This April 21-23, Executive Vice President David Cope welcomed 156 candidates and recruiters from 44 overseas schools to our 2017 London Spring Job Fair, where as many as 235 job vacancies were on offer.
Among the school representatives attending was a Human Resources manager from one of our member schools who had wanted to come this year only as an observer. David commented afterwards,
"She left saying how very much she had enjoyed the whole event and now hoped to take part fully in 2018."
Joining David in London were Senior Associates Bill Turner and Barry Drake, with Barry's wife Veronica bravely on hand as well to help and support participants, despite having recently fractured her femur and needing a wheelchair much of the time as a result!
The Search team also included Michael Deelman, son of Senior Associate Harry Deelman, who had come from his home in France to help, mainly on the technical side, setting up presentations and advising schools and candidates on the use of the new fair portal. And, as usual, David's UK office colleagues Rebecca Steadman and Emma Rayner did a fantastic job helping to prepare for the fair, ensure everything ran smoothly throughout the weekend, and finally pack everything up afterwards with impressive speed, efficiency, and good humour.
The Hilton London Paddington was as great a venue as ever. No hotel in London is more convenient for those arriving at Heathrow airport, given the 15-20 minute express train ride from Heathrow to Paddington. After ten years, the hotel staff know us well, understand our need, and invariably give us a warm welcome. The layout of the first-floor meeting rooms is almost perfect for a fair of this size. The Paddington area has a lively, cosmopolitan vibe, with plenty of inexpensive accommodation options around for candidates who want them.
Both candidates and recruiters commented on the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the fair. Following interviews during the weekend, 36 vacancies have already been filled, and David expects this number to rise soon to between 40 and 50. He added,
Although everyone was keen to make the most of their opportunities, somehow there was none of the competitive pressure which can be a feature of fairs taking place earlier in the season. We were pleased that many of those who left without getting a new job felt they had nevertheless had a rewarding and enjoyable professional experience."
Feedback on the event has certainly been positive. One teaching couple, Anna and Dan Wilbor, commented: "It was an extremely useful weekend, and staff from Search Associates were well informed, helpful and friendly." And Emma Ross, a recruiter from the British School Al Rehab in Cairo who was attending the fair for the first time, told us simply: "The team were fantastic throughout." The new fair portal also won praise, one recruiter saying simply, "Huge improvement – thank you."
Looking ahead, David has decided – in response to feedback – to schedule next year's London Spring fair a little earlier in the calendar, before Easter rather than after. So all will be welcome on the weekend of 23-25 March 2018. We are keen to see if the earlier timing suits candidates and schools better than the traditional April dates, and hope that once again our guests at the fair will be full of the joys of spring!