Please click on any of the headings below to access the list of questions and answers associated with that particular heading.
Why register with Search Associates?
- We care about each and every candidate.
- An Associate helps you personally through the entire process and gives you as little or as much attention as you request.
- We are well known for our personal attention and ongoing support.
- We have a great deal of knowledge and experience of hundreds of good international schools.
- We are highly respected in the international school community.
- Our databases are extremely helpful to candidates in the job-hunting process, and offer an equally invaluable service to schools in their efforts to find good candidates.
- Our job fairs are particularly effective in matching good teachers with good schools as we keep them small and focused, so that we can better assist those candidates and schools that attend.
Jobs are not guaranteed. Much of your success will depend on your willingness to teach at any location, your subject area and the strength of your file. Roughly 70% of the candidates who complete a file will eventually secure a job. About 60% of those individuals will do so through attending one or more job fairs. The remaining 40% will secure positions by using the database and connecting with schools.
Can I choose the overseas destination I will go to?
As a candidate you are completely in control of which schools you apply to. Interviews and offers may come from schools in unexpected countries, and you may not get interviews in your country of choice. Your Associate will be available for advice and counsel throughout the entire process. We always encourage candidates to be open to all areas of the world in order to increase their chances of getting at least one good job offer.
Do you search for a position for me and put me into contact with schools?
Once your profile is active, it is your responsibility to search the database for openings and contact schools directly. You will receive daily emails informing you of openings when schools post them (which means that the system is searching for positions that match your preferences and notifying you immediately). You are the best person to know if a school might be of interest to you, so research the position well. Your Associate will always be available to answer any questions you may have about a school and to support you in your search. Similarly, recruiters will be searching the database to look for candidates that fit their hiring needs and may contact you directly to ask if you are interested.
Does Search Associates assign me to a specific school?
Search Associates does NOT assign candidates to schools. Our purpose is to connect candidates and international schools through an online database, job fairs and the collective and individual contacts of our Senior Associates. As a candidate, your profile will be available to schools searching to fill a position(s), and similarly you as a candidate will be able to view a school profile, search for vacancies and contact schools. Candidates and recruiters also connect at our job fairs. However, all job offers depend on the strength of your file, your confidential references, your ability to interview, and your flexibility as to the type of school and location you find attractive.
Does Search Associates help candidates looking for Counseling positions?
Yes! There is always a need for outstanding counselors with primary or secondary school experience. Typically, an International School will have one counselor per division: Elementary, Middle and High School. A larger school may well have more than one counselor, particularly at the High School level. In this case, a school may well require experience in college counseling in addition to academic and personal counseling.
In some countries, schools will hire school psychologists. If you are a school psychologist with good experience, and would feel comfortable in the counseling role, you should definitely consider applying.
Does Search Associates help Language-School Teachers?
Not in general. Although a few English language schools are starting to join Search Associates, we work almost entirely with 'mainstream' international schools which have English as their main language of instruction (for example, those schools serving children in the age range of 3-19 and teaching those subjects usually found in schools in the developed English-speaking countries). Most international schools do have some ESL/EFL specialist teachers, but candidates for these positions normally have prior teaching experience in similar 'mainstream' schools, whether home-country or international.
I am moving to one specific country (or one city or targeting one school) and cannot be available for a range of opportunities in varied locations. Can you help me find a position there?
If you are targeting one school, one city, or one country (with very few schools), you might try your luck in contacting them directly before applying with Search Associates. However, a benefit of registering with us is that you won’t have to ask your referees to submit letters of reference to more than one school (as they will be in our database), and you will probably save yourself time as well. Also, if the school is a member of Search Associates, your file is likely to rise to the top of hundreds of random emails the school receives from candidates because your file will be readily accessible through Search Associates and we are well respected in the international education community. That being said, it will be extremely difficult to find a position with such a narrow search and most Associates will encourage you to be more flexible.
I just want to be placed in "X" country in Europe -- what are my odds?
