United States 5/31
Overall, I found this fair to be disappointing. I stayed in a nice B & B hotel about 15 minutes away, for a fraction of the cost. I do not agree with Search that you need to be staying in the venue of the fair; it was a relief to get away from other candidates and recruiters, overpriced food, etc. My hotel was lovely, for 50 USD a night. The Novotel as a venue was okay; as with other comments, the candidate room was cramped. I did not stay for the social event on Saturday as I found the room to be uninviting and impersonal; okay for a set up for sign ups for interviews, but not as a social/party venue. I did have several invitations for interviews, perhaps 6. I agree with others that I think many schools and directors came to the fair shopping, and already had candidates in mind from the CIS fair previously. I found it especially offensive that schools and directors did not show up for the 2nd evening sign up session; unprofessional and rude would be the nicest thing to say re: their behavior and lack of concern for candidates who have spent anywhere from 1000 to 1500 USD to attend the fair. Even if all their positions had been filled, being available to chat/connect for future positions was the expectation given by Search. Not a bad experience overall, but I wouldn’t attend this fair again.
The fair was well-organized, but it was definitely geared towards IB candidates. I agree that most schools were “shopping”, and I got the impression that many already had candidates for positions prior to the fair. It’s always a gamble, and last year many jobs were filled in London. This year, it seems recruiters were waiting for Cambridge. Luckily, a job appeared in my area that was not on the Search database, and I was offered 2 positions in the end. But it was a disheartening experience for me. Many recruiters appeared to have the attitude that they could take their time making decisions because they had many candidates to choose from.
I was confused by the interviews I had with schools that were clearly not interested in hiring me. I would rather have them decline my expression of interest rather than waste everyone’s time.
A reply to the person who said they don’t know how singles manage at job fairs: quite well, thank you. I was satisfied with the outcome of my efforts.
I agree with comments expressed by members from Great Britain and Tanzania. I have IB experience and am single. I received several ‘expressions of interest’ slips in my mailbox and responded to the Elementary positions that most interested me. Sign-up was uncomplicated, even arriving twenty minutes after the starting time. The room was spacious, tea/coffee was available and there seemed to be little waiting time even if you did not have a recruiter invitation. This was my first Search fair and knowing that London attracts IB schools, I would attend it again. I stayed in the hotel and found the room basic however for the convenience of relaxing between interviews and kicking off the shoes after pounding the stairs it was worth it. I agree that the recruiter lounge was cramped and internet access (if you were lucky to get on-line) was haphazard. I also agree that the e-mails leading up to this fair were lengthy however if this was your first job fair the information would have been valuable. Most information expressed in the e-mails was presented again during the organizer’s presentation on Friday evening. I question waiting in the ‘registration room’ to meet an associate (of whom I did not register with) and receiving a dated CD of job vacancies with copies of documents that I had already printed. Perhaps these could have been placed in the mailboxes? What about some kind of queuing system (take a number) rather than the first person to leap to the associate’s table?
Great Britain 2/10
‘It is listed as an IB Schools fair- only schools that run some sort of IB program attend this fair. If you have no IB experience at all, it might be wiser to go to a more open-ended fair (Bangkok or Cambridge, for example) where you won’t simply be turned away for lack of IB experience.’
Wise words from Tanzania. Far to many comments here have been moaning about the London Search Fair. The fact of the matter is that it is advertised as an IB Fair, so one can expect nothing less. If you do not have the experience then you really are in no position to moan. (you took a chance – in your favour – IB profile – Risk Taker – and you lost) We are meant to be educated yet so many teachers seem to have spent loads of money and time going to the London Search Fair without having actually read the small print. If schools looked at you in scorn – perhaps you should see it from their point of view. Would you hire someone who obviously does not read instructions?
After reading the comments that other candidates left behind, I was surprised at the amount of discontent from this fair. This was my third Search Fair, and I found it was on par with all of my past, positive experiences. I thought that the detailed emails ahead of time, though wordy and daunting, were helpful in answering any and all questions that one might have about the process before going to the fair. The fair itself was well-organized, and I appreciated that when I arrived, I was given a one-on-one meeting with my assigned associate and then given his room number so that I could call for advice anytime during the fair. As it turned out, when I was dithering between offers on the last day, I went to see my associate and he was just meeting with someone else, so the associate in the room next door proactively offered to speak with me and give me his two cents. I really appreciated it.
