Int. Education

International Recruiting Season: Times Are A Changing

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It is once again that time of year when international teachers start having to decide if they want to head off to a new place or stay put for another year in the school/country they are in. If contracts haven’t already had to be signed they will be in the next couple of weeks.

It is a fun/stressful time of year. Either you have already decided to stay, making it fun to watch and see where your friends who are recruiting end up, or it’s stressful because you yourself are thinking of leaving and going to a new school/country/adventure.

The recruiting process for international schools continues to evolve due to technology. At one point in time, not too many years ago, you had to go to an overseas job fair to have the best chance at getting a job. Now you just need to register with a service like ISS or Search Associates to get your resume and name in the system and wait for a call.

ISS (International Schools Services) has just released a new video to promote their service in helping teachers get their “dream job” overseas.

Even in this latest video ISS does not talk about having to go to a job fair. Many of us know that the job fair has taken on a new dimension in the recruiting process. More and more I hear teachers say, “I’m not going to a fair.” and instead use their network of teachers they know in international schools to find the job they want.

I have administrators tell me they go to job fairs to fill that one or two last position needed and others that do all their recruiting now via Skype and don’t attend job fairs at all.

If you are new to overseas teaching then a job fair is your best bet. But once you’ve been out there for awhile you create your own network and learn how the system works.

I find it interesting how technology has taken this industry that use to mean expensive plane tickets, nights in 5 star hotels and has brought the cost of recruiting for both schools and teachers down to a couple hundred dollars if any money at all.

Technology As A Skill

I have talked here before how technology is a skill and we know that because more and more administrators are looking for the skill of using technology with students when hiring teachers. It is going to be another big year for educational technology jobs. Already schools like IS Prague are posting positions and will probably hire these positions before the job fairs even get started.

I am also hearing from administrators both via email and once again through downloading of the interview quesitons I made for schools that are 1:1 looking for educators who understand how teaching changes in a connected technology rich environment. I am also hearing from those who have completed our COETAIL program that the season has already begun. A couple graduates have already gotten new jobs in new schools while others are just starting the process. Once again administrators seem to be high on those who have completed the COETAIL program which is exciting for Kim and I and the rest of our instructors.

With more and more international schools going to 1:1 programs and moving there fast they are looking for educators who have technology skills and understand how to teach in a technology rich environment. In fact, if I was in an interview today I would hope that nearly half the questions an administrator asked about teaching would require a response where technology was talked about. International schools are moving forward fast with technology and honestly, from what I am witnessing, leaving a lot of countries and other schools behind. It is a different world in the international school system and if you are looking to work for forward thinking schools you might want to consider looking internationally.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Linc Jackson Reply

    Hey Jeff,
    My wife and I just came back from an amazing job fair in Kuala Lumpur. I agree.. veteran international teachers should use their networking abilities to save some money and to hunt for just the right position.
    As my wife is embarking on a revitalized and slightly different career (college counseling) it seemed smart to get to a fair early and to network and text the waters. We learned about the playing field and now can be more efficient with our investigations.
    Finally, I love interviewing with my wife. While she is good on paper, in an interview in think we are a really strong team and bring out the best in each other and connect well with the interviewer.
    This fair was an administrative fair and so it was a little more relaxed and more focused on networking. Not so big either.
    By the way … we were looking at a specific school before we went and I got a full low down on that school from one of my COETAIL classmates…

  2. Times are sure changing. My wife and I are in our 14th year of international school teaching and we have gone through the mill of recruitment a couple of times already during this time.

    Last night, in fact, we started discussing our options and as Jeff states above, ” It is a fun/stressful time of year. Either you have already decided to stay, making it fun to watch and see where your friends who are recruiting end up, or it’s stressful because you yourself are thinking of leaving and going to a new school/country/adventure.”

    I have yet to experience the whole shebang of being “SKYPED and HIRED” online. I hope it happens in the near future though as I agree that the age of coming together in one setting for recruitment purposes is slowly becoming an obsolete relic. If we are trying so hard to get our students connected to a wider audience, why are we still so focused on the job fair arena? Should we not be mimicking what we are trying to teach?

    During this past year I have learned an important lesson through COETAIL though. One needs to be connected to others, to your own learning, and be able to demonstrate “value added” when it comes to being a 21st century recruit. This has become one of my passions as I focus on the here and now in my current classroom and school…and also begin looking towards the next step in my international school journey.

    May the winds of change blow in my direction and those of you also preparing for something new in the upcoming school year.

  3. Jeff, the principals and I here at ICS Addis are looking carefully at your annotated interview questions and thinking about incorporating some of them to update our interview protocol.

    Our principals and I also have set ourselves a goal of filling 30% of our open positions with excellent teachers before the fairs begin…through Skype and other means. Then, we’ll celebrate in September if we successfully found all great matches this way.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on good interview questions!

  4. I’m currently in my fifth school year of international teaching and at my second school. For the first one, I attended a fair as a single teacher. I then attended a second fair as a teaching couple. That fair brought my husband and I to my current school. At that fair (2010) a lot of administrators told us they saw the fairs going to the wayside in the near future and more Skype hiring happening. I had a feeling then we wouldn’t be going to a fair again. Next summer, my husband and I will go to our third school together. Not only did we not attend a fair or register with ISS & Search, we got our jobs in October and we weren’t even thinking of leaving yet. To me, that also has a lot to do with the internet making the world smaller.

    Did tech skills play a factor? For me, yes, as I was going into an ed tech position. I interviewed with the IT director over Skype and was definitely asked about how I have applied skills. I also was asked to describe CoETaIL.

    As a 2-in-1 comment, I also think those are great interview questions!! Really digs a little deeper into where the candidate is on their tech usage and learning curve.

  5. Asia Coetail blogger here. When my husband and I decided to go international, we never dreamed that in 3 short years we would be embarking on this technology trek. Our teaching friends in the states expected up to be home in 2 years. Now that we signed up for 3 more years, they are starting to take what we have done a bit more seriously. Now we are being asked, what they need to do to get hired. Three years ago we owned a laptop. That was the extent of it. We had email and could shop online. To my teaching friends who want to teach internationally, I tell them they need to be well versed in integrating technology. Coming from the states, where private schools are toying with the idea of 1:1, it is a difficult statement to make when it comes to being experienced. When recruiters are interviewing, the questions have shifted to a whole new set of skills. Skills that a lot of us are learning on the job and from our students. Thanks Jeff for making me more marketable to the next international school.

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