February welcomes the major international job fairs to several locations in the USA and Canada, where 300-400 international schools will be seeking over 1,000 new educators for their staffs. For the candidates attending Search Associates, ISS, Queens College, or the University of Northern Iowa job fairs, the experience can be exciting, and even exhilarating. At the same time it can be confusing and disappointing for some.
Here are potentially the most disconcerting possibilities a candidate might face at one of these well-run, exciting events:
1) There have already been several fairs in London and various Asian cities, as well as considerable online recruitment be many schools. As a result the job you had your eye on, or even several you hoped to get interviewed for, may have already been filled by the time you get to the job fair.
2) For the very popular school sites (Western Europe and some Asian cities), the interview schedule for the school’s recruiter may be filled very quickly, and before you get to sign up. For some schools, there are long lines in the opening session when quick interviews may or may not lead to getting a full and serious interview.
3) And if you do get a full interview, chance and luck may place you as one among many excellent choices for a given school and position.
4) Increasingly, many schools who do make an offer expect, and may even insist on a very quick response. You may want to complete your interview schedule, but you could be required to reject an offer to do so.
5) If you are fortunate enough to experience the euphoria of multiple job offers, you may face some serious indecision or doubts, and you may not be granted the time to resolve them.
The best way to prepare for these contingencies is this: Do not got to the fair with a fixed or limited idea of where the best job prospect for you might be. Do seek to get an offer only in the countries and from the schools you have targeted. But be open to the many other interesting possibilities that could easily present themselves at these fine job fairs.
For example, in your free time, attend as many of the school introductory sessions as you can. Many happy educators have ended up in schools and countries they never considered before the fair.
Above all, be open-minded, flexible and positive. This experience, if used properly, can lead to a sound understanding of what international schools are all about, as well as one or more concrete offers. And if that doesn’t happen at the fair, stay in the game through www.tieonline.com and other sites, as no fair accommodates even the majority of international schools with openings this year.
And please remember: if you accept a position (even verbally) offered by a school, reneging on that acceptance could seriously damage you reputation. Be careful not to get so caught up in the “fever” of the fair that you agree to an assignment for which you are doubtful or unsure.