re the right person for the job!

    Like

  24. Anonymous says:

    I attended ISS Bangkok this year. I am a single elementary teacher I am not young, skinny, or blonde ….. I am very pleased that I received four offers at top notch international schools …..

    I paid to stay at the search hotel and considered an investment –

    There is a reason why both Search and ISS ask for private/closed references. If you are not receiving job offers I would be concerned about what is in those references…

    I think we also need to be realistic – Directors do need to consider things like best fit, Departmental make up, balancing singles couples and years of experiences – And the list could go on endlessly

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    Search Bangkok was my first job fair experience. I’m a single, male, PYP trained, elementary teacher.

    I definitely felt the fair was geared more towards couples. In one interview I had a principal even tell me that the Associates were constantly asking her how she was going with the couples, it came up because she was telling me how she prefers to hire singles because she has been burned numerous times by couples.

    Another school wanted to offer me something, but I was told they are offering it to a couple, incidentally he emailed me on the Saturday because the couple had not accepted the offer.

    I had numerous schools tell me that they already had interviews lined up for the London fair and they wouldn’t make a decision until after London.

    A lot seemed to be happening pre-signup, at least for MS and HS, though they were my other friends there, so I’m not sure how it was for other ES teachers.

    I came away with three offers from three excellent schools, two of which contact me pre-sign up, so despite it being a bit up and down it was very successful for me.

    Like

  26. Byatt says:

    I attended Search London, received an offer but ended up rejecting it and accepting a different position. I would attend the fair again because I want to be in Europe and have IB experience thus it is a goof fit.

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  27. Philip Burrage says:

    I attended the both the CIS and Search in London. I had about 10 interviews and was offered two jobs, accepting one of them.
    I found that my lack of IB experience counted against me a lot for the majority of interviews I had. Where these schools expect people to get experience without working with the IB is beyond me. Fortunately, some schools do not have this as a consideration. This seems to have no reflection on the apparent quality of the schools. On a couple of occasions, being the only teacher in the family – i.e. single income counted against me. Some schools seem to prefer taking on teaching couples. Twice, my age (39) was a negative influence due to “wanting a balance in the department” also because a younger person is ‘cheaper’.

    At the time the fairs were very stressful, but in hindsight good experiences.

    Like

  28. houseonfire says:

    What about the CIS fair London. I had 3 offers and accepted a position!

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  29. Still hoping says:

    I cannot afford to attend job fairs since I live abroad anyway. There is an IB school in the country I live in, and when I first applied they didn’t do much to encourage me as they were attending numerous job fairs, so I’d pretty much given up, when I was suddenly called for interview (next week). One thing to consider in poorer EU countries (ie post-communist) is that there are some major demographic problems in both high schools and universities, since people basically stopped having kids during the first 10 years after the changes, so lower enrollment is hitting all second and third level education, and moreover we are in the middle of an extreme economic and political crisis right now. I’m guessing this school finally decided to have a look at me after they considered my vast international experience and what I’d save them in airfares. Worth considering!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    I went to SEARCH January Bangkok. I am a single female who is 44 years old, white, American, and certified in elementary education, special education, ESL, secondary education English, and K-12 Spanish. I have 10 years of international experience and 10 years of experience in my home country. I am PYP and MYP trained. I have a masters degree in education. I looked only at jobs that paid more than $40,000 per year as I have a mortgage to pay on a house I can’t sell in the USA due to the real estate crash,

    I did not receive any job offers. I had 7 interviews and everyone said they were also going to offer their same jobs in London and in Cambridge Boston. I think recruiters are playing games and have the pick of the crop to choose from. Why should I lose my current job to give them the time to attend 2 more recruitment fairs? I am not arrogant enough to think they won’t meet another equally well qualified candidate. The people I know who got immediate jobs at SEARCH January Bangkok had all these criteria athletic looking, white, 20 or 30 somethings, dual married teaching couple with 1 or 2 young children. People I met at the fair who spoke English with an accent were not offered any jobs at all. (I would say I met about 5 people in that category– all well qualified teachers in their home countries but not passport holders from UK, Canada, Oceania, or USA)

    One unfair thing one big school did at the fair was to allow hopeful teachers to sit through their school’s presentation and then when those teachers approach the table for an interview the next day they were told, “We already selected all of our candidates to interview prior to the fair’s start.” Ok fine, no worries but don’t waste my time by pretending there is availability for an interview. I would have gone to another school’s presentation instead. It happened to myself and 2 others who sat through their presentation. We were all qualified for the positions by the way. Search needs to tell those recruiters if their interview time slots are all filled to post it on the door outside the presentation room!

