How can schools recruit overseas teachers?

When it comes to recruitment, there's no need to limit yourself to your local area. One experienced international headteacher gives us his insights on hiring from around the globe

Grainne Hallahan

Recruiting Teachers From Overseas

When looking for the right teacher, your search shouldn’t be confined by geography. The perfect candidate may well work in the next town but they could also be based on the other side of the globe. That means you need to cast your net as wide as possible to maximise your appeal.

So, how can you get recruitment of overseas teachers right? And what can you do to sell your school to a teacher who has the whole world to choose from?

We spoke to experienced headteacher Christopher Sammons, principal of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) to get the lowdown on recruiting from a global market. 

Look beyond subject skills and experience

Before you even think about advertising, you need to think about who you’re looking for. If you’re willing to broaden your geographical horizons, you should try to look beyond a candidate’s experience, too.

“Candidates don’t necessarily need to have prior experience,” Sammons explains.

“I’m interested in the candidate’s contribution to a school’s wider learning outcomes, beyond the examined syllabus. Extracurricular activities sit at the heart of most international schools, and we prioritise what candidates can bring to our team.”

Spread the word 

Not all teachers who respond to advertisements are actively looking (teaching is such a busy job that they don’t always have time to look). So, if you want to find the perfect teacher, you need to make it impossible for good candidates to miss your ad. 

But rather than taking a scattergun approach, Sammons suggests being more methodical.

“Most school foundations have their own application sites,” he says 

“At ESF, we have a site where potential candidates can set up alerts when new positions are posted. Our central HR team will also post in the major international teacher specialist publications such as Tes and the Australia Daily.”

Timing is (almost) everything

When you place your advert is almost as important as what it says.

Teachers will start thinking about changing schools at specific points in the academic year, and you’ll want your advertisement to coincide with their itchy feet.

“Our main recruitment window is from October to February, as a result of when our staff need to hand in their notice at our schools,” says Sammons. 

“However, there are a number of vacancies that happen at other times of the year. We rely less on recruitment fairs but do look at these if we don’t feel we have sufficient talent to select from.” 

It’s not always about the money

Salary matters, but people will always be motivated by more than just money.

“International schools package their benefits in different ways, so the overall advice would be not to try to compare posts like for like, and don’t get fixated on one small detail.

“At ESF, successful applicants receive benefits of private medical care, remission of fees for children’s education, private health insurance for medical and dental care, an interest-free loan on first arrival, passage costs, and paid hotel accommodation on first arrival, with assistance to find accommodation.”

Give the candidate more than just a job

From Sammons’ years of experience, he knows that teachers value the chance to develop and grow, both professionally and as people.  

“Of highest value [for teachers] is continuing your journey as a professional, as well as ongoing CPD opportunities that are available to develop specialist curriculum knowledge, pedagogy and leadership training,” he says.  

The staff at your school, and the children in your care, are also an important selling point.

“The biggest non-monetary benefit is the very wide range of international children we work with, and the access to new international networks of professionals,” he continues. 

“[Teaching in an international school] expands a teacher’s practice and competence beyond a national education system. Working alongside professionals from New Zealand, America, Canada, China, France and Hong Kong brings a richness of practice that no money can buy.”  

Need help finding the right staff? Check out some of our recruitment options

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