Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post Reply
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:48 pm

Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by Candycane »

I’ve been in international teaching for over 15 years. I went though a recruiting cycle this year and I cannot believe the changes I am seeing! I do not understand the hiring patterns now nor do I understand the shift in behavior from recruiting agencies as well as recruiters themselves. Has it become this way because the market is saturated with more teachers now? Have recruiting agencies just become so profit-focused that they don’t care about quality anymore? Are schools just overwhelmed with recruiting now? Are school recruiters feeling the same as I am?

The follow experiences below lead me to ask these questions:

1-Attendance at a job fair that advertised as being “very competitive” yet there were so many inexperienced teachers without much experience (local or international). It appeared to just be one "big, overcrowded, cattle call" where the bottom line was just profit. Don't recruiters have a limited number of invites anymore? Clearly anyone with a pulse and $$ was invited. This just makes GRC more attractive for my next recruiting cycle. If GRC plays their cards right and arranges a fair in January, they can probably get a leg up here in this market?

2-A text/email blast halfway through the “competitive job fair” basically said, “Didn’t get a job here? Come to our next fair in *****!” This was in VERY poor taste!! It's clear that a group that advertises itself as having a personal touch and caring about its clients has now become blatant about their bottom line.

3-Schools ghosting teachers has become the new norm? This is never OK ... I don't care how busy you are!! Common courtesy after an interview (or two) … when a candidate thanks you for your time/consideration in an email, you should at least respond. I had two schools do this after two promising interviews at a fair (it’s been almost three weeks since our last interview/my email). Recruiters (or anyone else) should know better.

4-Has anyone considered having a couples fair first? It seems that most schools want to hire couples first so why not just have a fair for couples and get it settled first instead of trying to do all of the calculating and shuffling at once? I had three schools tell me they offered to a couple. One contacted me days later saying the couple didn’t work out and requested another interview. Another school continued to update the position and post it as open.

5-I know of more than one couple that has a substantial amount of overseas experience in reputable schools but have not secured positions yet (late January-two kids). I know of one couple where the wife has not been able to find a position for over a year now (no kids). This will be her second year unemployed while her husband has a job at a school. None of these people have bad references or any reason to not be hired. Yet, they haven’t been. Some have offered one spouse a position but not the other. Is this happening more? In the case of an opening for only one spouse, I've seen schools just put the spouse in a temporary opening just so they can hire both. Not the case with them.

6-A lot of positions still remain open. Are schools hiring later? During recruiting cycles before, it seemed that a lot of more positions were filled in January than are now.

7-One school that told me they hired someone for the position that I interviewed for continue to have the position listed as available. They have updated the opening recently. I know there could be a lot of reasons why this could happen .... I was still available when they updated the position so I questioned it.

Thanks for reading my long post and any responses you share. Even though I did find a new job, I’m unhappy with the process that I had to go through to get this position. I want to understand this shift in the recruiting process. It didn’t used to be such a Gong Show :-P

fine dude
Posts: 566
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: SE Asia

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by fine dude »

Although there has been an increase in the number of 'international' schools, there are only a handful of decent ones who pay on time and treat you well. Everyone is aiming to get their foot into one of these. So, it's still a buyers' market. The rest of them want to make a quick profit, expand, and even make bigger gains. Due to declining enrollment, there has also been a downward spiral at some established schools in SE Asia and they are pressurized to hire teacher-couples and singles.

All you could do is wait patiently, strategize, and aim for those few hidden gems who still treat educators as professionals. Networking wouldn't hurt. Lead workshops, be visible at conferences, you never know whose attention you might catch. Not to blow my own horn, but worked at a few elite schools in three continents and never attended a single fair. Always found them to be waste of time and resources.

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:39 pm

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by funteacher »

FWIW, I felt the same way. I went to a major fair and had a few good interviews and got ghosted, and a few interviews with "good" schools where the interviewer wasn't asking about anything teaching related and simply asked a bunch of personal questions. Yeah, I get that you want to learn a bit about a person, but I got the impression that supposedly good IB schools aren't remotely interested in anything other than a certain narrow type of teacher. Which is against what the IB is supposed to be. I'll probably move back to the States because while I'd ideally like to be in a good international school, I'd rather go home and work in American schools than another bad international school. I just felt like the supply outstrips the demand by such a factor that they're looking for very minor things to parse to find their ideal candidate. And if they can find someone without kids, who is roughly the same quality as someone who has them, I understand completely why they would take the people without.

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:44 am

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by Philzim »

I still don't understand the whole recruitment fair thing. Year after year we go to them(as recruiters) because we feel we have to, because we fear that the best candidates might be at the fair. At the end of each recruiting season we find that our best new hires came from direct applications from the school website, or from our network (through IB contacts, or Linkedin, etc). We vow to cry off the fairs next year, but inevitably we return - alas to no avail. This year we tried GRC, which was better than ISS, gave us a couple of good new colleagues. ISS BKK was sparse..., Sure, there are lots of candidates, but there are just not that many who have strong IB understanding + IB values + IB experience. Other schools are looking for other things.., diversity is strength etc etc.

