It's recruiting season! From early November to late June, including every week in January and three weeks of February, Search Associates hosts job fairs all over the world. The Bangkok Fair, organized by Vice President Michael Williams and Senior Associate Harry Deelman, takes place January 8-11 Harry describes the international job fair experience:
"[It's a] roller-coaster ride of high hopes, disappointments, joyful surprises, agonizing over choices between job offers, agonizing because [it might seem that] no offer has yet come your way."
Preparations begin months prior to the fairs. Well-prepared candidates submit or update their files with Search by mid-October in order to receive invitations to the most in-demand fairs. Harry emphasizes the need for candidates to R.S.V.P. early for Bangkok:
"No other international teachers' job-fair anywhere in the world fills up —considerable deliberate over-booking— as long before the fair as this one."
By early October, just about all of the 120 prestigious schools from worldwide locations, most of them annual attendees, have accepted their invitations to the Bangkok January Fair. Concurrently, some candidates, guided by their Senior Associates, contact their most-desired schools. And the recruiters at those institutions have already been familiarizing themselves with the names of candidates whose files suggest they would be a good match for their school. Meanwhile the Search Fair Organization Team prepares hundreds of fair-participant information and action packs for the arrival of approximately 600 candidates and over 300 recruiters.
On Day 1, January 8th, the second floor of the Royal Orchid Sheraton begins to buzz with noise as the recruiters arrive and greet old friends and the candidates begin to check in at the Search desk and explore the hotel.
Newcomers to this fair often take a moment to delight in the view from either the Candidates' or the Recruiters' Lounge. They gaze down from the window to the busy river Chao Phrya where a dozen fast-moving, small boats and some river buses maneuver around a long set of rice barges roped end to end and towed by a proud tug. But candidates soon pull away to begin attending the half-hour presentations offered by their schools of interest.
Just after lunchtime on Day 2, when school presentations have ended, candidates attend the crucial Sign-up Session to schedule their interviews. Gradually, the second floor simmers way down as hundreds of hotel rooms in the Sheraton's tower block begin to hum with interviews. That evening Search Associates hosts a much needed social hour with drinks and hors d'oeuvres. But attendees know that the next day will be, as Harry describes,
"…a very busy day of wall-to-wall interviews for almost every recruiter, and precious little rest, even for most of the candidates."
By Saturday morning, many jobs are confirmed. During the next week, recruiters, back at their schools, contact candidates to confirm that their job offers have been accepted, and they rush to contact alternative candidates in cases where offers have been declined.
The candidates, similarly, back at work anywhere from China to Chile, New Zealand to Nigeria, are either celebrating their next job appointment in an exciting new part of the world, or considering Plan B. The next job fair, perhaps? Following Bangkok, Search Associates will be in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, Cambridge, San Francisco, Vancouver…