While over 100 schools in Europe are registered with us, they represent only 15% of our total member schools. Many teachers considering working abroad think first of Europe, so the positions are very competitive. There is also difficulty for non-EU (European Union) citizens to obtain visas/work permits. Therefore, we encourage you to keep yourself open to other areas of the world in order to increase your chances of securing a position abroad. Unless there are truly compelling reasons for a self-imposed geographic restriction, it is unlikely that Search Associates will accept a candidate with a "one-country," or even a "one-region," restriction.
Once I am registered, how does an employer receive and review my information?
Schools can search the database for candidates and their profiles, which include the information contained in the online application, the biographical notes, and the confidential references.
Candidates who contact schools should always identify themselves as Search candidates, so that schools can then view their profiles in the Search Associates database. Candidates should also contact any schools listing openings of interest, and always keep the Associate in the loop about developments.
Where is the main office of Search Associates?
Search Associates is a highly developed network rather than a centralized company. Each individual Associate operates independently, working with his or her candidates and in some cases, running one or more fairs. Nonetheless, there is a high degree of cooperation and communication among all the Associates working as a team to assist Search candidates.
Our offices are wherever an Associate happens to be with a laptop! Our real offices do look like real offices, though, and Search Associates has an Executive Management Committee which manages the company. Members of the EMC are Jim Ambrose, Jessica Magagna and David Cope. Feel free to contact any of these Associates with questions about our organization, or contact our company Executive Administrative Assistant Melinda Williams. Please click on “meet our team” for contact information.
Who has a better chance of getting a job, a Science or an English teacher?
Teachers in specialist fields have the best chances of success due to a smaller teacher supply in relation to the number of jobs. Specialist areas include: music, art, library, early childhood, science and mathematics, and advanced level teachers (such as IB Diploma, AP, GCE A-Level). Specialists do have an advantage over English and ESL teachers, fields in which the supply is large, but schools are always looking for outstanding teachers in all areas.
What is an intern position and who qualifies as an intern candidate?
Intern positions are available for graduating seniors and recent college graduates who are looking to gain some experience in the classroom. Interns usually have no teaching certification/qualifications and little or no teaching experience. These are paid positions with the same benefits given to teaching candidates, such as housing, round trip airfare and more. If you would like more information regarding intern positions, and/or whether you would qualify as an intern candidate, please contact our Intern Coordinator, Diana Kerry.
Do Head of School/Superintendent candidates have to register with Search Associates?
Head of School candidates may register with Search Associates. However, if you are only looking for a Head of School position, it is not necessary to become a registered active candidate. We would encourage you to view Head of Schools openings on the Administrative Openings page of our web site. These positions are open to all candidates whether fully registered with Search Associates or not. Click on the school and you can view details about the position and the application procedure.
It is important to know that Administrative positions are very competitive, in particular, Head of School positions. In addition, many job openings have early deadlines ranging from October-December so it is important to begin your search as early as possible.
Do Principal / Leadership position candidates have to register with Search Associates?
Jobs are posted on the Administrative Openings section of our website that are open to both registered and non-registered administrators, as are Head of School searches. Please click on the particular school for details about the opening and the application procedure.
Additional administrative postings that are available only to candidates who are fully registered and active in our database are also available. Prospective candidates wishing to attend one of our job fairs need to be fully registered in order to receive an invitation.
It is important to know that Administrative positions are very competitive. Many job openings often have early deadlines ranging from October-December, so it is vital to begin your search as early as possible.
How do I become a fully registered candidate with Search Associates?
In order to become a fully registered and active candidate with Search Associates, you will need to complete all of the following requirements before we can activate your profile in our database and extend you an invitation to a job fair:
- Complete and submit your online application. This is the first step in becoming an active candidate with Search Associates. Once your application is fully completed, your Associate will review and contact you with further instructions.
- Acceptance of Search Associates agreement with candidates. You will be asked to carefully read, sign and submit an agreement with Search Associates which will be provided during the application process. The agreement will also be available on your candidate dashboard once you create a log-in account.