Posts: 1186
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by sid »

We did not find the same. The candidates we picked up there had a range of IB experience, from 4 to 23 years. Not bad. We didn’t interview anyone without IB experience (though we had the option, we chose differently).
And Bangkok isn’t the big IB fair. Go to London for that one. Strangely enough, one of our London hires had no IB experience.

Posts: 1186
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by sid »

Oops, my bad. We were at Search Bangkok. Not ISS. I have no personal information on the ISS fair.

Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:11 am
Location: SE Asia

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by shadylane »

sid wrote:
> We did not find the same. The candidates we picked up there had a range of
> IB experience, from 4 to 23 years. Not bad. We didn’t interview anyone
> without IB experience (though we had the option, we chose differently).
> And Bangkok isn’t the big IB fair. Go to London for that one. Strangely
> enough, one of our London hires had no IB experience.

As a recruiter, why might one go to Search Cambridge ?

Posts: 1997
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: Why has recruiting become such a Gong Show?

Post by shadowjack »

Shadylane - some schools go to Search Cambridge because they are small, and so avoid competing with the bigger schools in Bangkok and London, simply because they can't offer the same packages and conditions. Doesn't mean they aren't good schools, just not in the same league.

Other schools go because Cambridge has more candidates who are first-time, so a greater chance that they are looking to get their foot on the ladder. As well, Cambridge has interns, which some schools like.

I can remember the days when ISS ran a Cambridge fair and you could go and get a job, and tell your director at the fair you weren't coming back.

Posts: 9824
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe


Post by PsyGuy »

Its always been a gong show and a casting couch they just put more effort into it looking civil. Now no one cares about keeping up appearances. I concur with @fine dude a lot of it can be attributed to the growth of ISs in IE, the other factor is theres been a major shift from IE as a a service of educating foreign students abroad to more a local private/independent DS thats composed mostly of host nationals.

Yes, recruiters have a limited number of invites, but there are a number of dynamics going on. The recovery from the credit/housing collapse has largely caught up to DE and IE and there are many many more ISs, a lot of third tier ISs that are well funded, using coin to compete with upper tier ISs. These ISs believe (and not wrongly) that coin talks.

I dont think GRC wants to join the peak recruiting time table and compete with the mega fairs. They ant to do there on thing on there time and give opportunities to ITs and ISs before the peak rush. Could you imagine the war cry if GRC held a fair the same weekend as SA/ISS in BKK?

They have always been about the bottom line. Premium agencies care about invoicing fees.

I dont know if its so new, but yes ghosting ITs is the norm. Youre a commodity, you dont apologize to the cow before sending it up the ramp to slaughter. What would be in it for them to do so. At best the IT is gracious about it at worst (and too often) they want to give you an earful about why they are super awesome, or they want to interrogate you about why they wernt selected. If you get pissed off about not getting a rejection notice, and you never apply to them again, its no loss to them, they ill find someone else.

ISs want to hire quality couple ITs hen the vacancy matches the couple. What they dont want to do is field a bunch of couples where one IT is valuable and the other IT has nothing to offer except maybe they took an exam and got a teaching credential somewhere have no experience and really nothing to offer. Theres too many of those couples who made themselves into a 'teaching couple' because they read that it would be good for them, and are a teaching couple in little more than name only. The former type of teaching couples and paired ISs with matching vacancies would make for a small fair otherwise.

Its the two kids, kids are cost. Its only February why swallow that pill when its still early.

Yes ISs will create a vacancy or some type of appointment for an IT who requires one for a spouse as part of a teaching couple. Thats becoming less common, theres just an increased abundance of cheap talent and many more new ISs that care about their bottom line above all else.

Yes, ISs are hiring later, theres just more opportunity to wait and capture applicants using digital tools that the pressure of later hiring isnt nearly so intense. 20 years ago youd be going bonkers if summer hit and you had vacancies, thats the second biggest fear of a recruiter (the first is the contracted IT wont get on the plane), that summer ould come and youd have staff check out and say thy arent coming back. Thats not so much a concern anymore.

They just arent interested in you.

The IB sells a product and a service, they arent a locust of SJW. Even if they were the IB and an IB IS are not the same thing. ISs are customers, and its difficult to tell customers what to do, much less what to believe in.

ITs have alays been very indistinct from one another, most of the variation in terms of recruiting considerations amounts to one factor, fit.


ISs cant compete with the higher tier and more socially desirable ISs. Its more about social desirability though, even at BOS youll see recruiters from the ME standing at an empty table with no one in sight while an IS in Brussels or Italy has a long line.

BOS attracts lower class ITs who are generally cheaper. Its hard for even the elite tier ISs in the LCSA to compete with coin from even modest ISs in Asia.

BOS was historically a super fair with ISS, than ISS shifted to other venues and dates.

Post Reply