I agree that the fair did have its’ issues: the wife was unreliable and should have been better equipped for the large crowds. Similarly, the candidates lounge was surprisingly small. As there were multiple events occurring in the hotel at the same time, I think the hotel just stuck us where they could… but another room would have helped. I was most frustrated by the cancelled school presentations, when I would show up to a room and it would just be crossed off the list, with no explanation. I had kept that slot open for a reason!
In past fairs, as a single, I have experienced the frustration of schools looking for couples as a priority. That was when I was looking to only go to schools in a developing country. It is understandable as two working teachers can then fit into one household by choice, so it saves the school money. This year, however, still single, I had no problem with schools turning me away. I found that I was able to sell my experience and expertise and got a foot in the door, and an interview, with every school that I was hoping to. I had sent all of these schools notes ahead of time, so when I approached them at sign up time, they recognized my name. I left the fair with a good amount of offers, and never felt like schools were just shopping. I do always feel bad for candidates that have an opposite experience and leave with no offers, but often schools can come back later with an offer, or they really don’t feel it’s a good match, and then you wouldn’t want to be there anyways, would you?
I would recommend this fair to other candidates, with a caveat. It is listed as an IB Schools fair- only schools that run some sort of IB program attend this fair. If you have no IB experience at all, it might be wiser to go to a more open-ended fair (Bangkok or Cambridge, for example) where you won’t simply be turned away for lack of IB experience. I think, as with most fairs, it is an intense four day process, which won’t suit every personality type when looking for a job. You have to consider how you deal under fast-paced, pressure-filled situations and then decide if these fairs are the right choice for you.
I only had to come a short distance, but I cam imagine how frustrating to was for some candidates. It was definitly a buyer’s market this year. A bit too much window shopping was being done by the schools. Many vacancies disappeared before the first sign-up session, but I know as a school even if there are 2-3 recruiters, they only have 3 days at 30 minutes with each candidate and if they have quite a few vacancies to fill, I know some pre-screening is done. I would say 50% or more of the people I knew at the fair got an offer that weekend.
Communication is always a key issue here – luckily many of the recruiters I met with did have their email on all the time, and not only checked their message box.
The Fair is beginning to outgrow the Novotel. It would be nice if it was in a larger venue, especially for the candidate lounge, but also cheaper to stay in the actual hotel. The lifts were always an issue, even in years past.
There were a good number of schools attending – 123, but they were mainly looking for those with relevant IB experience and very very few took previous similar experience into account. Seems many schools were looking to save costs on IB training and also only wanted to hire couiples. I would also say there was a lack of middle management positions, which was frustrating for those looking to move up the career ladder. And this year you mainly only interviewed with the schools which had left a note in your messgae box.
Wi-fi in the hotel was sporadic. It was best if you moved about on the second floor to get a good signal, which might be needed if you wanted to research a school on this site, or even look at the school’s own.
What I like about this fair is the number of schools going, it allows some unique opportunities to turn up. But unlike some other recruitment agencies, it seems if few of the associates have been in many of these schools in recent years and can really help you make up your mind about things, which is one of the reasons they are there.
Would I recommend this fair? Yes, but be clear in your outcomes, and what you are willing to accept.
I would like schools to be a little more forthcoming in their vacancies and in their willingness to interview good candidates without relevant IB experience.
United States 2/6
As many have already stated this was a frustrating experience. Everything was difficult. From setting up interviews to catching the elevator and even more difficult to receive any information or feedback from schools. During my five interviews the schools each mentioned that they still had to conduct their internal interviews. I would have thought that these internal interviews, of qualified teachers already a part of the school community, would have been conducted before the fair season. Guess not. The schools really didn’t seem concerned with filling their positions. If I were to do this again I might wait until the later fairs until the schools are actually interested in filling positions.
I have been to previous Job Fairs and I will say this, I WILL NOT attend this one again. I found it appalling that a company such as Search did not have updated jobs, had not inform potential teachers, that were not couples, that most schools were looking for couples or just going through the motions until they got to Cambridge. Also, that they did nothing about the very oblivious recruiting that took place by the schools in the days before the fair. I know this first hand due to a teacher I used to work with who had meet with a school in Thailand and one in Jordan to name just two and signed with the school in Thailand friday morning and had been offered by Jordan Thursday.
I found it frustrating the arrogance of some of the schools with IB and this is someone who is coming from an IB schoo,l actually one of the original 6 to be confronted with their attitude and dismissive look if you didn’t seem to fit their visual profile. Others were just rude or very obliging but almost to the point of falseness. The fact that out of the 7 schools I went to interview with I only saw 2 and one of those has failed to either give me a dear john note, as its called, or an offer which I found unprofessional. The other schools either had no longer the position or only wanted couples which should have been stated from the beginning so I did not waste my time or money.
