The Word on Virtual Recruiting Fairs

We can’t help but wonder: Would virtual Recruiting Fairs have replaced in-person recruiting, or even done so by as much as 20%, if it had not been for COVID-19?

Other than keeping recruiting companies from joining the list of COVID causalities, what, if anything about virtual recruiting, is advantageous for these companies? Reduced fees for schools & candidates certainly aren’t good for a bottom line, while at the same time expenses associated with creating & maintaining a digital venue can be substantial.

Teachers & Admin commenting on ISR sum it up like this:

I see virtual recruiting fairs becoming an end-of-season catch-all for schools & teachers still looking. It could work well for last minute vacancies. Other than that, I’m not a fan.

I am seeing a ton of schools [on *** recruiting site] I have never, ever heard of ….”

That’s a whole lotta lousy schools .… [reduced fees & no travel expenses cleared the way for schools previously unable to participate.]”

As a recruiter I hate online fairs because unreliable technology & video conversations always feel even more awkward. But, I have also always hated in-person fairs because I don’t like taking so much time out of my schedule & staying at a hotel. There is def a benefit of someone actually sitting across from you so you do get a better sense of what they are really like…..”

“In-person fairs will still happen in the future because recruiters believe the in-person experience gives them a better sense of the candidate & also because it’s an efficient way to interview many candidates in-person in a short amount of time — it’s what I’ve heard recruiters say & I do agree. I also get a better sense of the admin when I have an in-person interview. Having a bunch of interviews in 2 days & possibly walking away with a job at the end is better than weeks of searching, emailing & Skype-interviews across time zones. The in-person preference is also part of the reason why some schools fly in the final two or three candidate for an interview.

Of course there are positive aspects to virtual recruiting fairs for both schools & candidates. However, we’ve yet to hear teachers or admins mention any that go beyond monetary savings & convenience. When COVID fades into history, will virtual Recruiting Fairs go with it?

If YOU were asked to sum up your experience with virtual recruiting fairs in one or two succinct paragraphs, what would that statement read like?

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

10 thoughts on “The Word on Virtual Recruiting Fairs

  1. I’ve been to many of the big hiring fairs. Great money makers for the recruitment agencies. Great holidays for fat directors. Great expense and pressure for teachers.
    Some schools demand in-person interviews and some like online hiring.
    Bottom line…..research each individual school and check reviews….do your homework and don’t be impulsive or sign out of desperation…..unless you really are desperate.

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  2. iFairs seemed to make sense as an alternative during Covid but why would schools wait to give up a weekend to compete with all the other schools when they can find candidate matches online and then arrange a Skype/Zoom call at a time that works for them? This way they can fill their roles with the best candidates faster…

    That’s why platforms like Teacher Horizons are becoming popular with schools – they can find the candidates they need and connect with them in their own time without the need for an imposed timetable.

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  3. Recruitment fairs in person are extraordinarily expensive and fine for lst tier schools with generous budgets. The future trend will probably be hybrid. I can tell as much from a face-to-face interaction as I can from a Zoom call.

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  4. I’m one of those weird people who really likes hiring fairs – I’ve recruited 3 times, twice at in person fairs, and once online (no online fair, just direct applications and Search Associates, as I couldn’t travel to an in person fair due to COVID).

    A few of the things I value about Fairs:
    – it creates a situation where I, as a candidate, can pick between jobs (the artificial deadline of the fair means a bunch of schools are offering and reviewing applications at the same time)
    – I get to build in person relationships with administrators, not just the ones I will be working for, but those that I meet and may intersect with in the future
    – I’ve made friends and gained industry insights from colleagues I’ve recruited alongside!

    Post COVID, I’ll definitely be going back to whatever the equivalent of the Search BKK fair is (and maybe playing with GRC). Obviously, I also use Search’s database and apply directly to schools that I’m interested in.

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  5. I have recruited teachers and administrative positions for more than 10 years. In the early years, I used to travel to the fairs but it was costly and I ended up spending too much time away from school. The 2-3 years prior to the pandemic, I began recruiting exclusively online typically hiring 6-8 teachers and routinely finishing by late January. I have continued this trend now and have seen little difference in the candidates that I have hired. It is possible to say that the candidates have been stronger lately because I have the opportunity to engage in authentic dialogue without the pressure of time.

    Personally, I have found the iFairs a bit clunky and at times the tech is unreliable. The ability to filter through recruitment databases, exchange a few emails, and finally meet over Zoom (Skype, for those of us who are a bit older) is easy. It also allows for a more natural flow. The traditional fairs of two compact days felt pressured, and following up on references was a challenge. I think the future of recruitment will be some type of a hybrid situation for those who still prefer to travel.

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  6. I don’t think they’re going away. Especially as markets tighten, budgetary considerations take precedence; flying admin to multiple fairs at costly hotels is expensive. There may be some kind of hybrid with many positions being filled online and attending a fair for hard-to-fill positions.

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  7. There should be a distinction between a teacher sending out unsolicited resumes in hopes of getting an interview and possibly a position, as opposed to the on mass online events. I’m all in favor of the going it alone method and I’m sure there are plenty of schools that want to avoid paying a finder’s fee to the recruiting agencies.

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  8. I started hiring for my school a couple of years ago. The first and only fair I went to was Atlanta (this was right before COVID hit). It was a total meat market and I completely disagree with the commenter in the post that said ““In-person fairs will still happen in the future because recruiters believe the in-person experience gives them a better sense of the candidate”. Having someone meet you at a crowded Starbucks, hotel lobby, or hotel room (CREEPY) is absolutely not a good way to get a sense of fit.

    Zoom allows me the opportunity to have a low-pressure chat with a candidate, explain our package, and then gives them the freedom to have a few days to think about it before expressing their interest and going on to HoD or HoS interviews. I think, and hope, that the days of in-person fairs are dying.

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    1. I also agree; the in-person fairs feel like a meat market.
      It’s messy and crazy; it isn’t dignifying for the employer or employee.

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  9. In-person fairs cost schools a ridiculous amount of money (flights, airfare, service fees, per diem) and you might return empty handed.
    iFairs cut those expenses, definitely; however, at the moment we have opted for just free websites and their free services. Is a bit more work to do all the background checks and reference checks; yes. Is it 100% less expensive and equally effective; yes.

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