I am applying to teach overseas for the 2008/2009 school year with a friend of mine as a teaching team. We are all set to go to an international recruiting fair early next month to interview with a couple choice schools. However, we have a few other schools in mind that are not attending the fair. These other schools are still in the process of looking at applicants, establishing vacancies, and to my understanding, will not call for interviews until late next month or in March. The positions open at these other schools are actually more favorable to us than the ones at the schools attending the fair. If given the choice, we would rather accept the positions with the schools that are not yet interviewing than the schools at the recruiting fair.
I have been told by the recruiting fair directors that contracts can be offered on the spot at these fairs and that employers expect an answer before the fair concludes.
My questions are:
What should we do if we are offered jobs at the fair when we are actually still waiting to hear from the other schools?
Dr. Spilchuk – I do understand your dilemma but must advise you that ethical behavior dictates you do not accept a position with any school at the conference. Should you go so far as to deceive a school, leading them to believe you will fulfill your contract and then fail to show up you deserve to be blackballed from attending another recruiting fair or applying to teach at any international school in the future.
Is it too terribly risky to turn down a job when we aren’t completely sure that the other schools will hire us or even have our positions still available?
Dr. Spilchuk – Our advice to you is to go to the conference and if you are offered a job that appeals to you, take it! Forget about schools continuing to deliberate while other schools are snapping up candidates from the available, but rapidly dwindling, pool.
Is it appropriate to tell employers that we are considering other positions?
Dr. Spilchuk – I don’t think you need to do that as It places the recruiter in a defensive position. In addition if I were the director and knew you would leave the conference without accepting a position I would not want to take the time to interview you, knowing all the while someone else may be interviewing a qualified candidate I could hire. If you are offered a position and you still want to wait then you are morally obligated to tell the recruiter exactly what you are doing.
How important is it to jump at the first job given?
Dr. Spilchuk – Not important at all, particularly if you have not had a chance to research the school offering. Check out the problems our members have gotten into by doing just that.
Should we accept and sign the contract offered at the fair and then if something else comes up, find a way to get out of it?
Dr. Spilchuk – It’s one thing to go to a school and be treated unethically and break your contract for self preservation reasons. It’s an entirely different thing to keep a school hanging and then drop them to satisfy your own selfish ends. I’m certain you understand the consequences of this for both you and the school.