I did not stay at the Novotel but down the street which I am grateful for. I agree with other comments that it was over priced and had a lot of problems, elevators etc.
As to the associates that we could contact I didn’t find them extremely helpful as they didn’t know the schools i wished to ask about which was an issue for me and they didn’t seem to have any inclination to find out either. It is a cushy job, how do you get it?
I meet a lot of people especially singles who where very upset with the fair and the money they had spent coming and how jobs where gone and alot, ALOT of schools only wanted couples.
Maybe they need to have a job fair for couples only
There is irony here, a school I asked to interview with in >>>> said they were only doing couples but I had a lot of PYP experience and would be great for the job however at the moment only interviewing couples. They still haven’t filled that position as it is back up, my only thought is you reap what you sow.
An overall disheartening and at times demoralizing experience that I never wish to encounter again.
You knew by day one whether or not you had a shot of getting a gig. The schools did their homework on candidates as much as the teachers did. If the schools put a slip in your box on day one, you had a chance, if they didn’t, there was a reason they didn’t. You were not what they were looking for. As a teaching couple we had two messages in our box on day one and those two ended up being the only ones interested in the end. We went up to table after table and they all seemed to know who we were because we had been promoting ourselves. Struggling as much as we could we managed up 4 interviews, 2 with the ones interested and 2 randoms. The randoms were exactly that because there was a reason they didn’t put the slip in our box. No Pyp, Myp, Ib experience. However the two that were interested went back and forth and in the end, we landed a brilliant opportunity. I feel very lucky to have gotten a job however because we worked really hard preparing and promoting ourselves. It was definitely a competitive market. We also made a good impression during the mixer on a school that wouldn’t interview us and in the end had them trying for a way to make us be part of their school, however,r we had already been in the works with the first two who showed interest.
Internet was non existent. Sign ups were very pleasant even when getting denied, as frustrating as that can be. The wait wasn’t bad ether, ether no wait or like 2-5 minutes. SEARCH does a really good job of making it fair for both recruiter and candidate and after the roller coaster ride and gamble which it was, i can say i’m glad i survived it and came out on top. My advice would be to get their early and start putting resumes or notes in boxed of schools you want on the first day. We did that and got a couple “no” answers straight away. That was good because it saved us time during sign ups. If you want a Thailand school .. good luck.. you will need it. Don’t stay at the Hotel its way too expensive, we stayed at a cheapy place across the street and saved tons. It was like a 3 minute walk so we were always close.
I agree with all the other reviews posted.
1- A number of jobs were gone upon arrival, which made it difficult to plan for many people. Only a few new positions were added last minute, but not enough to balance all the jobs that no longer were available.
2- Landing an interview was difficult and nearly impossible without IB experience. I saw teachers with many years of experience who were well qualified who were turned away simply because they did not have IB experience. Not many people walked away with many interviews. Those few schools where I did get my foot in the door all let me know they could not hire me because of my lack of IB experience.
3- Schools were definitely shopping. Not a lot of offers were being made. A number of positions that were offered at the fair have been reposted on the SA web site.
4- Internet was available on the second floor in two crowded candidate lounges. There wasn’t a REAL need for the internet/ computer, aside to review school sites. The school information was provided in books available in the candidate lounges. The large amount of traffic on the internet made it virtually impossible to get to school web sites and prepare.
5- The hotel was expensive and elevators were painfully slow. Many people ran up and down eight flights of stairs to make it to the interviews.
6- The organization of the fair was very good. Check in went smoothly. Directions were clear. Advisors were on hand for support and information. In terms of the whole logistical process there were no major glitches.
Venue was spacious but over the top expensive for quality of food and service. No electricity in my room two different days and took hours for hotel to send someone to fix it. Good location for public transport though. Fair was well organized and carried out from beginning to end. Frustrating that several of the schools I interviewed with told me at the end of the interview that they did not intend to hire at this fair but wanted to go to Cambridge fair next weekend before making a decision…that they were very interested … that I was a top candidate … blah blah blah. Many schools were only shopping at this fair but not being upfront about that in sign-up or until interview was ove,r so difficult to interpret the game playing. Associates, Deelman were available, supportive, and honest with their advice. Good people and I think can be trusted to help until a contract is signed.
United Kingdom 2/2
We had six interviews at the fair and were offered three jobs, two of which were at the top of our list. It was a grueling decision, but I suppose it is a good position to be in. We were lucky to have two great schools want to employ us. I don’t know how anyone gets a job at these things as a single applicant. I have a lot of respect for those that go this alone. As it is, there were only about a dozen schools that had matches for us. We applied to almost all of them.