- Completion of Confidential Questions. You will be asked to complete a series of confidential questions that will only be seen by your Associate. The confidential questions will be provided during the application process and will also available on your candidate dashboard page once you create a log-in account.
- Online Confidential References. Search Associates requires a minimum of four online confidential references to be completed by your referees. Detailed information regarding these references will be found on your candidate dashboard page once you have successfully submitted your online application, and will also be provided by your Associate.
- Send Registration Fee (Database User Fee). Your registration fee should be sent directly to your Associate (Exception: UK Office) and must be received before we can activate your profile. We encourage you to send this fee early in the application process. Your Associate will provide instructions for payment once your online application has been completed and successfully submitted.
What if my original Associate is no longer affiliated with the organization?
If your original Associate is no longer with Search Associates, you should register with the Senior Associate working in the area in which you currently reside. If there is no Associate assigned to your geographical area, you can choose the Associate who organizes the fair you wish to attend. However, before completing a new online application form, you should first try to access your previous account by clicking on "retrieve username/password" found on the login section on the home page and follow the instructions from there.
How long will it take for me to become a registered candidate once I complete the application ?
Much of this depends on you and your referees. The application can be completed at your leisure as you can save changes at any time and go back and continue your work. If you choose to complete the application all at once, it should not take more than 30 minutes as long as you have all of the information you need readily available. The longest part of the process is waiting for your referees to complete the online confidential references. Some referees complete the forms quickly but others take much longer. On average, it may take a few weeks but can certainly be done sooner. If you are interested in attending one of the earlier job fairs
, we encourage you to start the process well
before the start date of the fair.
How much contact will I have with my Associate?
As much or as little contact as you require. While most candidates are comfortable with the electronic registration process and independently using the database to connect with schools to secure jobs, some candidates communicate frequently with their Associates (via email, Skype, telephone, and sometimes in person) throughout the process. We are always here to support you and are just an email or phone call away. In addition, we do our best to respond to your communication by the end of the following business day if not sooner! We are never far from our laptops, no matter where we are.
If I registered with Search Associates many years ago, why do I have to register again with the same Associate?
Registering with the original Associate is the standard company practice. Your original Associate has your paper file and might have established a professional relationship with you. However, our priority is to provide quality service. Should you have compelling reasons to switch to another Associate, please discuss this with your original Associate, who can transfer your file if everyone is in agreement.
Once I have registered, how long can I remain on the active list?
Your registration period with Search Associates lasts for three years, or until you find a job (whether through us or not),
whichever comes first. If you are not “actively” looking for a position within those three years or are under contract, we will temporarily move your file to our archive status until you are available and looking for a position again.
What is the best timing for the job search process?
Vacancies occur throughout the year, and it is possible to secure a position at any time. However, to have an opportunity to apply for the greatest number of positions that are suitable for you, you should try to follow this schedule:
August: Complete your application and be accepted for registration a full year before you would begin employment at most international schools. For example, if you are looking for a position for the 2013 - 2014 school year, you should start the registration process roughly in August 2012.
September: Use the Search website to familiarize yourself with the database and to start receiving email notifications as jobs become available. Contact your Associate to request an invitation to one of our job fairs. Attendance at fairs is by invitation only.
October: Be sure your CV/resume is both up-to-date and professional. You will need give recruiters a copy if/when you attend a job fair. While a portfolio is optional, some candidates bring one to a fair, and many are now placing a link to online portfolios in their email messages. Again, this is not something you must have, but could if you have the time and the technical ability to do so!
November: Keep contacting schools of interest. Prepare to attend one of our job fairs that is appropriate for you, based on your Associate's advice. Continue to communicate with schools!
Moving Forward: Think of the job search as a process that will probably take months, not a single event like a fair or interview. Perseverance and flexibility will lead to a position that is right for you.
Will I become a fully registered candidate when I complete the online application?
