International Schools Services (ISS), Boston, USA
February 7-11, 2010
With the advent of Skype, this fair has really become a hiring pool for new international teachers. I agree with an earlier post that there needs to be some middle ground between Bangkok and Boston…one is too early and the Boston fair seems to be too late. I also had a director bail on an agreed contract signing with only an hour to go. I don’t know how ISS can protect us from this kind of event. I reported it, but what can they do, really?
United States 2/20
As a first time administrator to the US ISS fair several recommendations appear below:
1) Hold the venue at a less expensive hotel (perhaps the recruiters and recruitees would appreciate?) The Westin is nice, however even as an administrator I could not justify with the expense over several days or multiple days away from job.
2) Utilize an electronic billboard or instant phone messaging for posting/notification of recent filled positions.
3) Have a printer available for recruitees and staff and a person in that room until 12:00 p.m.
4) For schools filling large number of positions provide them with a more public and larger space to conduct interviews.
The number of administrative positions seemed very limited. The fair catered more toward teaching positions although it was nice to have face to face interactions and interviews with actual Directors.
United States 2/18
This was my first job fair as I am just now breaking into the international arena. I found this to be a very positive experience. However, I had done much research and planning before hand, and I am 6-12 mathematics which opens many doors. The staff was friendly and helpful. It was well organized. All the directors I met with were amazing. I had many interviews and a handful of offers. I did find that schools were very interested in teaching couples and IB experience which I am neither. The future of recruiting may swing toward Skype interviews, but one good thing about large fairs is that it opens your eyes to all possibilities. I had contacted many school before hand and had an idea of some places I would want to go. When I arrived at the fair, I had numerous requests for interviews and decided to go to them all to meet and talk to directors. And of all the job offers, my top two choices that I was deciding between were not schools I had even considered before the conference. I stayed in a hotel 5 blocks away which was much cheaper, so I did not pay the high price. The one negative I did find was the sign up tables did seem a little confusing.
United States 2/14
This was my first recruiting fair and it was quite a learning experience. I was surprised by the venue to begin with. I stayed at the Westin for ease of access, but it was quite expensive. I also came on Sunday afternoon to alleviate concerns about getting in on Monday if the weather had been bad. I planned to stay all four days which meant missing four days of school, which I was loath to do. In the end, I changed my plans and returned home on Wednesday (snow day at home so I only missed two days) because I had no interviews and snow was predicted. I have read other comments about people who stayed other places, which would have been a good idea for me. The biggest eye-opener for me was way the whole process worked. It seemed to be almost all happening behind the scenes. When I arrived there were about ten jobs that I was interested in and qualified for. By the time interview sign ups began, there were none. After hours and hours of work filling out applications to individual schools, not to mention the ISS forms, putting together a portfolio etc.
I got no interviews. I received a kind note of rejection from one director, and an invitation to chat with another director, but no interviews. As an older candidate with a trailing spouse and interest in a limited geographic area, I realize I create some of these problems for myself; nonetheless, if I pursue this again I will do so by contacting specific schools on my own and not deal with any organization or attend an IRC. I agree with several posters that IRCs must surely be on the way out. I can see Skype interviews, despite some limitations, becoming more common. I could scarcely have done worse on my own than to get no interviews. And I could have saved about $2,000! (fees, hotel, airfare, etc.) I should mention that I enjoyed the half-hour school presentations. Most were very interesting and very informative, and they provided an opportunity for some networking that seemed to be absent anywhere else in the program. Overall, it was an interesting, educational, but ultimately discouraging experience.
I thought the fair was terrible. I have always attended the first ISS fair in the States and had very good jobs come of it. I left this fair with a terrible taste in my mouth and no job. By the time the fair started, the number of jobs for middle school science was down to about 10. By the time the sign-ups started, it was easily below. Some schools seemed to be unaware of what jobs were even listed on the wall behind them, and others maintained the illusion of signing people for interviews when they already had their lists of first, second, and third choice candidates written down (yes, I saw it).
I had chosen not to go to the Bangkok fair because I have heard that it is so early they only choose couples or no one. However, with this fair, it was so late (after several Search and CIS fairs), that there were very few jobs left, and many of the science jobs were given to teaching couples. I also found that there is a problem with people being pinned to one specific grade level. I could not even get an interview with a school advertising a biology position as I only have middle school experience, even though I have the educational background and certification. I do think that in the future, I will have to go with a company that has a fair somewhere between the ISS Bangkok and the first ISS state-side.
