A sense of anticipation and excitement hung in the air January 2nd when 52 candidates and recruiters from 21 schools arrived at the Search Associates Melbourne Job Fair for a three-day event. Would the face-to-face Job Fair, with the variable impact of COVID-19 still being experienced in many parts of the world, be successful? Search Associates fair hosts, Paula and Nick Kendell say,
It was not something to wonder for long – the smiles on faces and the conversations happening in the candidate lounge and during sign-up dispelled any anxiety that may have been present.
The Melbourne Search Associates Fair is renowned for the quality of its candidates as well as its intimate, relaxed atmosphere at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto. The majority of candidates are seeking their first overseas teaching role, and tremendously positive feedback this year is reflected in this candidate’s statement:
My confidence in having conversations with recruiters, experiencing the job search process, as well as the amount of learning I have gained, together with finding out that I actually want to work in countries that I have not previously considered, has been the major advantages for me in attending the Melbourne Job Fair.
Another candidate explained that even though they could not get their foot in the door virtually (with an interview), the face-to-face signup process and other interactions by the coffee machine/tea station and at different social functions opened up multiple opportunities for them. Another candidate mentioned,
Steve Moody, Head of School at International School of Tianjin, China, remembered me from previous conversations at fairs, and while there was no job vacancy this time, [he’ll] keep me in mind for potential future vacancies.
SEARCH Melbourne was instrumental in widening some perspectives and focusing others. An overwhelming consensus came through candidates’ feedback about their shift in thinking, from focusing on a specific country to work in, to considering different schools and a variety of countries. After recruiters from schools in China held a frank and open Q&A session to respond to queries about working in China, a number of candidates said that after never having considered working in China before, they now would! Finally, many candidates shared that by attending Melbourne Fair they were able to work out what they did not want in their next job.
With 197 international school positions posted, the vast majority of candidates received interview requests and are now waiting to hear from schools about potential job offers. This is great news for both candidates and recruiters. Head of School at Chatsworth International School Singapore Tyler Sherwood, who much prefers meeting enthusiastic educators face to face, said,
Every year we hire people whom we may not have hired based only on their profile and CV, yet we have had the good fortune to meet them in person at the Job Fair. . . Once again, we have been thrilled with the quality of candidates attending the Melbourne Job Fair. While they may not have the International Baccalaureate (IB) experience, they do have the pedagogical practices and skills that are transferable for an IB world school.
While fair hosts Paula and Nick Kendell love to wax lyrical about the benefits of the Melbourne Job Fair, one recruiter, upon their departure, mentioned other bonuses: “This Fair has the best snacks, lolly bags, and home baked biscuits, and while it destroys my New Year resolution, I’ll be back”.