How Recruiting Fairs Fared in Our Survey

     ISR wanted to know if the trend away from Recruiting Fairs has been growing since our 2013 Survey. Our most recent Survey reveals that YES, there appears to be a significant shift away from brick and mortar venues, and an increased reliance on the internet as the preferred recruiting method.

It’s no secret that more than one recruiting agency is currently in the process of implementing virtual fairs. Apparently they have seen the writing on the wall, so to speak.


   The way we see it is this: About 17% fewer candidates attended Fairs as compared to 2013. This equates to nearly a full 50% of respondents opting to avoid Recruiting Fairs. Of those who did attend Fairs, fewer candidates said the Fair was not beneficial. Does this mean it’s possible that with less teachers attending Fairs, those that DO attend receive an increased level of attention?

Of course, there is a variety of ways to interpret data. Our interpretation is that physical Recruiting Fairs are becoming a secondary method of recruiting. What’s your take on the survey results?

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14 Responses to How Recruiting Fairs Fared in Our Survey

  1. Anonymous says:

    Approximately 3 years ago I flew from Kuwait to London to attend a large recruiting fair. After talking to numerous recruiters, I was left with the impression that what the recruiters were looking for were young inexperienced teachers who could be hired for very little money. Later in the year I managed to secure a job on my own using one of the websites for international teaching. I would never waste my money to attend a job fair in the future.


  2. I would rather spend the money visiting the country I want to work in, making sure I like it, and then doing walk-in interviews. It has worked every time.


  3. Oldschool says:

    I didn’t obtain my job through a fair and I work at a top tier school. I can’t understand why, in this day and age, it is necessary to put notice in at one’s school and then spend considerable money to attend a fair. This is stressful and costs a fair bit of money. At my school we are killed with technology (too much tech in schools these days to cater for lazy students and parents) but the international schools scene expects recruits to fly to fairs! Wow. Haven’t these people heard of email? How about Skype? Teachers are feeding the monster i.e. recruiting companies. I may or may not attend a fair in the future, but I would rather not.


  4. Also Anonymous says:

    There is one method of getting a job that the survey leaves out, which is signing on with a recruiting service (and thus a fair), but being hired before the fair via access to the recruiting firm’s database.

    I have attended one fair (and was hired) and since I have always signed with a recruiting firm and was hired before the fair. Many of the teachers I know who have worked in international schools have the same experience. This scenario is not reflected in the results.


  5. jangili says:

    Our job search experience in this past season was grueling. Lots of interviews, many close calls, one offer. The offer did not come through Search Associates, but sort of randomly, unexpectedly.

    We attended the January fair in London and invested a LOT of money. We knew it was a gamble, but coming out with nothing really hurt.

    We are now teaching in Europe, so it won’t be too expensive to attend the January fair once again.

    All in all, we are not happy with the way things went at Search Associates. Lots of young teachers, lots of fake smiles and pretentious egos.

    We will see how the new season plays out…


  6. Anonymous says:

    After turning 60 I’ve been offers positions through a job fair company connection with a Skype interview usually in May or June. My area is middle school humanities or upper elementary.


  7. mrmotta says:

    I’ll piggyback on ‘Neversaynever’ and say I feel like more analysis of the data is necessary: subject the candidates taught, the amount of experience they had, how picky they were being, etc. As a science teacher looking to move to my fourth international school, I had a blast at the fair. I could have gotten a job without going but I like the networking and directors like the face to face. As to the cost that some are complaining about, I say it’s the cost of doing business in our world. If you don’t like it, don’t teach overseas or take your chances with Skype-only contact.


  8. Neversaynever says:

    To be fair we need to know the number of respondents for each of the 2 surveys to get the bigger picture. Can you provide that please.


  9. Just looking says:

    I am part of a highly experienced (including IB) teaching couple. This was our experience:

    UNI Fair- great for us as teachers just breaking into the international circuit

    Search Boston- Not great as there were not a lot of jobs left at that time for our particular combination of licenses but we did wind up getting a couple of offers and accepting a job in the UAE.

    Search Bangkok- Lots of jobs and, on paper, we’re a very strong option but recruiters were very picky at this early date. We felt both our age (mid 40s) and my spouse’s brown skin worked against us at this fair.

    SKYPE- Had a great round of Skype interviews this past season. Connected well with many excellent and competitive schools and wound up with offers at 3. We accepted one and are happy here so far.

    If we ever get out on the market again, we will probably not go to a recruiting fair. Honestly, it’s not even the expense that’s so intimidating. It’s the fact that I have to resign my job at school A before I can look for school B. It makes you desperate, and as highly experienced and talented teachers (with one dependent), I don’t think this is appropriate for us at this time in our careers.


  10. Anonymous says:

    I have found jobs through fairs and the Internet. I figure the costs associated with jobs secured through fairs each cost me my first month’s salary at my new school. In the corporate world the company flies the candidate to the interview. In the IS world the candidate bears the brunt of the expenses with little in return. It erks me to see the buffet for directors and nothing for the teachers. The fact that we are commodities is clear. I welcome technology putting A astrangle hold on these recruiting agencies that exploit us.


  11. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Omgarsenal’s comment above. Recruitment fairs work best for young, attractive candidates. I attend the Search Boston fair 2015. Many schools now offering “intern” teaching positions rather than teaching positions. Most people I met left without offers including myself.

    I left my employer after only 1 year but the school agreed to let me go. The living conditions were terrible at that school and it was unsafe in the community. Even though the school was pleased with my job performance, I had trouble getting another job! Potential employers assumed I was a bad hire. Very discouraging. I am sure that none of those interviewers would stay in a country where there were people stabbed in front of their school assigned housing, a car was stolen out of the school assigned housing, and a teacher was mugged in front of the school assigned housing. What a joke with a campus that flooded big time, mosquitoes so plentiful if you walked on campus you could catch them in your mouth, and no planning time because it was all eaten up by mandatory meetings. Of course I never badmouthed my employer.

    I am pretty resilient and NOT a complainer. I taught at a school in an active war zone for 4 years and felt safer than at the school I left. So that is saying something.

    Job market is bad right now with way too many teachers and not enough good jobs, a big change over the last 15 years. Grab what you can and don’t waste money/time on fairs unless cheap for you to go and you are attractive and young.Saw several big chested bubbly youngsters get hired as interns and overheard one recruiter say to another, “Hey, they are young, hot, and you get 2 bodies for the price of one teacher!” so yes the old boys network is alive and well.


  12. omgarsenal says:

    I cannot speak for others, but my experience over 11 years of recruiting fairs, is as follows:

    1) They are organized for the recruiters and they are primarily a way of promoting the agency (SEarch,UNI, etc.,) more than the candidates’ interest.

    2) Since the old boys’ Club that most fairs represent is still a powerful element of the selection process, a candidate can have a hard time getting serious opportunities if they are not on excellent terms with their current employer.

    3) The efficacy of these fairs is certainly questionable…. My experience led me to believe they were a waste of money and time, but others may have had a different experience.

    4) My most useful tool was a site like ISR, which permitted me to connect directly with the potential employers I wanted to consider, and when I called the DG or Heads, it usually had a more positive impact,

    I found that it was always best to call them well before you were finished at your current school. These sentiments have been echoed by and most of my overseas colleagues and even some Heads of schools.


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