Hong Kong 3/1
I think someone’s perception of any job fair is obviously dependent on the number of interviews they secured and if they received any offers that they found interesting. We do need to keep in mind that this is a very early fair, so recruiters are not “pressed” to offer contracts. They only offer something if you are a perfect fit and have all the qualifications that they are looking for. Some people commented on children – yet we never encountered any issues in this regards. Not a single recruiter asked about our family and never blinked twice when they knew we had a daughter. We are both experienced international teachers with IB experience – and that is what Search Associates warns everyone about. We had 7 interviews with very good schools and received 3 offers from our first 3 interviews, so I have no bad feelings about this fair, other than the fact that it is a very expensive hotel.
Well organized, friendly support, 100+- schools, 400+ candidates, many schools had already pre screened people, so when i sat down to set interview time they refused to even see me, a waste of a flight and my time.
We are told that this is a competitive fair and should be ready for some competition and disappointment. This year, all the teachers I met in my “department” (Languages) got job offers. This is an improvement from previous years, when schools would usually interview you and wait for the Search London to make a decision. I had a real feeling of ‘this is a teachers’ market’ this year. Search people were great: available when needed, helpful. Having free Internet in the rooms was essential, you always need to double check a school that makes you an offer, one you didn’t think about, new postings, etc.
The location could be better: it’s not that you have much time to do things other than ‘looking for a job’, but with the Bgk traffic, it’s hard to go places, and there’s not much to do around the hotel (a bit “off centered”). Now, the Sheraton is a major improvement from the first hotel where the Fair took place the first year (I found myself in an elevator, looking very “I mean business”, having a chat with a recruiter… and we were surrounded by sweaty tourists in shorts and tank tops: the whole fair had a flair of not so professional!)
Cost?: I’d say do not try it if you are not in Asia. If you are in North America, Africa or Europe and think you have the pedigree it takes to get a job in Bangkok, contact the schools before the fair and secure a job on Skype!
United States 2/10
Organization was fine, but if you ask me, this is a sucker’s bet, and I wouldn’t attend ever again. I’ve got a child and had to stay in the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel. What are these people (organizers and recruiters) thinking staying in a $200/night hotel while interviewing for jobs that occasionally allow teachers to save $5-$10k a year? Coming from Beijing, the trip cost me upwards of $3k (for myself, wife & daughter) and earned us a total of 4 interviews with schools that weren’t really that interested. I disagree with the statement that experienced teaching couples with MYP/IP experience did well. No teachers I spoke with did well at this fair except one single male physics teacher with tons of experience. This is a great fair if you are a recruiter–your school pays for you to stay in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok for a long weekend–but for everybody else, here is my message: Take your $3k and put it on a roulette wheel someplace, you’ve a better chance of success. It’s more nerve-racking to wait till the Cambridge Search Fair, but I really felt like a fool after Bangkok.
My wife and I attended this fair. We are both experienced IB teachers in core subjects but had that feature that makes many a school director roll their eyes in horror – children. Am I alone in thinking there is something deeply hypocritical about administrators who go all dewey eyed at presentations talking about the world’s wonderful youth then turn down flat anybody who has the temerity to produce any of these precious darlings? We had a number of interviews but looking back I don’t think anyone of the recruiters we saw was sincere. One school said they would get back to us but never did and when I went to put a note in their folder learned they had already left the conference. Whatever happened to good old fashioned manners? It seems some interviewers don’t have any. Couldn’t the sign up session be done somehow electronically so that candidates know who they are interviewing before the fair? We waited in some slow moving lines before giving up on a couple of schools. Personally I will be pleased when these fairs are abolished and we do all interviews via skype. It is cheaper and more efficient to candidates but won’t serve the interests of Search Managers and school administrators who enjoy being away from school for months at a time, piling up their air miles. It probably will therefore never happen.
United Arab Emirates 2/2
I agree with the comments that this is a fair that favors couples and hard-to-fill positions. It is definitely highly competitive and, in my opinion, too early as many schools are advertising for positions that will be tentative for another month. I am a single elementary teacher and while I secured 8 interviews, I wasn’t offered a position. I know I have strong references, experience and interviewing skills, yet I was told things like, “We need to hire more couples,” and, “We’re going to keep looking at the fairs for the perfect match.” The combination of the current sour economy and the desire of school directors to get as many frequent flyer miles as possible going to Boston, London and Bangkok when they only have four positions to fill did not work out well for my situation. I heard of many couples getting offers. The fair was well organized, but the advice I got from my Search representative was ridiculous. It makes me wonder what I’m paying for.