No, the online application is just the first step. You need to have at least four online references submitted to us confidentially by your chosen referees. You will also need to agree to and submit the Search Associates agreement, and send in our database user/registration fee (exception U.K office). You will receive detailed instructions from your personal Associate once your online application has been successfully submitted. Please look at " How do I become a fully registered candidate with Search Associates" for more detailed information about the registration process.
With which specific Associate should I register?
Every Senior Associate works with the 600+ international schools registered with Search Associates, and every Senior Associate works with all types of candidates. If you've never been registered with Search Associates before, your choice of Associate should first be based on where you live, as each Associate represents a specific “territory.” If you are living outside the territories listed, you can choose your Associate by the job fair you may want to attend. College seniors and recent college graduates seeking paid internships should apply to the Intern Coordinator. If you have registered with us in the past, you must re-register with the same Senior Associate as before, or seek that Associate's permission to change if you feel that a switch is appropriate. Specific guidelines for selecting an Associate will be available when you “get started”.
Is there a fee to become a Search candidate?
We charge a modest database user fee/registration fee of $225.00 for teachers (exception U.K office), and $100 for interns. Search Associate candidates appreciate the low fees in comparison to those of other organizations, especially as this fee covers a period of three years (or until a candidate accepts an offer, whether obtained through Search Associates or other means, whichever comes first).
This registration fee also includes attendance at one of our job fairs. (Several other companies charge a "registration" fee, but charge extra for any of their job fairs.) Many of our candidates have assured us the fee is small, considering the comprehensive list of benefits candidates can access, once an application is activated.
Can you take Pay Pal or an alternative credit card payment for candidate fees?
With the exception of our UK-based office, candidate fees are payable directly to your Associate's office. Each Associate will accept payment in various ways. Most Associates do not take credit card or Pay Pal payments, but you should view your Associate’s page (or contact your Associate directly) for payment information.
Do I have to pay a fee when I accept a job offer at a school?
No. Any recruitment fee is always paid by the school hiring you.
Is the registration fee refundable once I am an active member?
Once your file is active and you have access to our database of information, the registration fee becomes non-refundable.
Is the registration fee refunded if you do not accept me as a candidate?
If you have paid a registration fee and your candidacy is subsequently not accepted, you will receive a refund of the registration payment.
What if I accept an offer, but then later decide not to go?
It is very important to accept an offer only if and when you are 100% committed. Once you verbally accept a position (whether you have signed the actual contract or not), you are firmly committed to your agreement to take the job. Schools are not able to replace teachers easily when candidates back out of their commitments. They have passed on other quality candidates, and with each week of a recruiting season, the candidate pool dwindles. Search Associates has very strong policies regarding a candidate who reneges on a contract (please read the Search Associates Agreement carefully on this issue).
Why is there a registration fee when some recruitment companies do not charge anything?
Services provided by Search Associates are very different from companies that supply a list of openings and expect candidates to contact schools or send a CV/resume. We pride ourselves on our personalized attention to candidates.
While many schools do use a variety of recruitment services, most like the ease of access to a Search Associate candidate’s entire profile, including confidential references. Neither schools nor candidates have to take extra steps to collect more information and documents. Recruiters routinely tell us that the information they are able to access from our organization is far more useful than the information they might get from other agencies. They also know that an applicant identifying himself/herself as a Search Associates candidate is a professional of high calibre.
While some recruitment firms charge approximately the same amount, their fee covers only one year of service and applicants may pay an substantial amount more to attend a job fair. Search membership is good for three years, or until a candidate secures a job, whichever comes first. In addition, Search Associates waives the fee for the first fair, and only charges $75 for each additional fair. We try to keep costs low, and feedback from candidates is overwhelmingly that the small financial investment is worth the benefits.
What qualifications are necessary?
International schools vary in their requirements, and the country in which a school is located may have specific requirements to establish eligibility for a work-visa and approval by the relevant government ministry. It is essential for a candidate to have at least a B.A., a B.Sc., or B.Ed. degree, and certification/qualification from a major English-speaking country is preferred for classroom teachers by at least 60% of the schools we work with.
