My girlfriend and I are recruiting this year, and are finding the process fun but inefficient. For all the labor-saving that technology is supposed to bring us, the world of international recruiting still seems like a Byzantine process.
Sisyphus and the Hill
First of all, recruiting is labor-intensive. We’ve registered for ISS, so our weekly routine consists of running separate searches on the ISS website:
- I search for Tech and Social Studies positions
- Chelsea searches for English positions
- One of us reads off the available positions while the other finds matches at schools by eyeballing the list of search results (or doing a cmd-F text search on the page)
- When we encounter a school that has positions for both of us, we add it to a spreadsheet indicating the school and type of position; we share that spreadsheet using a Dropbox shared folder.
- We contact that school.
Why isn’t there a way to search only for schools that have open positions for both of us? It seems a trivial matter to add the necessary database query and return the appropriate results. It would be even better if you could save your search as an RSS feed so that new posts showed up in your reader instead of waiting for weekly email updates or manually running searches again.
Complete This in Triplicate
This begets the next step in the process: that of actually contacting the schools, which involves a considerable duplication of effort. One would think that ISS would have some way of sending our applications to the school, but ISS warns us:
“Expressing interest attaches your dossier to the job posting, however, schools receive a high volume of candidate dossiers in the “Express Interest” category; a follow up email will further indicate your interest in a position.”
So the next step in the application process is to directly contact the schools. We’ve been applying directly to schools through their website. This process may range from sending an email with attached resumes to filling out a multi-page online application that asks for (no joke!) the activities you did in high school. Do school really care about details like that, or are they looking to see that you’re willing to put in the extra effort?
The Bottom Line
So how do our ISS memberships really benefit us? It’s really only two ways:
- ISS functions as a Monster.com – a way to quickly search jobs across dozens of schools. But the search functionality is depressingly basic in this day and age.
- More importantly, ISS gives us access to job fairs, which is really where business gets done. Some teachers, especially those who have been abroad long enough to amass a substantial rolodex of contacts, are able to go outside the normal channels. But most of us rely on ISS, Search, or UNI for the chance to sell ourselves in person.
A Brave New World
I’m surprised that ISS doesn’t try to sell itself as more of a one-stop-shop for recruiting. I’m guessing that its other enterprises are more important to its core competencies. I’d be fascinated to hear about the process from the perspective of recruiters: what do administrators rely on when looking for people – not in terms of professional backgrounds, but in terms of the actual process. Right now the process seems very… well, Web 1.0 – ISS is a repository of information, but not a medium for communication. Why not roll in some of Int’l School Reviews’ features – provide some sort of social network for recruiting members to contact each other, whether to set up roommates at job fairs or get in touch with employees at prospective schools. Streamline the search functionality so that teachers (and, presumably, administrators) aren’t spending time searching when a computer could much more efficiently match criteria. Make the application process more robust, especially if we’re spending the time to upload our resumes, references, and personal statements. Give us more control over our profiles (and let us delete files ourselves rather than making us ask you to do it)! ISS has recently added features that let teachers upload video responses to interview questions, but this seems to be making the job search process less personal – a school sends you questions, and you send video responses. It’s asynchronous communication in a real-time world.
The biggest advance in international recruiting in the last ten years has been Skype. Is it time for another paradigm shift?