This was the first fair that we have been to and found it an exciting and busy three days. We thought it was well organized and run by both the Search and Royal Orchid Sheraton teams. The venue was well suited for the fair and, as mentioned, the availability of wifi was much appreciated. There were cheaper hotel options nearby but we found that staying on site enabled us to schedule meetings in between interviews in order to network and gather valuable advice. The majority of schools were from the Asia and Middle East region, however there were still some schools from Europe there too. We were lucky enough to be considered reasonably strong candidates and had several requests for interviews prior to the fair. We tried to accommodate as many school’s requests as possible and, as we were told might happen, a couple of schools that we didn’t consider beforehand came out of nowhere and interested us. The sign up session was fine, we had a list of schools that we wanted to see and went to see them first. We did find that there were some schools that we went to see later on in the session only to discover that they had already packed up shop. This is understandable, though, as they obviously already had a list of interview candidates signed up and didn’t want to waste their time hanging around. We were not allocated specific time allowances for interviews – 45mins was usually enough although in a few interviews we spent more time than that. We received offers so some schools were definitely looking to hire. As mentioned in previous reviews, this is an early fair which makes it quite competitive as schools know they still have plenty of time to hire. Teaching couples with no children and IB experience were popular. Based on our experience, we would recommend this fair for experienced international teachers.
The Infamous Search Associates Early Bangkok Fair. If you are an ultra experienced hot-shot, useful teaching couple, somebody with something truly unusual and desirable to bring to the table, or an IB/MYP veteran, then this is the fair to hit. If you are a beginner, have a non working spouse or dependents, or have no IB/MYP experience, then, well, you’d better have a very nice smile.
“Top tier” (man, don’t we love that term) schools are front and center, but they are finicky and smug at this point, as they know it is early and they have the upper hand. Remember, some recruiters (school heads and some lesser admins) are scheduled to attend multiple fairs to fill what may actually be a handful of openings, real or imagined. Bangkok is early. No rush for them. There’s still a lot of miles for them to frequently fly and hotel points to accumulate. You may end up with more complimentary glossy brochures than interview requests or offers. I ended up with six interviews (two were scheduled prior to the fair).
I don’t care what anybody says, The sign up session is ridiculous. Far too short an amount of time in relation to the ground that a candidate must cover. And, yes, many schools were conducting mini-interviews at the tables while a queue of sweating suckers all checked their (our!) watches and tried to keep smiling. Search harangued the candidates (albeit politely) to keep it quick and snappy at the sign ups. Pass that same advice along to the recruiters and then we may have a workable situation in the future.
The Associates themselves are helpful, I suppose. If you ask for any actual advice, insights, meaningful data about particular schools or their representatives, you become a hot potato and are directed from one associate to another (who can never be found), or you get the boilerplate “yes, that’s a good school” treatment. Also, echoing an earlier poster, The ISS fair immediately prior was a serious detriment. Jobs do disappear, but rarely do they appear. Remember that Search Associates “helps” you get a job by providing you with 1) information and 2) access. They are not going to pound the proverbial pavement or “hook you up” like a matchmaker. Remember: Info and access. The rest is up to you. This is well illustrated at the fair
The Sheraton is fantastic. Facilities were first rate and the ample computer/internet stations (kudos to Search or The Sheraton, whoever provided this) were invaluable. Still, thinking about what I spent to stay there, I wish I had lodged down the street at the cheaper spot.
No, I was not made an offer at the fair. Yes, I have since been made several, most from TIE/SKYPE. Makes you think.
Very competitive and schools had their pick of the litter so to speak. Search did not really provide support for candidates without their associates there. Of course they said “you can talk to any of us” but nobody EVER checked in with candidates or offered unsolicited advice. Overall, the schools that were there were top-notch so you can’t expect to leave with a job. It is true that the ISS fair beforehand really hurt. I had several jobs disappear and none that “suddenly appeared” as Search loves to say. On a scale of 1-10 this fair was about a 6. I’m sure if I had accepted a position I would give it a higher mark, so this is clearly my personal experience influencing my position. There were some candidates who got zero interviews!