Degree qualifications and at least two years (sometimes more) of full-time teaching experience in a suitable 'mainstream' school (primary/elementary and/or secondary) are often quoted as minimum requirements. Some schools will accept newly qualified candidates as well as interns. A Master's degree is valued for teachers and administrators, and some schools look favorably at doctorates for Head of School positions. Intern candidates normally have none of the foregoing qualifications, except that they are usually about to earn a Bachelor's degree before starting their internship.
Does Search Associates help non-teachers?
Not in general. We do offer assistance to intern candidates, administrators (senior management), as well as other non-teaching members of a school's academic staff, such as librarians and counselors. Sometimes we are able to help a school-experienced business manager find a new international-school position, and spouses of our registered candidates have found positions such as laboratory technician, teacher assistant, or school secretary/P.A.. Only qualified teachers, administrators, and recent graduates seeking intern roles can register as Search Associates candidates.
I don’t have a teaching qualification but have started the process of getting one. Should I wait until I have that secured before I apply?
Due in part to host country VISA restrictions, about 60% of the schools currently registered with us require a recognized teaching certification/qualification that authorizes you to teach in government primary and/or secondary schools in your home country. You may be able to secure employment with these schools contingent upon getting a recognized qualification before your employment starts, or shortly after your employment begins. If you have successful classroom teaching experience and can show that you are definitely enrolled in a course leading to a recognized qualification, this will help your chance of employment.
I only know English. Do I need to know the language of the country?
No, English is the main language of instruction, but most people who travel overseas enjoy taking language courses so that they can feel more comfortable moving around independently. Some schools with a large population of host country national students may give preference to candidates who have a working knowledge of the language.
Is prior overseas experience required for teachers or administrators?
International experience can be a preferred qualification for some schools, but is not necessary to be a competitive candidate.
Are there any age restrictions?
Search Associates does not discriminate based on age, but candidates should be aware that schools in other countries may have age restrictions because of host country regulations governing work visas. Age limits might begin between 55 and 65 for some countries; however, many others impose no age limits at all. Each school profile will have age restrictions listed as applicable.
Dependents: I have a non-teaching partner and children. What are my chances of securing a job?
Schools have their “pick” from a large candidate pool. Teaching couples with few or no dependents and single candidates with no dependents tend to have a better chance of securing jobs than a teacher with a non-teaching partner (with or without dependents). The reality is that it is more challenging to secure a job with a non-teaching partner, and even more challenging if you have a non-teaching spouse and dependents. Search Associates has observed, however, that more and more schools today focus on quality, aiming foremost to get the best possible teacher.
How many jobs are available in my field?
The answer to this question depends greatly on the hiring needs of our member schools during a particular recruiting season. The number of jobs also varies according to the time of year and the field in question. For example, few jobs are available as business managers or in human resources because schools can usually find personnel for these departments in the host city/country. The number of jobs in each field is generally like a bell curve, low in September and October, building to a peak in December, January, February and March, and then tapering back down during the spring and summer.
Do I have to pay extra to attend a job fair?
The fee for the first fair for each new registration period is waived. There is a $75 fee for each additional fair during a registration period (exception U.K office). Travel and accommodation costs are always the responsibility of the candidate.
How do I know which fair it is best to attend?
Each of our job fairs is unique, so some are better suited for certain types of candidates than others. Your Associate can help you to choose the right fair(s) to match your profile and your own personal career plans.
How do I register for a job fair?
Attendance at a fair is by invitation only. Once you are an active candidate, you qualify to receive an invitation to one of our fairs. Visit our “job fairs” to review the schedule for the upcoming recruiting season. You must always request an invitation to a fair from your Associate, either from your candidate dashboard or by contacting your Associate directly. Fairs have limited space and fill up quickly, so we encourage you to start the registration process to become an active candidate as early as possible, and well in advance of the date of the fair you wish to attend.