    Since the economic difficulties in many countries have happened there is a sudden glut of teachers who are all well qualified. 7 years ago there weren’t enough teachers and now there are too many. Competition is tough and schools want to save money on housing. The worst job market I have seen in 20 years of teaching.

    I will not waste my money going to another fair in this current economic climate unless I already happen to be in the fair city because air tickets are pricey. Cost me $2,500 to attend this fair. I had the same experience in SEARCH Boston Cambridge ($2800) about 3 years ago. Hmm so I have spent over $5000 of my own money and neither fair gave me a good job offer? Seriously would you wager $5000 with no guarantee of return of investment? I am kicking myself asking why I did!

    Same few jobs offered at all major fairs so you do the math about how many people compete! I am thankful I have a job and can stay as long as I want because so many at the fair were crying because they had to declare they were not returning to their job in order to attend the fair. I had the luxury of declaring after the fair.

    Good luck to all job seekers out there. Don’t worry that there are so few jobs right now being posted. Dream big! There are always some great last minute jobs and then you as a candidate hold more appeal because schools are eager to hire closer to the start of the school year.

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  31. LookingAround says:

    I went to two Search fairs, Bangkok and SFO. Bangkok is a tough fair. I would say the administrators are absolutely cherry-picking as it is early. You should not go to this fair unless you have at least 5-7+ years experience and at least 1-2 of those IB. Married couples with no dependents were the hot commodity from the people I talked to. I did not fit those profiles and had a tough time getting interviews, only 5, and no job. SFO was totally different. It is one of the last fairs, so administrators are more aggressive. I had 11 interviews scheduled (with one school that had said no in Bangkok even), received 2 solid offers and cut off the process with 2 more schools that I felt confident were also going to offer me a position. Next time Cambridge seems like the best balance, not too early or late and lots of schools from different geographies. I don’t have any feeling about which is better, Search or ISS.

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  32. Ncmurray8 says:

    My husband and I went to AASSA in November and left with positions. I am a certified teacher and although he is not certified he has tons of teaching experience. The position I was offered fit my experience and the position he was offered was based on the fact that the hiring officer is from our area and was able to translate my husband’s varied experience into viable teaching experience. It was tough as a teaching couple to find the right match but I absolutely believe that we were able to sell ourselves well at the fair and it was well worth our time and money. We figured if we didn’t get anything at AASSA we would head to Cambridge. Luckily we didn’t have to.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    If you think that are recruitment fairs are for teachers and for the opportunity for teachers and schools to meet, you are dead wrong. I am convinced more than ever that Administrators attend fairs to travel the world and to take advantage of the many perks that come with traveling, including being wined and dined by fair organizers and being able to network with the good-ole-boy club of fellow administrators. I have attended several fairs over the years and this year’s Search fair in Bangkok 2013 was one of the worst. Attending an early fair (like Bangkok) is a complete waste of time and money on the part of the teacher. Many positions mysteriously had already disappeared despite them being listed on line with Search. There were over 500 teaching candidates in Bangkok this year and by my best estimates in taking to people, fewer than half were offered position. Search refuses to release the actual number of hires, which I suspect is much less. I met many outstanding teachers that walked away with no offers despite multiple interviews. They were confused and upset.

    From an Administrators perspective, why would you bother to hire for all or most of your vacancies when there are so many other fairs yet to attend? The answer is quite simply… they don’t. Administrators drag out the hiring so that they can justify attending even the last fairs of the season. The climate at Search Bangkok was one of unprofessionalism and, quite frankly, felt like a meat market. This fact was highlighted when overheard two administrators openly making fun of a candidate’s weight as I rode with them in the elevator.