Oregon, USA 1/21
I find the entire SEARCH organization unprofessional and only interested in getting that placement fee out of your hands. My husband and I did not have any associate assigned to us and we got our job without any assistance from anyone at SEARCH. Nonetheless, they still wanted their $600 placement feel. I would never go to another SEARCH fair, even if they were the only game in town.
Well done again Search Associates. The complaint about some recruiters taking a bit too long at the interview sign up was true but others seemed to have it down like clockwork. The internet offered in the room was unbelievably important in researching schools that suddenly came on the radar. When one Search team member was not available, another would be happy to talk and listen. They were honest with people about the competitive nature of this fair. People seemed to be leaving early because they had secured offers as Search was careful about screening candidates who might potentially be offered slots. There were lots of good vibes and happy people and an understanding that meeting people on your ‘top choice list’ now might not mean a position with them next year, but it may be a chance for them to remember you for a future slot. Singles with dependents had a tough time but every couple we met got offers. We had 14 interview requests. We did 3 interviews and had 2 offers
I was not at all enthusiastic about this fair before I attended. In fact, I had told many people that I would not be surprised if I left without a job. I was totally prepared to attend the Cambridge fair in February.
Organization was flawless and the Royal Orchid was spacious enough to host without feeling crowded.
I am a special education teacher with 14 years experience (no dependents, 6 years overseas experience) and had more than 15 interview requests waiting for me when I got there! I got to pick and choose from many GREAT schools to interview with (IS Manila, Jakarta IS, Yokohama, Bangkok Patana, Am School Bombay, Canadian School HK, Taipei American School).
Event sponsors were available, friendly, and very willing to help with any questions.
WiFi was available in the candidate lounge and sufficient. We also got free internet in our rooms.
Time allotted to schedule interviews was fine (then again, I had requests for interviews in almost all schools I was interested in).
Schools were definitely hiring as myself and my friend (both of us single) had 2 offers each. I expected schools to tell me they would offer to couples first; however, none of them did tell me that. My friend had 2 schools tell her that though. I think this fair might be more difficult for elementary or general subject teachers??????
I would definitely recommend this fair to other candidates; however, they need to realize that this fair is VERY competitive and if you are not a definite good fit, you may be put on the back burner.
I loved this fair because there were a lot of openings for me (many more than were on the Search site before the fair).
I wouldn’t change anything.
Yes, it was expensive, but I had planned for it and enjoyed it thoroughly! I found the environment great for a professional recruiting fair.
I left the fair with 2 offers and accepted one of them. Both of them were top notch schools!!
The organization of the fair was pretty good except for one part which was the sign up potion of the job fair. During this time some recruiters conducted mini interviews instead of just signing up candidates for interviews. Also, there should have been two lines for each school. One line for individuals that had invitations to sign up for an interview and the other line for candidates that did not have an invitation. There were lots of jobs at this fair, however many jobs were filled at ISS which was taking place during the same time period. As a teaching couple we had 8 interviews that we signed up for and attended 6 of these interviews and were made 2 offers. Good luck to all candidates! One piece of advice, if you really want a school, give them a good chase, make them feel like you want them by phone calls and lots of notes.
The fair was well organized. However there was a bias towards hiring couples who were both teachers, singles and a preference for those without dependents. Many schools noted they already had candidates that were selected earlier and were going to visit the school. I think there are many more fairs later and one can wait for those.
The organization was good, as far as the Search Associates fairs go. The support staff was very helpful and kind when people approached with inquiries. It seems like there were a fair number of jobs for candidates. I was applying for an admin position as a first-time administrator, and I managed to secure four interviews and two offers. I accepted one offer, which was very good.The venue was great. The Royal Orchid is a very nice hotel and the staff is top notch. The only problem was waiting for the elevators to go up and meet with recruiters, but this always seems to be an issue at job fairs (was certainly the case in Cambridge, MA). The hotel provided free wi-fi access to all candidates.
During the sign-ups from 9:00am to 11:00am (admin candidates came in at 9:00, teaching candidates at 9:30), some of the queues were quite long. In that time, I managed to talk with about 12 schools and sign-up for six interviews (one of which was canceled before we met). I wanted to drop off my CV with two school during sign-ups, but did not have enough time (they were my two bottom choices, though).
Schools were definitely hiring. I would recommend this fair to people wanting to work in Asia and the Middle East. You should note that since this is one of the earlier fairs, it is very competitive, so be sure you don’t get discourages by refusals. Take the opportunity to dialogue with recruiters to see what you need to do to improve your CV.