London is a great city, but it is crazy expensive. I wonder if the Novotel was the best choice. It is inexplicable to me that you would have a job fair of this magnitude, in 2010, in a hotel that doesn’t offer free wi-fi in their rooms. Knowing we were going to spend a lot of time in that hotel, we spent the almost twenty dollars a day for the Internet, and even then you had to be hooked up through the Ethernet. We also starved pretty much the whole weekend. If you wanted breakfast included in your bill, you had to pay for it. Other than this, I think the fair went pretty smoothly. In the end it worked out great for us.
Apparently 124 schools were represented for about 500 candidates in the pricey Novotel London West Hotel. Most of the schools tended to be IB-oriented. There were quite a number of jobs posted, which organizers said were the most current, regardless what was indicated on the Search web site. Yet it was disconcerting to see that the expected jobs vanished by the start of the fair. This caused me to change my game plan. I heard similar reports from other teachers. In theory fairs should allow candidates to interview for positions face-to-face with recruiters, regardless of the teachers’ educational pedigree. (If one has IB training, then this was probably a good fair to find some work, provided one was not picky about where to go.) In general, I think schools were there to hire couples and specialists. (In my specialty, there were not enough jobs in the continent where I wanted to work and live.) I do not have any data about who were offered and accepted jobs.
The fair atmosphere was friendly, intense but bearable. The pre-fair communication could have been more succinct and less foreboding than it really was. The fair appeared to run smoothly, nevertheless.
There was a cornucopia of laptops, brought by candidates. Free WiFi was available only on the second floor on which the “war room” was located; the Internet service was not consistent, however. The hotel provided the latest iMacs in the lobby, which anyone could use for 20 minutes per login time. For a price, anyone could purchase a personal Internet connection from his/her room.
This fair should be relocated to a site that is more affordable for teachers and in a hotel where there are more blocked-out rooms for attendees. London may be the most expensive place to be, although there are plenty of things to see and do via the fabulous and efficient transit system. One can take the Underground directly from Heathrow Airport to the hotel roundtrip.
Final comment: it is very unethical for schools to recruit and hire candidates before any job fair. It is a financial and emotional hardship to candidates of all stripes.
As we got jobs through Search Dubai two years ago, were hopeful – especially when we saw the number of schools attending. However, most of these seemed to have only a few jobs across the whole school. We were disappointed that vacancies appeared to have vanished by the day of the fair – limiting our options (and we are core subject teachers one of us IB trained) to just two schools out of the 124 and even then one did not have jobs for both of us. We had flown a long way (as most had) for what turned out to be basically no more than one interview. The atmosphere at the fair was intimidating and stressful, although by day 2 (there is no need to stay until day 3) we had become more disheartened. Most I spoke to were not sorted out when we left. Though we were lucky enough to be offered jobs, we decided to decline them. The associates seemed friendly enough, but the two we spoke to were only able to offer tentative advice on the schools/countries and it was quite out of date. I do understand that they are caught between candidate and recruiter but there were some schools there we know have treated colleagues badly recruiting away: it’s a pity there was not more candidate swapping of info as this was an ideal opportunity to do so.
I am a single candidate who was not offered a job in London. The recruitment fair was well organized and executed. The number of openings for my field dwindled somewhat by the time I got there. Half of the schools I tried signing up for did not want to interview since I have no IB experience. Looking back a day or so later, I would say the schools were primarily shopping. They were not ready to come up to the plate as they tend to do in the June recruitment fairs. Out of the twenty or so candidates I got to know, only 3 actually got job offers and they waited to see what else would pan out. This was a good job fair to attend but I would recommend having IB experience.
I am part of a teaching couple and we left the fair without jobs. We had a few interviews and were really well prepared and can really not think of anything we would have done differently. Several of the schools we wanted to interview with and were listed as having positions for the both of us, told us at sign up that the jobs were gone, ‘Just not crossed off the list yet.’ I think this is really unfair when teachers take time off, spend money and then it’s acceptable for schools to do this. I found this fair particularly difficult as it did seem like schools were more or less ‘shopping.’ I’m not sure if other teachers felt supported, I know I didn’t. We went in with really positive attitudes and were keen to enjoy the whole process but am not sure if it has been worth all our time, energy and money.
Czech Republic 2/1
A superb albeit full on event that offered a variety of options globally. I also liked the idea of providing specialist support to Leadership Candidates applying for posts such as IB Coordinator or AP/VP/DP, etc. Very helpful support staff and smoothly conducted useful event – can totally recommend.