What’s new in International School recruitment?

International school recruitment has changed significantly in recent years. The changes are primarily in:

  • Scale
  • Complexity
  • Timing
  • Pace

We look at what has driven these changes and how schools can catch up with the trends that have emerged.

Times have changed. Recruitment needs to.

How long have you been a teacher? Did you start with chalk: blackboards, or maybe greenboards. Was it a Whiteboard, or an interactive Whiteboard?

Now, thinking about recruitment, did you apply for your first job with a paper CV? Perhaps you emailed it in to a school? Maybe you filled in a form and submitted it?

If you’ve been hiring for a number of years, how many CVs have you read? Are they easy to compare, neatly formatted, comprehensive?

The reality is that, while school technologies have transformed in recent decades (smart-boards, we’re looking at you) too much recruitment is still a manual, time-consuming process.

That doesn’t work for the challenge of today’s international school recruitment.

Rapid growth in International Schools and competition for teachers. (ISC)

Scale: The need for international school teachers is accelerating

There are now more than 10,000 international schools employing more than 1/2 million staff in every corner of the globe.

Around 1 in 5 of these staff are planning to move to a new role next year. (School turnover rates vary between around 15-25%)

And over the next decade a further 300,000 teachers are needed for school expansion.

So here are the implications:

  • at this moment there are 100,000 experienced international school teachers looking for their next job.
  • in the next decade international schools will need to hire 300,000 from current ‘local’ education systems (often UK, US, Canada, Aus, NZ).

How can your school reach the best possible candidates in the most efficient way?

100,000 International School teachers are looking for a new job next year

Any recruitment solution that is merely local, email-based, trading in paper CVs cannot cope with this demand.

For your schools to find, attract, and recruit the best candidates, you need to be using a different solution.

Complexity: it is increasingly complex to hire teachers

With scale comes complexity. International Schools are, obviously, global. Staff can come from almost anywhere and teach almost anywhere. But each individual is different: experience, curricula, age, family structure, passport, marital status, right-to-work, background checks.

On top of this, each country is different with different requirements on who can get work visas and in which circumstances. Simply looking at background checks is complex enough – as evidenced by this 179 page guide from the Council of International Schools.

We’ve seen the impact that this can have on recruitment staff and timings. It’s possible that a school and candidate start initial discussions only for the final negotiations to fall down over something simple. We understand the complexity. It’s virtually impossible for an old-fashioned paper-based recruitment solution to filter and check all of these facts.

The bizarre issue is that many of the other processes in schools have been transformed by technology: from managing scheduling rosters, timetables for each child, personalised parent communications.

However, too many recruitment approaches are stuck in the 100 year old model: advertise – apply – recruit.

Recruitment needs a new process, not simply a website

Timing: teacher recruitment is happening earlier each year

Over recent years we have seen that recruitment timelines are getting earlier and earlier. Where it used to be the case that many northern hemisphere schools would start recruitment in the first quarter of the year, the race for great candidates means that schools now start recruiting in the first term of the year.

Schools are trying to outdo each other to get access to the best candidates: so they have to start sooner.

The reality is that school recruitment is moving to an always-on approach.

I am sure that if you have a school careers page, you get interest and speculative applications all year. How do you handle them? Does your email system have one of those dreaded auto-replies, “As we receive so many applications we can only reply to you if you are successful.”

Unfortunately most schools are not considering their recruitment all year round. Recent research (here) shows that only a third of school heads claim to have a year-round recruitment presence. This is despite the fact that the majority of teachers start their job search at least half a year in advance.

Schools who recruit have in the past been constrained by time and by money.

Time: your recruitment and HR teams don’t necessarily have the time to be reviewing speculative candidate applications throughout the year.

Money: if you want to promote your vacancies online or at face-to-face events then you can only afford a limited amount of appearances due to the traditional pay-per-item charging.

We’ve spoken to small groups of schools who have been spending more than US$100,000 a year on recruitment costs. Not on staff salaries or benefits. But 100k on paying agencies, and associated recruitment fees. To us this seems incredible when there are smarter, simpler, cheaper ways to hire great staff.

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The problem is that most recruitment processes are stuck in the past

It's time for an always on solution. Remove advertising fees. Remove per-candidate hiring fees. Use smart matching to connect with suitable candidates only.
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Pace: schools need to move fast to attract the best candidates

If a candidate is looking for a new teaching or leadership job, they have 10,000 potential international schools to reach. If you are hiring, there is a potential pool of 1/2 million international school teachers. No one can find, filter, and contact the right people fast enough to compete for talent.

It’s time to move to digital solutions that work faster than even the best CV-reading brain! The best digital solutions have vacancy and candidate tracking, comprehensive candidate profiles with references, photos and videos, saved talent pools, and one-click access to request an interview.

Compare this with the old-fashioned methods: wading through individual CVs, trying to get past recruiter gate-keepers, or having to schedule interviews on someone else’s terms.

In today’s digital world, schools must evolve how they hire – or risk getting left behind.

Dr. Kevin J. Ruth, Executive Director, Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS) asked for his "biggest piece of advice for school leaders who feel their recruitment strategy is inadequate"

Hire faster and smarter

You need an always-on, low cost, smart recruitment solution.

We’ve designed Searchality to fit this modern need. (Read more here about how we started).

Set up your account, free, and test us. We’re fast. Our record so far is 45 minutes: a school created their profile and listed their job requirements. 45 minutes later they had already been sent digital profiles of suitable candidates and had emailed all of them to set up interviews.

45 minutes to find candidates. Start here!


The smarter, simpler approach to hiring

We’ve designed Searchality to make the search for a new school job much simpler, faster, and better. If you’re looking for your next role, read more about how we help candidates.

For schools, Searchality helps find the best global talent for international school jobs worldwide. Read more about how we’ve transformed recruitment for schools.

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