    I should mention that my partner and I have a combine 32 years of teaching experience and hold Master’s degrees in our fields. We are dedicated teachers and do right by the students we teach. Despite this, my partner and I walked away with no offers and felt and when it was all added up, had spent over $3000 for flights, hotel and fair fees.

    As a result we have decided not to attend any fairs now or in the future. In this day and age of Skype, there is no reason for so many teachers to have to spend so much money in order to have a in-person meeting. These fairs are nothing more than a chance for Search, ISS, and others to make a lot of money at our expense and for the chance for school administrators to network and enjoy the perks of traveling. Let’s reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time send Search and school administrators a message.

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    • Snorks says:

      Admin hate going to these, because it is a business trip, they are interviewing and waiting for confirmations, to make their school the best it can be they need the best qualified teachers. You sound very naive, Bangkok is very competitive, London is much more friendlier, about the administrators making fun of somebody, that happens everywhere

      You sound like you are extremely qualified and bangkok loves couples so surprising that you did not get offers. I talked to several administrators and they first look at references and then call them to get the real junk on a teachers, then the quality of the schools you have worked at. One of these must have tainted your chances.

      Yes it is expensive, but as we are IB teachers this fair makes sense, we keep moving up the tiers. The upper tier schools with good reps, the schools you want to work at, do not hire over skype, final word, no fair, prepare to work at shady schools.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Some admin like attending fairs.

        I know many well qualified teachers with good references who did not get jobs in SEARCH January BKK. Those same admin were wanting to offer the same jobs at other fairs There are too many well qualified candidates and not enough jobs.

        It is human nature when there is plenty to not value it as much and to take more time to select. Like now with the glut of teachers.

        If things are scarce people make quick decisions and are less picky. (Like 10 years ago when there weren’t enough teachers)

        I do agree with you that the best paying schools require face to face interviews and only hire through fairs.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I got hired at one of the elite Asian schools through skype interviews in December. They hired a few at the fair, but most were hired through skype beforehand.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Reading through the other posts below and thought I should add perspective to my post right above. I am part of a teaching couple with kids. In our case, being a couple no doubt played in our favor, but I know singles were hired this way too.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If the administrators really hated fairs, they could easily be avoided. The early fairs are so competitive and have so many qualified candidates that I can’t imagine it would be a difficult task to fill all available positions at 1 fair. The cambridge fair was only my second fair, but I was really surprised by the arrogance of many of the administrators…..especially those administrators from the top tier schools. I had a few decent offers, but am wondering if I would be better off waiting for a last minute opening in june or sep…..when admin are a little more desperate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, Our director could have reassigned or promoted at least 3 staff who were excellent and who expressed interest internally. But didn’t. She went to 3 fairs and only got one person. Lack of knowledge of one’s staff expertise and lack of championing. I doubt they’ll renew.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I did not talk to many people who had positive experiences at this fair- January SEARCH Bangkok. I was there too. Young, thin, married couples got jobs.

      Contrary to what posters said below many administrators like attending the fairs because they get airfare paid for.

      Of the jobs I interviewed for, NONE hired at January SEARCH Bangkok. That’s right NONE. They went on to all of the other fairs and held open the positions. They all said I interviewed well, had excellent references, etc.

      This is really not about us personally as teachers. The problem is too many available teachers and not enough jobs is the problem and too many fairs. Very different scene from just 10 years ago where there weren’t enough teachers to go around.

      A few lucky people (mostly ones who will work for less than $30,000 per year) got jobs or young teaching married couples with young children. The rest of us left feeling rejected even though we know we have qualifications, experience, advanced degrees, IB training, and great references all the way around.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I teach elementary and I agree many of the listed jobs were not advertised at the fair even though they were on Search and even on the school’s own website still. One school I noticed didn’t advertise any elementary jobs in the candidate room, but in the sign up room had elementary jobs listed.

