It’s hiring season in the international market and I am learning just how challenging it is and how fierce competition is for great teachers.
I have done a great deal of hiring in the past: secretaries, Educational Assistants, teachers, occasional teachers, Vice Principals and I thought I had a good grasp on the process. Well, the same process does not exist in the international market and it is more difficult than I thought.
In the international market the competition is very high. Great teachers have their pick of many schools. Each school has it’s own strengths and also challenges. It can be the salary package, personal safety, culture, language, facilities, housing, climate, religion, curriculum, professional learning, leadership etc. Every school is unique and has different things to offer prospective staff members.
As a teacher looking to teach in an international school you really need to do your homework and have an idea of what you want. You need to weigh all the pros and cons and come to a decision prior to accepting the interview. Our school for example has a lower salary package but we have other benefits such as housing, professional learning opportunities, strong leadership and tax benefits. We also have an amazing community that is perfect for families, singles and couples of all ages and cultures. We use the New Brunswick and IB curriculum and teachers have a great deal of autonomy in their roles. We also provide many opportunities for leadership for staff.
For our hiring process we use several online job recruiting agencies: Search, Schrole and True Teaching. We post our jobs online and interested candidates can apply. As school leaders we log on to these online agencies and review the pool of applicants who have applied for the jobs. We then send information packages to prospective candidates with as much information as possible. Salary, benefits, sample contract, videos, social media accounts, photos, testimonials etc. We ask that prospective candidates review the information sent and let us know if they are still interested in an interview.
If a candidate expresses an interest we set up an interview. Most of our interviews are done over Skype. One of the challenges of this is scheduling interviews in MANY time zones. We have had our share of confusion with this! Another challenge is the actual use of Skype, internet connections and the personalization that is lost in these type of interviews. A GREAT deal of work goes into organizing the schedule and personnel for these interviews.
Finally we do the interview, decide if the candidate is suitable for our school and community and if we think they are we set about checking references. This can take some time. Phoning a reference is a challenge so most of the time we send them via email and knowing that the references are as busy as we are we often have to wait for a while before we hear back. The entire time the clock is ticking as candidates continue to interview with other schools and receive multiple job offers.
Finally when references are received and recommendations for hire are completed we offer the jobs. At this point it is an absolute gamble. We often have such high hopes and really want specific candidates but they have many offers from other schools. Candidates have 48 hours to consider the offer, ask their final questions and make a decision. It is absolutely thrilling when we get a “yes” and demoralizing when we get a “no”. When the “no” comes it is back to the drawing board and the process starts all over again. This takes hours and hours of time and is very difficult.
We also attend a variety of international school job fairs through Search Associates and other agencies such as TORF. We would liken these to speed dating in which you have a quick interview and we decide if we like you and you decide if you like us. If we are a match we go to the next phase and work to negotiate to try and sign a contract. The challenge with this is that there are often many other schools that you are competing with all in the same place at the same time. It is truly a buyers market and teachers can virtually have their pick of any school.
So if you are interested in an adventure, want to teach in an international school that follows the IB curriculum, enjoy teaching and living in a wonderful community and are up to the mystery of discovering China than pick us. CISB is truly a great place to live and work and I am very happy that I made the decision to join this school. In my first 4 months I have learned a great deal about leadership, the IB program, my own strengths and challenges, resiliency and the wonders of China. For me it was not about the money but about an opportunity to grow and learn in a new context and I continue to do that each day.
For more information about CISB please check out our #myCISB or follow me @turnmeluce
You can also check out the following links:
On our school website: http://www.cisb.com.cn/page/detail_static.php?id=175&moduleid=9