News: Inside SEARCH’s China Fairs: Return to In-Person Recruitment  - Mar 29, 2024
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Friday, March 29, 2024General News

Inside SEARCH’s China Fairs: Return to In-Person Recruitment

Recruiters in ShanghaiIt has been a recruitment season of reunion and renewal for participants at Search Associates’ (SEARCH) two China fairs. The Hong Kong Fair this January 19-21 and Shanghai Fair this March 9-10 convened in-person for the first time since COVID-related restrictions prevented in-person job fairs, four long years ago! Senior Associate and fair host Xiaohang Sumner adds,

An overwhelming support and enthusiasm for our in-person events were exhibited by the number of recruiters showing up not only for the fairs themselves but also for the Recruiter Receptions at both events. I think people really appreciated the opportunity to meet with each other after all these years. All the recruiters said to me, when this topic came up, that they would never want to have online fairs again!

SEARCH Hong Kong TeamHosting the Hong Kong Fair was the Chinese International School of Hong Kong—a SEARCH partner school and strong supporter for over ten years. This year, 62 schools and 130 candidates were able to look at 600 vacancies in comfort. The diverse pool of recruiters included 40 from schools in mainland China, 10 from Hong Kong, and another 10 from Indonesia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. To assist all participants and Xiaohang, former Search Associates and Hong Kong fair hosts Dr. Barry Drake and his wife Veronica made the journey from Spain. Foreign Head of Middle School, Shanghai Vanke Bilingual School Tim Allen said,

There really is no better way to know if a candidate will be a good fit or not than to have a face-to-face conversation with them. Remote meetings are a good second choice, but you still can't beat having that person sitting down with you. There are so many factors when hiring teachers that relate to personability and connectivity with others—the relationship builders—that the in-person interview/chat helps to distinguish.

XiaohangThe Shanghai Fair this March focused on schools from Mainland China only, since these schools still had over many vacancies to fill, more than 230. With representatives from 33 schools and 60 candidates in attendance, over 180 interviews were conducted. Many strong candidates received multiple offers. Candidate Chris Hewitt shared,

Being able to meet in person at the fair has helped me learn a lot about deciding on which schools are appropriate for my Korean daughter. The leadership from certain schools was very honest about what I was getting myself into. Also, meeting in person took the stress and tension out of what we experience in video chats, so meeting face to face added a lot of comfort and calm to the atmosphere.

Western International School of ShanghaiThe event was special! It was the first time Search Associates held an in-person job fair in mainland China, and Western International School of Shanghai went out of their way to host the event. Their whole leadership team came out on the weekend to lend support, as well as key administration staff, the Student Council, and student volunteers who played the piano for our Recruiter-Candidate Reception.

Xiaohang offered a special workshop for recruiters called "Recruiting for Chinese Schools Post-Covid." And Western International School Head David Edwards held a special workshop for candidates on how to navigate the recruiting process. Candidate Faith C. was thrilled with the event:

Talking to my Senior Associate Xiaohang Sumner at the Shanghai Fair was insightful and made me realise the opportunities that lay in China. Xiaohang’s session also answered a lot of my questions and calmed my nerves before the interviews. Knowing that schools can’t discriminate based on my country of origin and SEARCH’s commitment to fairness made me confident not only in my decision to attend the fair but to join Search Associates.

For more about Search Associates’ 13 unique job fairs held worldwide each year, click here.


Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Bill Turner’s international teaching career has taken him to Sudan, Italy, Qatar and the UAE as well as his home country of England. His very first teaching position was in rural Sudan.