United States 2/13
This fair was organized well for the most part, although the whole idea of having the file folder system seemed a bit outdated. I found the staff to be kind and helpful, and the panel to be informative. However, in retrospect I believe that I would have probably gone to an earlier fair (ie the Search in Cambridge the prior weekend) as most jobs were filled that were advertised for weeks before this event. Those positions were filled by the time this fair started. Although they stated there were over 700 positions available, it didn’t seem like such a realistic number once sign-ups began. I am not really sure were exactly those 700 positions really were. Yes, it was obvious that you didn’t have to pay the 200 a night for hotel, I lucked out to find one for 80 per night. You would think on most teachers’ salaries that one would have no other option than to find outside options. I walked away feeling like this was a huge waste after months of research and contacts and work put into it. Those who walked away with positions were lucky, and perhaps not as choosy as some teachers had to be. It was stressed to be open to new possibilities that you hadn’t thought of before, which is fine if you are interested in going to places with travel advisories. I hope that skype does become the way to go, as I lucked out to have set up one just this week for a great school. I would have loved to have saved the 1000 or so spent for this huge waste of time, energy, and 3 personal days of school!
I just want to put my ten cents in about Skype interviews in regards to the comments made. I totally agree. I interviewed and was hired by an administrator who attended this ISS fair. I did not attend this fair, and pretty much did all of my interviewing via Skype, and it really paid off. It is a good option but just time consuming directly contacting schools for months prior.
United States 2/11
The fair was very well organized. I found it easy to locate the schools. My advance research on available jobs really helped. I was there with a “trailing spouse” and did get an offer and did sign a contract. I stayed on Newbury St. for $100 night with a full breakfast. I thought it was obvious that your accommodations were your choice.
United States 2/11
Overall I was very happy with the recruitment fair. The orientation and overseas panel discussion was very helpful. I got in line for the interview sign-ups about 15 minutes in advance and I found that I never had to wait on line for more than 5 minutes to set up an interview. I finished my sign-ups in 40 minutes and as I left, I saw much longer lines. One little quirk was that the country signs where cut off during the printing process so the first letter was often missing from the sign. That made it difficult to quickly see where you were alphabetically since you had to figure out what country you were looking at. It’s unreasonable to ask teachers to pay $200 per night. I stayed across the street at $125 per night.
I am a single science teacher without IB experience. I felt like no IB positions would touch me with a 10 foot pole. Did not even get an interview. Numerous positions were already filled but I still managed to get 7 interviews and 4 job offers. I found the staff and recruiters (excepting one) to be very kind and understanding with the need to have time to make a decision. Its a stressful experience with no time to eat, drink or go to the bathroom. By the end of the day of interviews, my mind was oatmeal.
I really think that success at this fair was highly dependent on what subject you taught and (to a lesser degree) how much of an open mind you had. I had rejected an initial request to interview only to decide later that I should at least have a conversation. It ended up being a perfect fit and I signed a contract with them.
United States 2/11
I think we are witnessing the end of an era when it comes to this style of recruitment. Many candidates I spoke with complained of the lack of “real time” information being made available both prior to the Fair and during. The cost of travel and housing for the relatively low numbers of positions especially for administrators can not be justified.
United States 2/11
The fair was very organized for candidate materials, and staff helpful. The orientation and open question panel was informative. However, the sign-ups were slightly confusing, basically 2 hours of walking around trying to figure out where the schools tables were. I was extremely disappointed at the lack of positions available, and the amount of schools that were looking for teaching couples. For me this fair was a waste of money and a huge disappointment! I lucked out to have perhaps an offer, but not at all what I had planned or been preparing for weeks for! I will never attend a fair put on by ISS again unless it is free! I feel for the teachers who paid the 200 dollars per night to stay at the conference hotel, and ended up empty handed. Teachers with “trailing spouses” either plan to dump them, or don’t bother to attend this fair.
United States 2/11
Very disappointing number of admin jobs actually still vacant by the time the event began. Many it seems had been filled with pre-interviewing tactics or at fairs that preceded this one, such as the Search Associates one the week prior. It is hard to justify paying all of the fees and expenses when so many jobs that were listed as vacancies show up as filled basically during the check in process for the fair. Very disappointing.
United States 2/10
I would agree with the 3rd review. I think recruiters and candidates with experience are hedging their bets by offering/accepting jobs before this fair. A good deal of that is being done through Skype. The Boston fair now seems to be a place where the recruiters fill positions with new teachers, inexperienced with international teaching. Understandably, schools are also looking for that ‘jigsaw’ effect to fill final positions, which often means hiring couples. It’s a business. ISS needs to do a London Fair so that there is midway between Bangkok and the massive, first time job pool in the States.
United States 2/10
The fair was very hectic, but that was because of all of the available opportunities. It was well organized, and there were over 700 positions available at the fair. I highly recommend this IRC to anyone. Interviews ranged from a half hour to an hour in length. It seemed like both couples and singles got jobs, but it was harder for ‘trailing spouses.’ If both people in the couple are teachers, they got hired pretty easily. I did know of some trailing spouse applicants that got jobs though.
United States 2/10
Many jobs were gone that were advertised beforehand. Many first time job seekers. Many times told we’re looking for teaching couples only. Not sure I would recommend this fair to others. I got the impression that administrators had either hired over SKYPE or at the Bangkok fair in December and this was that last “hurrah.”