Top Tips for Recruiting Fair Newbies 2020


If you’re standing at the precipice of your first ever International Teacher Recruiting Fair, get set for an emotional roller coaster like none other! One minute you’re flying high: Wow…that interview went super great! The next minute you’re in the depths of despair: Why hasn’t my top pick called me back for a second interview? Then, out of nowhere, an opportunity you hadn’t even considered presents itself. Should you go for it? Or maybe hang back and hope to hear from one of your A-list schools? Hesitate, and you may find yourself out in the cold. Jump too soon and you put yourself out of the running for a school you really want.

Navigating an International Teacher Recruiting Fair requires planning, planning and more planning, plus the flexibility to abandon that plan if need be. Written by a long time ISR Forum member and avid contributor, the following words of wisdom for newbies and seasoned Fair goers alike are a must-read before the “ride” begins:


From the ISR Open Forum
Re: First job Fair coming up. Top 5 tips please!
by Thames Pirate » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:24 pm
Posts: 1080 Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:06 am

    Do your homework beforehand. Take the time to really research your top choice schools, including your pie-in-the-sky schools as well as more realistic options. Research the mission statements, browse their websites, look at whom they sent to the Fair, etc. A well-organised cheat sheet is worth its weight in gold. Knowing what positions are open from both the online database and from the candidate lounge (remember, sometimes things are posted in the lounge and not online, or are still online but not in the lounge because the spots are filled) will help you make your plan.

Have your prep work done and have a plan. Have your resumes, ichiro, whatever, ready and printed before you go. Have your clothes ironed and your initial plan for sign ups made (Which schools are you hitting up and in what order? What do you want to say to recruiters?). Decide which presentations you are interested in seeing. I colour-code with a highlighter so that I can easily check when and where to go, when to try to avoid scheduling interviews, and where I should go if I have the time. You won’t have time to find a print shop. Have a spare set of clothes ready for if/when you spill coffee during breakfast.

Get your rest, especially if you are jet lagged and/or an introvert. You are “on” the WHOLE time, and that is exhausting. The emotional roller coaster is exhausting as well. Rest when you can, either between events if you are at the Fair hotel, or at night. If you want down time, do it away from the Fair. But be aware that you might still meet someone from the Fair at the local eatery. Your room is your only real sanctuary. Use it.

Be flexible. Your plan will be shot to hell in no time. That’s okay. Things change fast for recruiters as well as candidates, and everyone is tired, sometimes cranky, and doing the best they can for their schools and their situations. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t get hired right away but others do. Be willing to take interviews even if you hadn’t considered the position or know little about the school. Change the order in which you sign up based on the length of line.

Network like crazy. Like I said, you are “on” all the time. That means watch what you drink at the social so you can be working the crowd. Talk to other candidates to see what you can learn about potential destinations or their thought processes or what went well in interviews. Maybe they will tell you where their interview went off the rails so when you talk to that recruiter later you can avoid that pitfall. Or maybe you can just encourage one another. Talk to recruiters, even of schools you are not necessarily interested in. You might learn more about the process, find an interesting job that you hadn’t considered, or make a connection for the future, when that person is at a different school where you might want to be. A conversation in an elevator led to a job for us once. Or a teacher to whom you gave a kind word of hope moves into leadership and offers you a job. You just never know.

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2 thoughts on “Top Tips for Recruiting Fair Newbies 2020

  1. This article sums it up perfectly. I have found the most important part attending a recruiting fair is to be flexible. For years and years I wanted to teach in South or Central America. Mostly because I speak pretty good Spanish and wanted the opportunity to improve my abilities. Six schools and 20 years later I finally landed a job in Ecuador. Had I been bound and set on South America in the beginning I would have missed out the fabulous other experiences I had at 5 different schools in various parts of the world. The best advice is be open to new adventures and be prepared to abandon you plan if it’s not working for you.

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  2. Listen to half of what the school Director says and believe half of that. Recruiting fairs are super fun and can lead to amazing opportunities. They can also really ruin your life if you buy into a desperate schools lies. ISR can be a life saver. Read reviews and then ask the person conducting the interview about what’s said. Do your research and you won’t be disappointed

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