I am only interested in Western Europe and would like to attend the job fair to check things out.
Search Associates needs to satisfy the needs of both the candidates and the schools. Unless a candidate is legitimate, meaning they are well-qualified and flexible regarding location, it is not in anyone’s best interest to take a space at a fair and deny one to another qualified candidate willing to go almost anywhere. It’s best to be open and flexible to the many hundreds of gems of schools located around the world.
I get the impression that decisions to accept or decline offers need to be made the weekend of the job fair. Is this true or do recruiters contact teachers later?
Do not accept a job offer unless you want it and are committed to going. Search Associates and the school will hold you to your word. In some cases, a decision might have to be made during the fair. However, if any school pressures you to sign immediately, and you do not feel quite right about it, you should request a couple of days to think it over. Some recruiters know that the best strategy is to give candidates time to carefully consider the offer, and they do not pressure the candidate at all. On the other hand, recruiters need to set deadlines. They cannot afford to lose a different candidate if you delay too long. Candidates are carefully advised about this issue at the start of the fair and Associates will be on hand during the fair to support you.
I’m not sure I really am ready to go overseas next year, but I want to go to a job fair for the experience.
What we do NOT want are "window shoppers" at our job fairs. If you are not truly committed to finding a position overseas for the next school year, you should not attend the fair.
Once I am fully registered and active, am I guaranteed to receive an invitation to the job fair I wish to attend?
Although Search Associates will do our best to extend you an invitation to your job fair of choice, we cannot guarantee that this will happen. For example, early fairs attract highly experienced teaching couples and singles without dependents. An inexperienced teacher in a subject with an abundance of teachers (for example English, Social Studies, ESL) who has a non-teaching partner and a child would most likely have a difficult time even getting an interview, and would have a better chance of securing a job at a later fair. In addition, some fairs might be overbooked or already have too many candidates in your subject area. In the best interest of the candidate, the Associate will always recommend a fair in which the candidate has a better chance of securing an interview.
Should I go to a job fair?
About 60% of Search Associates candidates secure jobs by attending a job fair and some 40% secure positions through their use of the database to connect with schools. Thus, it is not essential that you attend a fair, but certainly recommended. The early fairs are generally more useful to strong, experienced teaching couples and singles without dependents. Candidates with less experience and those with non-teaching partners and multiple dependents tend to do better at later fairs.
What if I don’t want to attend a job fair?
Not a problem, although most past candidates will tell you that fair attendance helps greatly. It is entirely a candidate's own choice. About 40% of jobs are secured without attending a fair. Search-registered candidates find their access to the interactive Search Associates database invaluable.
What is the percentage of candidates attending a job fair who are hired as a result?
This varies from fair to fair. The range is between about 30% and 60%. However, these percentages can be misleading. Subject and grade level greatly affect a candidate's chances. For example, a high percentage of physics or mathematics teachers might be placed (low number of candidates, large number of jobs), but English or ESL teachers tend to be more numerous so their placement rate could be lower, with only those who interview extremely well getting hired quickly. Teaching couples and singles without dependents tend to have a higher rate of placement than other candidates. Candidates limiting their search to one geographical area only reduce their chances significantly.
I want to go overseas only for a year. Is this possible?
The typical contract for teachers is two years. Intern contracts are usually for one year. The school’s investment is high, both in financial expense and time, in bringing a teacher overseas. Schools need professional staff who are fully focused on the school and the students. A two-year commitment is reasonable and goes by quickly. Occasionally, a school might be willing to sign a teacher for a year or less (for example, if the teacher is finishing the year for another teacher); however, two years is the norm.
Can I take pets overseas?
Although some schools allow staff to bring along their pets, it is important to check this out carefully. Some housing environments may not be conducive to pets, and often the host nation has strict regulations for bringing animals into the country. It’s wise to consider alternative plans for your pets or to have your questions about pets fully answered before accepting a job.