5 ways to boost recruitment in far-flung destinations

How international schools in more off-the-beaten-path locations can boost job-advert interest and recruitment
2nd February 2021, 9:30am
Craig Heaton


5 ways to boost recruitment in far-flung destinations

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Recruitment is a challenging business for any international school, even for those with good reputations, attractive compensation packages and desirable locations.

As such, it is an additional challenge for schools that don't enjoy such advantages - especially if they are based in countries that may not be top of some teachers' wishlists or perceived to have issues that make applicants think twice about applying for a job.

However, there is no reason the best and brightest cannot be hired if schools in such locations work creatively to address these issues. 

1. Understand what teachers are looking for  

Most international teachers, or teachers looking to go international for the first time, are looking for a new culture and work environment, a better work-life balance, the support to grow professionally and further their careers, and the opportunity to travel.

As such, international schools in all locations - but especially those in less obvious destinations - need to ensure they understand what teachers want and demonstrate clearly how they provide that, from the first interaction with a school website to second round interviews.

By promoting what you can offer, and ensuring it matches the professional and personal experiences teachers are seeing, you have a far better chance to attracting great candidates. 

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2. Be honest and open 

Applicants will value your being candid about the challenges of living in the country and working at your school (they will be aware of most of them anyway). 

For example, some schools in locations with petty crime have ATM machines on their campus, or those in areas of high traffic density provide teacher housing adjacent to the school. Being honest about these issues - and how you can mitigate them - is important. 

Teachers make a professional and emotional commitment to their schools and need to know that this level of commitment will be reciprocated. They will want to know they can trust the person and organisation they are to work for. 

3. Be proud of your school 

As a school leader, your visceral connection to your school and its community should be evident at all times. Do not hesitate to extol the achievements of your school and the benefits of working there. 

Candidates may not read your mission statement but they will want to know that your school is serious about teaching and learning, and that it will invest in them.

So tell them about the wonderful students, the supportive parents, the leadership team, the governors and the ICT facilities that you have. 

Teachers want to know about the positive working environment that they will experience, so do not miss the opportunity to inform them. 

4. Be proactive and a bit eclectic 

All of this will be irrelevant, though, if you do not attract candidates in the first place. As such, your recruitment approach needs to have a coherent strategy. 

After all, you will not complete your staffing requirements through one advertisement or one job fair. Rather, it will be necessary to use your website, educational websites, social review networks, job fairs, word of mouth and recruitment agencies. 

And be focused with what you choose: for example, before you commit to a job fair, speak with the organisers to determine your prospects for recruitment at the fair. 

Recruitment agencies can also be effective, but it's even better if you have established a relationship with the agency so they know your school, and can offer a service that works towards securing a best fit for school and candidate. 

5. Roll with the punches 

Finally, it is important to accept that you will lose more excellent candidates than you recruit - and your resilience will be tested. But time spent speaking with a potential candidate can be an investment in the future. 

A good impression of you and your school never fades and it is amazing how often you will meet teachers again on this wonderful journey that is international education. 

Craig Heaton is headteacher at an international school in West Africa. He has previously worked in South East Asia and is a member of the Council of British International Schools board

Tes Recruitment

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