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    • Never again says:

      I agree totally. Obviously nothing has changed. In 2010 at the London Fair, I heard school Heads bragging/competing/ discussing the fact that they spend three months of every year away from their respective schools, at Job Fairs…… all expenses paid, for themselves and their partners….. their words, not mine. The two International jobs I have since had then I received via SKYPE interviews. My resolve after the London experience was to NEVER again attend a Fair.

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    • Glenn Frame says:

      I couldn’t agree more. You’re exactly right. and SA will tell you that 50% of the people that get hired through them haven’t even attended a job fair. They told me that when I tried to register for the Bangkok fair a few weeks in advance. It’s all so the Director’s can spend the school’s money and not do their real job. I hope sites like TIE and ISR can get more members and make SA and ISS job fairs obsolete.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    I went to Search Bangkok. Despite living very close to Bangkok the expense of an airfare, accommodation, food, four days leave without pay from current school, added up to quite a bit in the end.

    Was it worth it, yes and no. The face-to-face interviews were great, better than skype. I came away with a job in an excellent school.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    I signed on with ISS last year and was offered a one-year contract after attending the Boston Fair. Part of the reason I went with ISS is they claimed that you could access their database for two years after paying the hefty fees. When I went to access the website I was denied and was told that I needed letter from my Director stating that I only had a one-year contract-even though they should have had this info and clearly putting me in an awkward position with my new Director. When the time came and I was in a position to have my director confirm the one-year contract I was then told by ISS that I was not eligible and the disclaimer stated that you could only access their system for two years if you didn’t get a job…. deeply dissatisfied and would recommend Search over ISS for those exploring.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Search is the same though. Once you have a job and your account is archived, you no longer have access to the database, despite paying the fee.

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  36. We joined ISS after much research, after trying for a year applying on our own. Attended the IRC’s in Atlanta and in San Francisco. We had 6 interviews total at the 2 fairs and received NO offers. We are at a loss! We both have master’s degrees, are certified in multiple subject areas and have varied experience of over 10 years each! We are under 45 yrs old. We are open to anywhere other than middle east or africa (we have a young child – safety IS an issue). Definately feel like attending the fairs were a waste of time and money but did not want to have regrets. Not many positions available. Thinking perhaps we should have went to an earlier fair – Bangkok or London maybe? Perhaps there would have been more positions earlier on in the season. I feel a bit hopeless trying to apply to schools individually now (and its only Feb. 21!) because they do not have any positions posted or say they are fully staffed… Now what?!?

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    • Jake says:

      How with those credentials I cannot believe you did not get a few offers. There has got to be something else at play, maybe resume and letters of rec need reworking, or work on interview skills.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        We feel the same way. We hate to pull the race card, but we do wonder if being african american has anything to do with it. Of course we do no have IB or international exprience either, so who knows!

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    • Kelly says:

      Start sending your resume to individual schools (directors and principals) where you want to be. Tell them what you have to offer their school. I think you’ll find yourself a nice position just around the corner. Don’t give up yet!
      I received my job last year in May! I had other offers, but I wasn’t really feeling them as the place for my family. One other came nearly overnight and it has been the best job I could have ever hoped for! It has been an amazing year!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thx! I will keep trying but this has been an emptional rollercoaster. Very frustrating…

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        • Elementary says:

          Don’t forget Tieonline.com. This where I got my first job after no luck at my first job fair. I got hired on April 2nd so don’t despair!

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  37. Susan says:

    I attended the SF ISS Fair. While it was intimidating (500 candidates and about 150 schools), I had 8 interviews, 6 offers, and accepted a great offer from an A-List school. Now that I have gone through one fair, I am much more confident about the process. It was interesting to me how many of these schools I had contacted via email before the fair and I received tepid responses (in some cases, no response). It seems like some schools really rely on fairs and the face-to-face opportunity to make offers.

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  38. Lgtallie says:

    I did some research and applied directly at a small school where I am enjoying myself immensely. I am staying for another year!

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  39. Snorks says:

    Went to search in Bangkok, my wife and I got a great job at an IB World School. Not even going to bother with other websites, going to search until for the next 25 years, all to do next time update resume, send in two confidential references and book my tickets to Bangkok

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